HUBER HEIGHTS — The Wayne Boys Track team won their 16th district title in school history (second straight), while advancing only seven of the possible 17 events to the regional meet this week at Welcome Stadium.
“It is the most unconventional way of winning a team title, but we will take it,” said Wayne Coach Mike Fernandez. “We clawed and scratched to earn every point. It’s a nice program win, because on paper, we weren’t supposed to win. The way the meet started for us, it sure didn’t go our way.”
The two day meet started on Wednesday with finals in the 4×800, boys pole vault, boys discus, girls high jump and boys long jump. It also had semi-finals in the running events as well.
Qualifying to the regional meet in the long jump was junior Trew Davis, who leaped a personal best of 21 feet 1.5 inches to place third. It was the first time Davis ever broke into the 21 foot range.
“Talk about a proud moment for me as a coach to see Trew do so well. We’ve been waiting for that all season, because we’ve seen it in practice,” Fernandez said.
Teammate Treyvion Higgins was 7th, leaping 19 feet 10.5 inches.
The 4×800 relay of Jalil Pollard, Damon Roberts, Jared Wamsley and Lucas Houk placed 5th, 8:27.47, one place shy of qualifying to the regional meet.
“There was some pushing and shoving with some athletes and unfortunately our lead off leg got caught up and pushed down, pretty much making a pretty big deficit for us from the beginning,” Fernandez said. “We had our chances to catch up, but wasn’t there at the end. I admired their gutsy performance, but at the end of the day, we came up short. Things like this happen, and we will use it as a teachable moment and move on and learn from it. It hurts, but we’ll be back stronger next year from this.”
The Warriors did sport two individual district champions and one relay champion. Junior Mazon Walker continued his winning ways in the shot put, heaving the 12 pound metal ball 51 feet 8.75 inches, his personal best, besting second place by over a foot.
“Mazon continues to improve, and will need to continue that trend as we get into a tougher regional. He’s got the tools to advance on,” Fernandez said.
Teammate Joel Crain was second, throwing 50 feet 8.5 inches. “Joel is quietly having a successful season as well. He’s my dark house to advance.”
Senior Damon Roberts is working his way back to the state meet, after qualifying last year. After running his personal best time of 38.97 last week at GWOC, Damon won the 300 hurdles, at 39.27.
“Damon knows that it’s all about qualifying to the next round, which he did. But, he’s been running strong and with some confidence. That bodes well for him as he knows what it’s going to take to get back to the state meet, but the difference is, he knows he can get there, unlike last year where he was hoping just to get there,” Fernandez said.
Teammate Jalil Pollard was 4th, running a personal best of 40.13, and advancing to his second straight regional meet. “Jalil has yet to run his best race yet. His finish is what keeps him in the race. He will need to continue to keep running personal best to advance on, which fits his style of racing.”
The 4×400 meter relay team of Roberts, Treyvion Higgins, Pollard and Elijah Hill ran an exciting race, holding off Trotwood 3:26.90 to 3:26.95 for the win. Running Wednesday were Joseph Collins and Henry Jones, Hill and Higgins.
“This was exciting from the beginning to the end. It’s how all 4×400 races should be. We’ve come on both sides of that race in the past,” Fernandez said. “We will need to continue to need all 6 athletes as we advance to the next round. We’re capable of 3:24 or lower, and will need to do it with the teams coming up.”
Freshman Michael Brown tied for 2nd in the high jump, clearing 5-10. Trew Davis was 4th with the same height. “This was huge for both Michael and Trew, as well as for the team. We know that 5-10 clearance on first attempt had a great chance of advancing, which they both did. Coach (Mike) Gordon has done a great job with our high jumpers this year.”
The last lone advancer individual athlete was Elijah Hill in the 400 meter dash. The junior sprinter took 4th with a personal best time of 51.26, coming from last to 4th in the last 40 meters. “That’s why he’s our anchor leg in the 4×400. He’s so strong at the end of his race,” Fernandez commented.
The 4×200 relay team of Zarik Brown, Diante Lesperance, Joseph Collins and Hill was third in 1:31.99. “It wasn’t our best performance, but good enough to advance, which was the ultimate goal. They will need to step it up, however, to get to the finals.”
Unfortunately, there were a few things that didn’t go the Warriors way. In addition to the 4×800 not qualifying, Jacob Selby placed the dreaded 5th in the 100 meter dash, running 11.32, just .03 from advancing. “Jacob ran a great race, just came up short at the end. He’s a first year runner, so this is great experience for him.”
The 4×100 meter relay team of Selby, Michael Brown, Roman Sneed and Justin Harris had an abrupt end to their season, as they dropped the baton on Wednesday’s semi-finals, and didn’t finish the race. “My heart sank as I watched it, but it’s part of track and field. It hurts, but it’s also something we can learn from.”
The distance duo of senior Jared Wamsley and freshman Lucas Houk took 7th and 8th in the 1600 with times of 4:36.24 and 4:38.09, respectively. “I’ve seen district meets where those times win the event and advance. It just wasn’t’ meant to be, but it did cap a great senior season and career for Jared. As for Lucas, he’s got some valuable experience and will be someone to reckon with the next three years.”
