Smithville All-Ohioan Lucas Clark looked like he was dead in the water in the 800 at the 2017 Triway Invitational Saturday, April 22 at Triway High School. Clark trailed Triway All-Ohioan Justin Mackey by about 20 meters with less than 100 meters to run. It appeared as though the Titan would defend his home turf in a race that many people knew was going to be flat-out great.
What it turned into was something memorable.
Clark came storming back, closing the gap as the finish line loomed. Nearly stride for stride the two runners galloped to a spectacular finish, and in the end, if you weren’t sitting on the finish line you couldn’t tell who won.
It would be Clark who came out on top in 2:00.89, with Mackey 12-hundredths of a second behind at 2:01.01.
“I started sprinting on the backstretch, and I thought he was out of reach, so I just let it all go,” Clark said. “Usually how I get beat is when people build a big lead and I can’t track them down in the end.”
Apparently no lead is big enough to fend off the Smithies star.
“My coach told me to go around 300, so I went with it,” Mackey said of his attempt to pull away from Clark. “I heard everyone yelling at the end that he was coming, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it because he had the speed on me.”
At state last year, Mackey ran a 1:56 while Clark ran a 1:57, so both runners are still working their way back toward times they feel will get them back on the state podium.
While this race was scintillating, it was far from the only race that provided great drama. This was a day that saw many wonderful battles play out, creating a great day of track and field for fans.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Smithville All-Ohioan Cole Smith and Jacob Mally of Woodridge hooked up in a duel that saw them leap the final four hurdles pretty much in sync with one another. In the end, Smith would finish in 14.78 to Mally’s 14.87 as the two runners pulled away from the rest of the field in quite a show.
“Right from the start it was one of those races I knew was going to be tight,” Smith said. “I could barely see him, we were hip-to-hip it was so close, but I thought I got him on the start just enough to get an edge, and from there we were right there.”
At indoor state this winter, Mally defeated Smith by four-hundredths of a second as they went one-two there, so this rivalry is far from over.
Efforts like Clark and Smith allowed the Smithies to take the boys title with 105 points. Triway was second with 84 points in the 16-team field, Orrville placed fifth with 55.5, Garaway earned eighth with 30, West Holmes was ninth with 25, Dalton placed 13th, Waynedale was 14th, Loudonville was 15th and Rittman finished 16th.
A huge number of competitors in the 1600 made for a sluggish start in a crowded field that saw runners jockeying for position.
In the midst of them was All-Ohioan Joey Coudriet of Smithville. Coudriet, the field favorite, had to figure out how best to attack a slow pace. That left him in a battle royale with teammates Justin McKeal and Shelby aces Samuel Logan and Danny Friebel. McKeal faded as they entered the final 200 meters, ending up in fourth, but Coudriet would have a time fending off the two Shelby runners.
“Justin and I had a racing strategy early on, but we were not expecting to go 2:22 the first half,” said Coudriet, who won in 4:35. “All those guys in one heat made the start of the race tough to figure out. But in the end, it really came down to that final stretch run.”
Coudriet and Logan had by far the two best times coming in, and the Smithies’ star knew he had to keep Logan in his sights the entire race. He added that seeing Friebel there in the end was a bit of a surprise.
“Around the 200 (on the final turn) I was almost in the third lane because they were running side-by-side,” Coudriet said of the Shelby runners. “I knew I had to get out there and I thought they might out-kick me because of that advantage, but it all worked out.”
In other boys action, Dylan Eshler of Triway burned it up in the 100, zipping to the finish in 11.36, but it wasn’t quite good enough to take down Buckeye’s Justin Candy who won in 11.34 in a intensely close battle.
In the 200, Titan Hunter Brown exacted a little revenge, racing to victory in 23.01. Smithies’ Trent Shane placed fourth in 24.04. Another fantastic finish took place in the 400, where Zach Antonio of North Royalton ran a 50.47, just edging out Garaway state qualifier Austin Miller who ran a 50.64. Shane placed third in 51.79 while Waynedale’s Michael Murphy was fourth in 52.14. Murphy also grabbed fourth in the 100.
Coudriet grabbed his second gold in the 3200 where he won in 9:47.07, keeping Woodridge’s Ryan Palm at bay about a second back at 9:48.13. Triway’s Nich Michels was fourth in 10:01.81, his teammate Jared Bugaj was fifth in 10:16.01 and Smithville’s Noah Riggenbach was sixth in 10:22.95.
Smith captured his second title in the 300-meter hurdles, where his time of 40.20 again nipped Mally’s time of 41.90 at the wire. Carson Troyer of Garaway took third in 43,74, and Garaway head coach Zach Mottice said this meet is a great challenge for his team.
“Since we are a smaller school here, if we can place, we are very pleased, because the competition level here is awesome,” Mottice said. ‘This is one of those days when you definitely want to use it to make your kids better and challenge them.”
In the 4×100, Triway’s foursome of Austin Davis, Eshler, Luke Myers and Brown tore to victory in 44.61, just edging out Orrville’s team of Shelton Smothers, Jaden Barnhill, Tommy Hayes and Jake Fitzgerald, who placed runner-up in 45.11.
The Titan’s relay fun continued in the 4×200, where Dylan Prost joined Eshler, Myers and Brown to win in 1:31.97, in one race that wasn’t close.
Triway’s Prost, Myers, Davis and Mackey placed third in the 4×400, where Garaway’s group of Troyer, Colin Hochstetler, Tommy Havranek and Miller earned fifth.
To0 nobody’s surprise, Smithville dominated the 4×800, where McKeal, Jeremiah Butler, Riggenbach and Clark roared to victory in 8:22.36.
In the discus, West Holmes 2016 state-qualifier Josh Goudy was edged out in the finals, settling for second with his throw of 145-00, behind only North Royalton’s Sam Ferguson, who heaved it 150-06 on his final throw of the day. Smithies’ David Massaro was third at 134-02 while Orrville’s John McClure placed fifth.
Shawn Sindall of Loudonville and Dalton’s Joey Dalessandro placed third and fourth in the high jump, while in the long jump, Smothers of Orrville leaped to victory with an effort of 20-09.5, inching out runner-up Shane of Triway, who reeled off a 20-05. Orrville’s Fitzgerald was third at 20-03.5, while West Holmes’ Michael Taylor was fourth at 19-11.75.
Garaway’s Jarrod Hunt placed third in the pole vault, clearing 13-00, although he was disappointed, because he missed at 13-06 a height he has cleared with regularity in the past. Had he cleared that height, he would have won the event.
In the shot, Curtis Burgan of Triway uncorked a throw of 50-09 t win it, while Orrville’s Sam Auble and McClure placed third and fourth, respectively.