to come, one thing is certain. In the next few weeks, there will be
some very happy coaches and athletes from Northeast Ohio heading to
If the 43rd edition of the Westlake Relays is any indicator of things to come, one thing is certain. In the next few weeks, there will be some very happy coaches and athletes from Northeast Ohio heading to Columbus.
True, the meet is not the caliber of the Mansfield Relays. But the competition provided more than a few pieces to the puzzle as to who and who not are pretenders or contenders for a spot on the podium at the state meet.
Hudson behind its distance crew, easily bested North Olmsted 120-93 while Westlake's girls downed Strongsville 123-108. Both squads defended their titles and had some great performances.
“The kids were really happy with it,” said Hudson coach Rod O'Donnell. “But I try to keep everything in perspective with how we ran. No, it wasn't a meet like Mansfield but the competition was good, and I was really happy with how we had quality times. The kids did well, and I think it bodes well heading into our league meet this Thursday.”
The Explorers were led by Alex Nye, who won the 1,600 meter run in 4:19.7 and Tyler Saunders, who despite running with a cast on his arm posted a 9:46.5 in the 3,200 meter run. The 6,400 relay (Matt Woods, Mark McConnell, Nick Kelly, Alex Erdmann), also garnered first with its 18:16.6.
North Olmsted took home second place, and was paced by junior Jordan Hoppel who won the 100 in 10.9, and was a member of the winning 400 relay (Keith Troyer, Pat Tomko, Corey Molnar, Hoppel), 43.6.
The Eagles jump crew also had a nice meet. The long jump relay (Pat Price, Rodney Dukes, Bryan Kasberg), hit 58-113/4 while the high jump crew (Chris Arlinghaus, Price, Pat Tomko), won with a17-7. Arlinghaus had a meet best 6-4, while sophomore Price hit a meet best 21-0 in the long jump. Price was also a member of the winning shuttle hurdle relay.
One of the more impressive feats of the meet came when Westlake's Scott Bechtel hit 13-3 in the pole vault.
If there was a surprise, it came via the Explorers 800 relay squad (Dan Frost, Tony Davis, Steve Fischer, Ryan Bosman), who took home first with a 1:31.7 besting Strongsville, which had 2007 state placer Kendall Gregory anchoring.
“We're not really a sprint power, but the boys ran well, and it was great the way Ryan (Bosman) ran and held off Gregory,” said O'Donnell. “They just missed our school record. I got goosebumps after that race, it was so exciting.”
Gregory's teammates posted the only meet record of the day, as its 3,200 meter relay squad of (Mark Warman, Brad DeFauw, Alexander, Joey Cherico), ran an (8:05.91). The 1,600 meter relay team was also impressive as (Mike Masteller, Aaron Moran, Ryan Oblak, Derek Halladay) posted a 3:25.6, to just edge Hudson in the event.
“I'm looking forward to a rematch with Hudson.” Halladay said after his leg which was clocked at 49.3. Gregory won the 400 meter (48.94) and was named the boys meet MVP for his efforts.
In the girls meet, Westlake was paced by sophomore Meghan Davis, who took home four golds.
“This feels good, it's really exciting,” said Davis. “I knew we were close, but didn't know how close the meet was. I know I did well, but I care more about the team than I do individually. We really wanted to defend our title. The competition was tough, but we stuck it through the whole meet. It was nice beating Strongsville after they beat us in a tri-meet earlier in the season.”
Davis won the 400 (60.4), anchored the 4×200 relay (Hanna Dixon, Liz Stark, Natalie Bechtel, Davis) in 1:48.7, the 1600 meter relay (Dixon, Liz Stark, Natalie Bechtel, Davis) in 4:13.3 and her third leg in the 3200 meter relay (Lauren Ledek, Julia Fulton, Davis, Megan Dunlap), 10:07.5; where she flew by favored Avon helped propel them to a win.
On the day, Westlake won eight events. The Demons also took home first in the the shuttle hurdles (Lauryn Smith, Shelly Koski, Heather Smith, Alex James) in 1:06.7, the long jump, (James, Dixon, Julie Wang), 47-2; and the 6400 relay (Dunlap, Maeve Goode, Jen Tomasch, Alesha Beverly) in 22:44.6.
The discus relay of junior Bridget McNeill, junior Emily Stephenson and sophomore Jenna Daghstani with a combined distance of 311-7 was also impressive as it beat the competition by nearly 40 feet. McNeill, who qualified for state in 2007, had the best individual toss with 124-8 and just missed via foul, on an attempt that was estimated at over 140 feet.
Strongsville got individual wins from Alyssa Moran in the 1600 meter run 5:23.6 while Melissa Leonard, was tops in the 3200 meter run with her 11:51.0 and Jessica Gardenhire took home the 100 hurdle title with her 16.5.