DAYTON – The Wayne Warrior men’s and women’s track teams placed 9th this past weekend at the Southwest Regional Track meet, held at Welcome Stadium. The men’s squad scored 26 points while the women scored 20.
Junior Mazon Walker continued his shot put run to state, by becoming only the 3rd male Wayne shot putter to win the event at the Regional meet (John Caplinger 2002, Robert Landers 2013). Walker threw a personal best 52 feet 10.5 inches, besting Austin Snyder of Glen Este by ½ inch.
“Mazon stepped up and continued to throw well. Our goal was to make the state meet, but we thought he had a good chance of winning as well. He’s been really progressing every week, and has one more time to throw a big one. He’s ready. He’s in some real good company for those who have won this event at the Regional. I’m proud of him.”
Joining Walker in Columbus will be the 4×400 meter relay team of Damon Roberts (49.9), Treyvion Higgins (49.7), Jalil Pollard (50.4) and Elijah Hill (49.9), the quartet ran their season’s best time of 3:20.23 to place third behind Mason (3:20.22) and Withrow (3:16.12). In the semi-finals on Wednesday, they ran what was then a seasons best time of 3:23.34.
“These four kids believed in what we were training them for and it showed these past 4 weeks. It wasn’t easy, but that’s what this relay is all about. It’s the best race to watch, and the most exciting. In 4 weeks, we have dropped 13 seconds in this relay, and we’re going to have to drop a couple more seconds to get on the podium in Columbus.”
“Damon ran his best lead off leg this season, it was his first time ever breaking 50 seconds. Treyvion ran a good tactical race as well, which also resulted in his best ever split. Jalil got the baton and put us in position (top 4) by running his best ever split, handing off in second. Then our anchor leg, Elijah, had to run against some tough anchor legs, but remained poised and calm and had a great lean at the end to hold onto 4th place initially, but ending up third after a disqualification of the Centerville Elks team. “ “Going into the state meet, we have the 7th best time. So on paper we should do ok, but I always tell our kids, don’t take things for granted, I know they will approach each race like the last four weeks, and if they do that, we will be in position to compete for a finals position on Saturday (finals).”
Unfortunately, there were some kids that placed but didn’t qualify to the state meet. Damon Roberts placed 5th in the 300 hurdles, after qualifying the year before. His time of 39.07 was just .03 for 4th place. “Damon had a shot, but just came up so close to qualifying. He actually had a good race, start to finish, but missed out on a lean. That’s how it goes sometimes, I felt bad for him.” Teammate Jalil Pollard was 7th (42.50). “Jalil just had a bad race. He knew he did, and he’s disappointed in his race. However, he will bounce back, he’s only a junior.”
Freshman Michael Brown took 7th in the high jump, leaping 3 inches higher than his previous best, going 6 feet 1 inch. “Michael had that meet where it all clicked for him. We’ve been waiting for that all season. His potential is endless. This was a great meet for him, because he now sees what he needs to improve on for next season, and beyond.” Teammate Trew Davis leaped 6 feet, his personal best to place 12th. “Trew, like Michael, had a great meet as well. Both will come back next year, and we should really be a force in this event.”
Davis also had a career day in the long jump. The junior soared 22 feet even to place 8th, just 3.25 inches from qualifying for state. It also marked the first time Davis eclipsed the 22 foot barrier. “Trew had a tremendous serious of jumps, in fact all his jumps were personal best, all over 21 feet. The week before he jumped 21-1.5 to qualify. He’s already talking about getting back here next year.”
The 4×200 relay had to deal with a sudden change, as a member of the team that helped qualify the relay from the district meet, decided not to compete at the regional meet. “As coaches, we always expect the unexpected. For us, we are fortunate to have the “next person up” mantra and we did just that.”
The quartet of Jacob Selby, Zarik Brown, Roman Sneed and Joseph Collins took 11th, with a time of 1:31.38, just .47 seconds from qualifying to the finals. “We will bounce back, and come back next year and run even faster. I’m proud of the four kids that competed. Three of them come back next year, so they’ve got some great experience competing in the meet.”
The girls were lead by senior Madi Doss, who placed second in the 400 meter dash, running 57.51. “Madi locked up near the end, and ended up getting passed the last 25 meters. Ultimately, it’s about advancing to the state meet, which she’s done now for a third straight year. That’s a huge accomplishment. She’s ready to run big at the state meet.”
Joining Doss will be first time state qualifier, sophomore Taylor Robertson, who leaped a career best 17 feet 11 inches, on her last jump in the finals, bumping her from 5th to 4th and a birth to the state meet. “Taylor had all career best jumps, but saved her best for last. It was such an intense finals, because everyone seemed to better their jumps. But Taylor never wavered. After she jumped, we made her get ready for the hurdles, and at the time, she didn’t know if she had qualified, because there was one more jumper ahead of her that could’ve gotten her. When we knew she got in, we ended up telling her before she ran the 100 hurdles. She deserved it, and she still can go even further.”
Teammate Ashley Richardson was 8th, leaping 17 feet 4.5 inches. “I know Ashley was disappointed. She qualified as a sophomore, and was 6th last year here at the regional meet. She’s been a great competitor, and a huge part in our program all four years here. She’ll be missed, but will continue her career next year at Indiana Tech. You’ll be hearing from her in the future.”
Junior Graysen Simmons took 5th in the pole vault, with a height of 11 feet 2 inches. That height was also fourth place, but due to Simmons misses early in the vault, she ended up fifth. “My heart felt for Gray, because we knew that the early misses might come back and hurt her, which it did. She’s worked so hard, but I told her that she gets another chance next year. She’s such a hard worker and competitor, she will learn from this and be back stronger.”
In the 100 hurdles, Robertson placed 7th , running 15.73. “Taylor may have been a little spent, as she just got done competing in the long jump. She’s going to be a force in this event next year.”
Junior Brianna Wooten took 9th in the discus, throwing a season’s best 103 feet 6 inches. “Bri had a tough season, but ended on a good note. She’ll be back stronger next year.”
Sophomore Kristen Hoelscher placed 13th in the 3200 run, 12:43.55. The 4×100 meter relay team of Robertson, Richardson, Akaila Howard and Makayla Portis took 9th, in 50.42, their best time fo the year. “We had our best exchanges of the year, it’s a shame they didn’t get to the finals.”
The 4×200 relay of Amani Westry, Amaya Howard, Akaila Howard and Makayla Portis didn’t finish as they dropped the baton. Senior Kayle Willis took 12th in the 300 hurdles, running 48.56.
“I think overall, we had some outstanding performances, and continued a streak of advancing kids to the state meet, which is always the goal in the beginning of the year. Since I’ve been involved with the program (since 1985 as an athlete) we’ve been able to qualify someone to the state meet for the past 31 years. That’s impressive, no matter what sport you compete or coach in. I’m proud of all the kids, because all their hard work paid off.”