Houk and Wamsley also took 7th and 8th in the 3200 meter run, running 10:19.72 and 10:20.86. Joseph Collins was 8th in the 400 meter dash in 52.42, Santiago Roza-Trastoy (15.61) and Justin Harris (15.68) were 6th and 8th in the 110 hurdles, Diante Lesperance was 8th in the 200 meter dash (23.55) and Alex Otto was 7th in the discus, 125-7.
“This team win was a total group effort, great assistant coaching, great attitude and work ethic by the athletes, and a little bit of luck as well, because the meet didn’t start out in our favor one bit,” Fernandez said. “I like our chances of advancing kids out to the state, but they will have to be ready to compete, which will be our job as a staff to make sure that happens.”
Girls take second, finish pole vault on Sunday to determine 2nd place outright.
Weather has been a huge factor in most of the meets this 2016 season, and this past week at the district meet was no different. Wednesday was a perfect day to compete, but Friday at 5:45, the rain started to come and didn’t stop. But neither did senior Madi Doss. The 400 meter specialist defended her title, repeating as district champion, running 58.40, crushing the field by over a second. Doss also repeated as 200 meter champion as well, running 26.04. She was second in the 100 meter dash in 12.75, and popped of the 4×200 meter relay, which took 3rd in 1:48.38. Running with Doss were Akaila Howard, Amaya Howard and Makayla Portis.
“Madi was voted our MVP for a reason. She’s such a competitor, that’s so driven to be great. The weather didn’t bother her one bit,” Fernandez said.
Taylor Robertson continued her amazing long jump performances. The sophomore won the long jump competition, leaping 17 feet 3.25 inches, beating teammate Ashley Richardson, who was second with a leap of 17-2.5. “Both of these athletes jumped well. Both are capable of advancing,” Fernandez said. “Ashley has been there before, both indoor and outdoor state, but they both will have to jump their best ever this week to advance. I think they’re up to the challenge.”
Robertson also got third in the 100 hurdles, running 15.88. She had the fastest time in the semi-finals at 15.39. “I know she’s disappointed in her finish, but big picture is that she advanced. She’ll rebound at the regional. She won’t make excuses, as she was coming straight from the long jump to race, and that’s when the rain came down harder, but that had a little to do with her recovery, warm up and race.”
Robertson also popped of the 4×100 relay, teaming with the Akaila Howard, Richardson and Portis. Running on the relay Wednesday was Charity Miller (instead of Taylor), which ran 50.90 to place third and advance. “I thought they ran great in the conditions,” Fernandez stated.
Kristen Hoelscher had her best day ever, placing third in the 3200 meter run in 12:28.49 and advancing to the regional. She becomes the first athlete since Vanessa Hopwood (current Wright state university athletes) to advance to the regional meet in the 3200. Hoelscher also placed 6th in the 1600 meter run in 5:50.65, and ran on the 5th place 4×800 relay team with Ashley Conley, Jackie Thomas and Sabryna Creech, which ran 10:28.51. “Kristen ran lights out, and deserved to advance. Her hard work over the winter and this season paid off,” Fernandez said.
Senior Kayle Willis ran a personal best of 47.98 to advance to the regional meet in the 300 hurdles. “That was her best race ever, as she attacked the hurdles the whole race. She will have to repeat that again to advance to the finals for Friday, but she’s shown she’s capable of that.”
Graysen Simmons advanced in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet 8 inches. The competition was suspended Friday night and didn’t get completed until Sunday morning at 10. Teammate Codi Scogin was 5th, clearing 10 feet. “I think if we would’ve finished the event on Friday, where they were both in the elements and mentally in the competition, they would’ve both advanced, but that’s how it ends up,” Fernandez said. “Gray has another week, which she’s capable of advancing if she can put it all together, Codi still has two years left, so getting this experience was huge.”
Brianna Wooten went from 7th to 2nd on her last throw to advance to the regional meet, with a toss of 97 feet 9 inches. “She saved her best for last. She’s coming off ACL surgery in last fall, so she’s really starting to get her feel back. She showed her gutsiness, she’s a competitor,” Fernandez said.
Also competing, Makayla Portis 6th in 100 meter dash 13.06, Ashley Conley (2:34.13) and Sabryna Creech (2:35.43) 7th and 8th, respectively, in the 800, the 4×400 meter relay team of Willis, Brooklyn Cassidy, Cayla Crace and Brittany Prater 4:24.64 took 5th, Graysen Simmons and Akaila Howard tied for 6th in the high jump at 5-6.
“Our girls ran awesome, and to get second behind a great Troy team (130 to 116) was a testament to our girls will to compete,” Fernandez added. “We advanced 11 of the 17 events to the next round, and that’s pretty amazing. In the past, you can score 100 points and win the meet. Northmont was 3rd at 110 points. The top 3 teams all scored 100 points. It’s no secret that all three teams are also in the GWOC, which just shows how tough our conference and district is, so our team accomplishment is that much more impressive.”
The Warriors compete Wednesday and Friday at Welcome stadium for the regional meet.