When the Coventry boys basketball team ended a five-plus-decade league title drought in 2015, the feat received plenty of attention in the community.
COVENTRY TWP. When the Coventry boys basketball team ended a five-plus-decade league title drought in 2015, the feat received plenty of attention in the community.
Ditto for the first back-to-back title span in program history, which the Comets capped off with a second straight Portage Trail Conference Metro Divison crown this season.
But the boys track team, which has been on the rise in recent seasons, had a title drought of its own and the Comets - including several members of those back-to-back basketball title squads - ended it earlier this month with their first league title in more than 50 years, clinching a share of the PTC Metro title with co-champion Woodbridge.
“It meant a lot for the team and the program as a whole. We were cleaning out some parts of the old school and found the trophy from the last time they won a title in 1959,” head coach Danny Savage said. “For us to finish as co-champs is a big deal, the first title in nearly 60 years, and it’s a testament to how hard the kids worked coming into the season.”
The cleaning process in preparation for the district’s move to its new high school helped shine a light on the time span without a boys track title, but by besting perennial league favorite Woodridge in a regular-season meet and running the table in the league, Coventry was able to lock up a share of the title.
The Bulldogs rallied to claim the other half by winning the league meet, and Savage said the roster construction of the two teams lent itself to them sharing the title.
“We won the regular season because beat them in dual meet and we have a lot of depth - guys who can get second and third and score valuable points,” Savage said. “At an invitational (or league meet), they have a lot of standouts and stud guys who can dominate.”
The share of the title was a team effort, Savage noted, and it was fueled in part by two athletes who were a part of the two boys basketball titles for the Comets the past two seasons. Senior Jaret Skaggs and Dusty Burkhart are members of the Comets’ sprint relays, and after winning two straight league basketball championships, their experience and knowledge of what it takes to get to the top was beneficial on the track this season.
“Jared and Dusty, those guys were really excited about those back-to-back championships and they knew what it took, so they demanded more from their teammates on the track,” Savage said.
The season leading up to the league meet had its share of big moments too, including winning the Toby Grimm Relays for the fourth straight season. Winning the Tusky Valley Invitational and “pretty much dominating that meet” was also big, according to Savage, and those triumphs gave the Comets added confidence entering the postseason.
After dropping from Division I to Division II this season, Coventry’s district and regional tournament paths are different when it comes to reaching the state meet. In the past, the Comets competed with much bigger schools from the Federal League at the North Canton District meet, but running in Division II meant a longer drive to Salem for districts this year.
This season’s journey will finish soon, but in a sense, it won’t officially wrap up until this year’s league championship trophy makes its move from the current high school down Manchester Road to the new building and claims its place in the trophy case, putting an exclamation point on the end of another long championship drought for Coventry.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
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