AKRON — The men’s and women’s indoor track team competed at the OATCCC state track championships, held on the campus of the University of Akron’ Stiles fieldhouse this past weekend.
The men’s team scored 12 points to tie for 15th place. Winning the meet was Pickerington Central with 43 points. There were 66 teams that scored, and 91 total teams represented. The ladies team scored 13.5 points to place 19th overall. Winning the meet was Gahanna Lincoln, who scored 53 points. There were 54 teams that placed, and 88 teams represented, as well.
Senior Graysen Simmons tied for 4th place in the girls pole vault, clearing 12 feet 3 inches. Winning the event was Anna Watson of Olentangy Orange, who set a new meet record, clearing 13 feet.
“Gray had an awesome meet”, said head coach Mike Fernandez. “Her confidence was at an all-time high. She had her most important jumps early, because she was able to hit each height clean (clearing first attempt). This was a long time coming for Gray. Her hard work is paying off. Credit to her vault coach Terry Wasson, he’s really got her competing at a high level.”
Teammate Codi Scogins, a junior, placed 17th, clearing 10 feet 6 inches.
Junior Taylor Roberston, qualified to the state meet in three events, the 60 meter hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump.
Taylor leaped a career best in the triple jump, leaping 35 feet 4.5 inches on her last jump, propelling her from 6th place to 4th. “Taylor had a great series of jumps, and to have her last attempt finally break 35 feet was amazing.” Robertson also placed 7th in the long jump, leaping 16 feet 8.5 inches. “Taylor was a state placer last year outdoors. Although she didn’t seem to jump her best distance, she battled and jumped competively.”
Finally, Robertson competed in the 60 meter hurdles, but false started, and wasn’t able to finish the race. “It was unfortunate, but it’s also part of competing. It’s something we will work on, I know she’s disappointed, but hopefully she can learn from this.”
Codi Scogins also placed in the triple jump, leaping 33 feet 10 inches. “Codi showed she belonged in this competition. She’s been consistent over 33 feet most of the season. I was so proud of her getting on the podium.”
The 4×200 meter relay team of Amani Westry, Makayla Portis, Diamond Jones and Ka’Niya McGowen ran their best time of the year, 1:48.27 to place 11th. “I was so proud of these four young ladies. They were the 19th best team going into the meet, and came close to placing top 8. We started the year running 1:56, and nearly drop over 8 seconds throughout the year.”
For the men, junior Joel Crain placed 4th in the weight throw, with a distance of 64 feet 9 inches. Teammate Jardon Omolo was 8th, throwing 58 feet 11 inches. “Joel had all his throws over 61 feet. This was his first year throwing the weight throw. He’s so explosive, and is still learning how to do the event. Jardon didn’t make the finals last year, so seeing him place 8th was great for the senior.”
In the shot put, Ben Jackson placed 9th, throwing 52 feet 6 inches. Joel Crain was 11th, with a toss of 51 feet 7 inches. “It wasn’t their best performance, and they both know that. But it doesn’t define their season, because they both had great performances throughout the season.”
Sophomore Justin Harris qualified to state in 3 events, the 60 meter hurdles, and the 4×200 relay and 4×400 relay.
In the 60 meter hurdles, Justin placed 6th, with a time of 8.29. “Just was just .07 seconds from his best time. After making the finals, we knew he would have to run a clean race to have a chance of top 3. He was clean up until the 5th hurdle, then lost some momentum after clipping the last hurdle, which dropped him to 6th. It still a great performance, and placing as a sophomore is a pretty good accomplishment.”
Harris also popped of the 4×400 relay, which placed 8th in 3:28.29. Teamming with Harris were Jalil Pollard, Elijah Hill and Joseph Collins. This was their best time of the year. “We were 12th last year, so it was nice for the 2 seniors (Hill and Pollard) to get on the podium.”
Harris also lead off the 4×200 meter relay team, which placed 10th, running a season best time of 1:32.10. “We were the 16th best time going into this race, so I’m pleased with our time.” Running on the relay were Harris, Kevin Wright, Brian Hill and Elijah Hill.
In the triple jump, both Brian Hill and Caleb Butcher qualified. Hill leaped his person best by over a foot on his last jump to place 7th, leaping 42 feet 2.5 inches. Butcher was 14th, leaping 41 feet 0.5 inches.
“Brian really improved every meet this year. He needed his best to place, which he did.”
“We had 17 athletes compete at the 12th indoor state meet, not a bad contingent of athletes to take. Most of the athletes were first time participants and competed well.”
The outdoor season will start March 25th, at the Tipp Relays.