HUBER HEIGHTS — The Wayne Indoor track team will have a large contingent of compete at the OATCCC indoor state championships on March 3 at the Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio.
In order to qualify to the state meet, athletes or relays must be in the top 24 times or marks in the state for their respective event.
Senior Taylor Robertson, who signed a letter of intent to compete at Indiana Tech next year, leads all jumpers in the triple jump, with a mark of 36 feet, 6 inches. That mark also broke the old school record of Ashley Richardson (35 feet, 5 inches, in 2015). Robertson was 4th in 2017 at the state indoor meet, leaping 35 feet, 4.5 inches. Taylor has qualified to the state meet in four individual events, the first Warrior female athlete to do so since the inception of the state indoor meet 2004.
Robertson qualified in the long jump, leaping 17 feet, 4.5 inches (placed 7th in 2016 state meet 16 feet, 5.25 inches), pole vault (10 feet, 6 inches) and 60 meter hurdles (9.38).
“That’s an incredible feat for any athlete,” Head Coach Mike Fernandez said. “You look at the athletes that have come through our program, and no female athlete has done what she’s done this year. It’s pretty remarkable. She’s self-driven, and that’s something you love as a coach. Her goal is to place in all four events, and possibly win one.”
Makayla Portis also qualified in the triple jump. Her mark of 34 feet, 1.5 inches is third best in the state.
“Makayla has really turned it on this indoor season. She’s capable of leaping further,” Fernandez noted.
Portis also has a shot in the long jump, leaping 15 feet, 11 inches.
“She’s still has a shot qualifying in the long jump, but won’t know until Wednesday night,” Fernandez said.
Codi Scogins, a senior who will be attending Bethel College next fall, punched a return trip back to state indoor in the pole vault, leaping 11 feet.
“Codi is ready to jump big soon. Just having state meet experience from last year will only help her.”
The 4×200 meter relay team of Ka’Niya McGowan, Makayla Portis, (freshman) Jordan Hampton and Kaya Stargel qualified in the 4×200 meter relay, with a 1:49.97 time. Portis and McGowan return from last year’s state meet performance that placed 12th.
“It will bode well to have two veteran athletes that have been here before,” Fernandez commented.
Zarik Brown leads the boy’s contingent of state qualifiers. Brown is ranked third in the state in the 60 dash (6.91 seconds), 5th in the 200 meter dash (22.35 seconds), and is on the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays.
“This is a coming out year for Zarik, as he’s turning heads every time he competes,” Fernandez stated. “We saw a little of this outdoors last year, but he’s finally realizing what his ability and potential is.”
Justin Harris, a returning state placer last year in the 60 meter hurdles (6th in 8.29), is ranked 2nd in the state with an 8.18 time.
“Justin has had a strong indoor campaign, and he’s ready to improve on his 2017 performance.”
Both Brown and Harris are a vital part of the 4×200 meter relay that has qualified with a time of 1:31.23, 8th best in the state. Last year, Harris was on the team that placed 10th in 1:32.10, this year’s time would’ve been 7th last year.
“This relay is ready to go faster; we have the personnel to run under 1:30, which would put us around top four or five,” Fernandez noted.
Running in the relay with Brown and Harris will be freshman Jaden Roberts and Sophomore Alijah Fleming.
In the 4×400, Harris, Fleming and Brown are also on this relay, along with Lucas Houk, and have qualified with the 6th best time in the state, 3:28.25. Harris again, was on last year’s 8th place team that ran 3:28.29.
“I still think this relay hasn’t run their best race yet,” Fernandez said. “It’s realistic to drop another 3 or 4 seconds when competing at the state meet, but they will have to put it all together on that day, which they are more than capable of doing.”
Lucas Houk has also qualified in the 1600 meter run (4:23.72) and the 800 meter run (2:00.60). Lucas becomes the first male 1600 meter runner to qualify for the state indoor meet in the event. He is also the school record holder, with that time.
“Lucas is continuing its outstanding performances after a stellar junior year in cross country, where he qualified for the state cross country meet,” Fernandez said. “His confidence has really driven him to compete at another level right now. He’s someone to watch out for at the state meet, because he has the ability to place in the top 8 or higher.”
In the field events, senior Joel Crain has the second best weight throw at 68 feet, 5.5 inches in the state. Crain was 4th last year at the state indoor meet, throwing 64 feet, 9 inches. Teammate, junior Dylan Beaird is currently ranked third with a 65 feet, 6 inch mark.
“To have two athletes in the top three is just outstanding. I give credit to our throws coach Jim Findlay, as he continues to develop some of the best throwers in the state the past decade. Both Dylan and Joel are ready to throw big.”
Crain also qualified in the shot put with the 5th best mark in the state of 57 feet, 0.5 inches.
“Joel placed 11th last year with a 51 feet, 7 inch mark.
“This could be the surprise event for Joel, as he’s capable of popping a big throw at any time,” Fernandez said. “He is due for a big one, and I can’t think of a better time to do it than at the state indoor.”
Reed Feagle makes his first state meet trip, throwing 46 feet 8 inches to qualify. “Reed has improved every meet and made state on his last meet this past weekend at University of Findlay meet.”
Brian Hill has qualified in the triple jump (41 feet 5.25 inches, and was state placer last year 42 feet, 2.5 inches, 7th) and high jump (6 feet), but due to an injury, cannot compete this year. Senior Diante Lesperance has qualified in the long jump (21 feet, 0 inches) and the triple jump (40 feet, 6 inches), as well as Kaelan Turner, who also qualified in the triple jump, 38 feet, 9.75 inches.
Overall, Wayne has six girls and 11 boys qualify, for eight girl’s events and 15 boy’s events featured at this year’s state meet.