by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
A long dry spell came to an end Friday night as Teays Valley’s girls picked up 105 points to go with the 58 scored Tuesday to win the school’s first girls’ track title in three decades.
“Thirty-one years, that’s the last time a girls track team has won at Teays,” coach Mark Weber said about the significance of claiming the Mid-State League Buckeye Division title. “Earlier in the week, I showed them the banner in the gym.”
He said seeing that 1990 was the last number on the banner wasn’t something the team had discussed until this week, but definitely gave them something to focus on. “You could see it in the their eyes — they ran with a purpose.”
The Vikings ended the Buckeye Division championships with 163 points to outpace Fairfield Union which was second with 141. Logan Elm took third with 77.5 and host Circleville was fourth with 67. Amanda-Clearcreek was eighth with 10.
On the boys’ side of the meet, Bloom-Carroll blew away the competition amassing 153 points while Hamilton Township was second with 91, Circleville was third with 90 and Teays Valley was fourth with 88. Amanda-Clearcreek placed seventh with 39 and Logan Elm was eighth with 37.5.
In a meet where many Vikings shined, Natalie Newton stood out with four individual titles. She was named field events MVP for earning 20 team points with wins in the long jump and pole vault Tuesday and came back with wins in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles Friday.
“Forty points out of an athlete who got her season taken away from her last year and comes out as a junior and got 40 points,” Weber said. “She was not predicted to win a couple of those today but she had it in her eye.”
Weber, who also coaches TV’s football team, said he approaches the track season like he does with football and the team was treating this as championship week. “We knew we had to get a good start on Tuesday. Tonight what I said was just beat black — we had to beat Fairfield in everything or be right behind them.”
Beat them they did as the Vikings outscored the Falcons in seven events Friday, losing ground only in the distance races and the 1,600-meter relay.
Weber gave credit to the group of coaches working together with the girls’ and boys’ teams at Teays Valley.
“The coaching has been phenomenal. Coach Meghan (Tamasovich) with the jumps, the field and the hurdles, myself with the throws and then coach (Pete) Gesick with the sprints and coach (Eric) Taylor with the relays and the sprints has been phenomenal.”
Adding coaches Zach Frank, Steve Adams and Brandon O’Linn to the mix, “We finally have a coaching staff that can get all the parts and really pay attention to every single detail,” Weber said.
Fairfield Union’s Madison Eyman claimed running event medalist honors in the girls meet as she was five seconds better than the competition in winning the 800 meters, 11 seconds faster in winning the 1,600 and 28 seconds faster in winning the 3,200. She also was part of the winning 3,200-meter relay team on Tuesday.
Circleville’s Lily Winter had herself a strong Friday night winning the 200 meters, anchoring the winning 1,600-meter relay team, placing second in the 400 meters and third in the 100. Winter was joined on the winning relay team by Addison Lowe, Morgan Blakeman and Ellie Patrick.
Teays Valley’s Lauren Sharrock, Kaitlyn Stiffler, Ryleigh McCoy and Grace Henegar teamed up to win the 800-meter relay.
Hamilton Township’s Sheridan Sandlin was the only runner to repeat as an event champion from the 2019 championships. As she did in 2019, she won the 100 meters on Friday. Sandlin also was part of the winning 400-meter relay for the Rangers.
The championship for the Vikings is just a little more special considering the 2020 track season was taken away by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“For those seniors to step up and then the juniors, too, it’s pretty special,” Weber said. “They really just ran with attitude and effort. They ran like they had a purpose and they’re here for a reason.”
“We’ve got to make sure at districts we do that also. We can’t think this is the top of the mountain.”
In the boys meet, the week’s top performer was Liberty Union’s Jimmy Rhoads who had a 40-point performance over the two days. He did it in the same way Newton did in the girls’ meet.
On Tuesday, Rhoads claimed titles in the pole vault and the long jump. He came back Friday night with wins in the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Rhoads was the only boy to repeat as an individual champion from 2019 as he also won the pole vault title that year.
Circleville’s Cole Pinkerton took home three titles in the distance races. He edged out Bloom-Carroll’s Nick Duerr by nine one-hundredths of a second to win the 800 meters after he already had beaten Duerr in the 1,600 by just under two seconds. He had a much bigger advantage in the 3,200 meters where was he 28 seconds ahead of Teays Valley’s Key Williams with TV’s Jerry Odell another second behind in third.
Teays Valley’s Chance Littler brought home the title in the 100-meter dash.
Up next for the schools is district competition.
Teays Valley and Hamilton Township will be competing in separate Central District Division I meets at Hilliard Davidson High School next week. Amanda-Clearcreek and Bloom-Carroll will be competing in a Central District Division II district meet at Westerville North. Liberty Union’s boys will be in the same district meet. LU’s girls will be competing in a Central District Division III meet at Granville.
Circleville and Logan Elm will be competing in a Southeast District Division II meet at Washington Court House while Fairfield Union will be at the SE District meet at Meigs High School.
Girls team scores: Teays Valley 163, Fairfield Union 141, Logan Elm 77.5, Circleville 67, Bloom-Carroll 66.5, Hamilton Township 62, Liberty Union 56, Amanda-Clearcreek 10.
Boys team scores: Bloom-Carroll 153, Hamilton Township 91, Circleville 90, Teays Valley 88, Liberty Union 83.5, Fairfield Union 60, Amanda-Clearcreek 39, Logan Elm 37.5.