Several local teams and individuals had solid weekends at their respective regional track meets and earned trips to the state meet in Columbus this weekend.
Several local teams and individuals had solid weekends at their respective regional track meets and earned trips to the state meet in Columbus this weekend, but none better than the Coventry boys track team.
The Comets, competing at the Austintown Division II regional meet, qualified seven athletes for the state meet and, in the process, ranked eighth in the final standings.
“I don’t even know if they knew the team score, but once I told them, they thought it was pretty cool,” head coach Danny Savage said. “Sending seven athletes to the state meet is a record for Coventry.”
The Comets came into the meet expecting their 400-meter relay team to do well, and the team of Dusty Burkhart, Tyler Porter, Daniel Fassnacht and Treon Sibley didn’t disappoint with a fourth-place finish in the preliminaries and a second-place result in the finals to claim their spot in Columbus.
Burkhart, who verbally committed to play football at the University of Akron over the weekend, was one of two Comets to advance in multiple events, having tied for third in the 100 meters in a finish that Savage believes was key for the team’s overall success.
“Dusty’s 100 set the tone for the rest of the team and everyone kept feeding off each other,” Savage said. “He had a new PR and only lost to two Division I (college recruit) football players.”
Burkhart may have set the tone, but it was Sibley who enjoyed the best day for the Comets. The sophomore multi-event athlete became the first person in school history to qualify for the state meet in three events, according to Savage.
Sibley ran on the 400 and 800 relay teams and also qualified with a surprising second-place finish in the high jump, where he set a new personal best with a jump of 6-2, finishing second behind Ronald Henderson of Buchtel.
Sibley also ran one of the legs for the 800 relay a team, which benefitted from a reshuffled lineup that saw senior Tremayne Collins run the first leg and hander off to junior Dillan Raines. The new lineup produced a season-best time of 1:30.90 and a fourth-place result that was fitting because it saw the Comets narrowly edge out Woodridge. The two squads shared the overall league title this season with Coventry winning the regular season and the Bulldogs claiming the league meet, so besting their rival by .52 seconds for a spot at the state meet was an exciting result for the Comets.
Manchester was the only other local school to send multiple athletes on to the state meet, but Green’s Alyssa Thomas submitted a solid day at the Austintown Division I regional meet. After running the third leg of the Bulldogs’ 3,200 relay, the senior distance standout finished second in the 1,600 behind Solon’s Olivia Howell to earn a return trip to Columbus.
She missed out on qualifying in the 3,200, as her time of 11:27.47 was 7.14 seconds off the pace for the fourth and final qualifying spot.
"To run the time she ran in the mile and then to come back in the 3,200 just shows the kind of competitor she is," head coach Jacob Saylor said of Thomas. "She was disappointed not to win the regional championship like she did last year, but she really ran well."
The focus this week was "a few good workouts" and staying relaxed, Saylor said, before heading to Columbus for the race.
Teammate Kimmie Kramer tallied a 14th-place result in the 300 hurdle preliminaries, while sophomore Kaleigh Renninger was also 14th in the 800. Olga Branney ranked 10th in the high jump with a top height of 5-1, which was two inches short of a qualifying spot.
A best effort of 10-4 wasn’t enough for junior Kaitlyn Hawkins in the pole vault as she sought to continue the program’s strong tradition of regional meet success in the event. Hawkins broke her pole during the meet, sustaining cuts on her hands and arms that prevented her from finishing the event.
Junior Stewart Schmidt suffered nearly the same fate as Thomas, placing sixth in the boys 3,200 in a time of 9:35.07, 8.51 seconds out of fourth place. His teammate, senior Clay Wodicka, had a top throw of 49-4 in the shot put, while Springfield junior Tracy Jordan missed qualifying by one spot with his fifth-place finish thanks to a top throw of 52-2.75. Taylor noted that having a good group provided a strong support system for all Green competitors in Austintown, but Thomas and many others will have to find a way to succeed without that support system as they head to the state meet as solo acts.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8396
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