While high school track and field may be a team event, it is individual performances that make up the bulk of the team effort, and on Monday, April 30 at Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia, it was all about the individuals.
With no team scores recorded, it was every person for themselves at the Tuscarawas County Classic.
What fans of high school track and field got to see were plenty of fantastic performances.
New Philadelphia’s Angie Wallick won the 100 with ease in 12.94, followed by a great race for second between Dover’s Kamry Folkert at 13.44 and third-place finisher Caylin Knous, who was right behind her at 13.47.
In the 200 Wallick remained red-hot, winning in 27.04. Knous ran second in 27.59 while her Trojans teammate Jadyn Kuykendall was third and Dover’s Toni Denmark placed fourth.
The Crimson Tornadoes swept to first and second in the 400, where Dover teammates Willow Cox and Meredith Lehman went 1:02.39 and 1:04.21, respectively. TCC’s Camry Cummings placed third in 1:05.28.
All-Ohioan Rachel Anderson of New Philadelphia fought off a hard challenge from Dover’s Raya Harrison to win the 800. Anderson finished in 2:20.12, narrowly defeating Harrison, who ran a 2:20.58 as they battled to the wire.
The 1600 and 3200 belonged to one of Tuscarawas County’s finest athletes in Madi DeBos of Tusky Valley. DeBos captured the 3200 in 11:28.07, defeating the entire field by nearly one full minute, including runner-up Brittany Roth of Indian Valley, who ran a 12:24.91.
DeBos fired off a 5:09.62 in the 1600 to win by 12 seconds over runner-up Anderson while Roth took third in 5:29.96.
If there were jumps included in the running events, it was being ruled by Garaway’s Carly Jacobs. The All-Ohioan fired off a 15.48 in the 100-meter hurdles, clipping Jose Pry of New Philadelphia, who ran a 15.62. Pry’s teammate Kate McEwan finished third in 16.28.
In the 300 hurdles Jacobs and Pry went at it again, and the two entered the penultimate hurdle neck and neck. However, Jacobs cleared it smoothly while Pry stumbled just a bit, and both runners took the final hurdle with Jacobs in control. She won in 46.24 while Pry finished at 46.75. TCC’s Regina Gonano placed third in 48.66.
Tusky Valley zipped to victory in the 4-by-100 relay, where the quartet of Ashley Kinsey, Kuykendall, Kennedy Willis and Knous found victory lane in 52.61. New Phila’s Angie Wallick, Megan Maurer, Olivia Wellman and Breanna Shaw took second in 53.34, two-hundredths of a second in front of Garaway’s foursome of Jacobs, Ashton Gerber, Mattie Walter and Sara Beachy.
Dover’s team of Whitney Ward, Cox, Toni Denmark and Lehman whirled to victory in the 4-by-200 in 1:50.35 with New Phila’s team of Wallick, Kiera Sexton, Maurer and Pry grabbing runner-up at 1:51.44. Third went to Garaway in 1:52.44, led by Jacobs, Gerber, Beachy and Haley Shutt.
Dover dominated the 4-by-400, where the quartet of Kiser, Cox, Harrison and Ward ran all over the competition, finishing in 4:14.55. TCC was runner-up in 4:18.46, led by Nicci Zontini, Peyton Olson, Cummings and Gonano.
Indian Valley twins Kitanna and Kiara Rakeshaw went one and three in the high jump, respectively, with Kitanna Rakeshaw clearing 5-02 to win it. Runner-up went to Veronica Jeffers, who tied Kiara Rickshaw at 4-10 but won on misses.
Showing she could do more than just run distance, DeBos won the pole vault by clearing 10-06. That got her by McEwan and Indian Valley’s Ellie McDaniel, who placed second and third, respectively, by making 10-00.
Kitanna Rakeshaw doubled up on victories by claiming the long jump with a leap of 16-11.50. That was more than 1 foot beyond runner-up Jordyn Kiser of Dover and Indian Valley’s Shaylee Shepherd.
In the shot Indian Valley picked up a champion in Ashton Warner, whose heave of 37-00 was good enough to fend off runner-up Makayla Miller of Garaway’s effort of 33-01.50. Miller also took second in the discus with a throw of 104-05, which was bested only by Dover’s Grace Wallace, who won with a toss of 108-06. Indian Valley’s Kelci Martin placed third at 101-03.
The boys side of the ledger also was filled with some incredible performances.
Jelani Walker won the 100 meters in an electrifying 11.27, and he was followed in a near dead-heat for second place by three runners. In a photo finish, Claymont’s Devaun Gamble was second in 11.35, Dover’s Andrew McVicker was third in 11.36 and Xavier Grant of Claymont was fourth in 11.37.
In the 200 LJ Lowery of New Phila took the top spot in 23.08, narrowly eclipsing Tusky Valley’s Justin Merrick, who placed second in 23.21. Walker and Gamble went three and four in a tight battle for the win.
Lowery doubled down and won the 400 as well, turning in a time of 50.86. That was well ahead of the pack with his teammate Caden Richmond taking second in 52.28, a time that barely got him by Dover’s Trent Nixon by a scant two-tenths of a second. Nixon’s teammate Garrett Newsome was fourth in 53.50.
The Quakers stayed hot in the 800, where Gabe Ernest ran a 2:01.02 to claim the title ahead of runner-up Hunter Probert of Indian Valley, who ran a 2:02.87. Vincent Giumenti of Dover ran third at 2:03.19.
The distance races were a showcase for New Philadelphia’s Aiden Harr. Harr continued his season of dominance by roaring to victory in the 1600 in 4:26.49, a pace that was easily ahead of teammate Gabe Ernest’s 4:40.99. Dover’s Ethan Rainsburg was third in 4:42.42.
Harr was brilliant in the 3200, where he and runner-up Julian Shrock ran side by side for five laps before Harr put it into an otherworldly gear and pulled away. His time of 9:54.49 was well ahead of Shrock’s runner-up time of 10:10.96 while third went to New Phila’s Joey Mushrush in 10:19.95 and Shrock’s teammate Christian Stocksdale was fourth in 10:28.35.
Just like in the girls hurdles, both boys events were ruled by one competitor. Indian Valley standout Zack Love won the 110-meter hurdles, easily fending off runner-up Trey Breehl of Claymont. Third went to TCC’s Paul O’Donnell.
Love then captured the 300-meter hurdles in 40.85, followed by New Philadelphi’a Storm Elsesser, who ran a 42.10. Elsesser’s teammate Jacob Finnicum took third in 42.67 with Mason Arnold of Claymont placing fourth.
Claymont ruled the sprint relay, winning the 4-by-100 in 44.66 with Xavier Grant, CJ Watters, Hunter Hershberger and Gamble getting the gold. Runner-up went to the team of Dover’s Nick Newland, Oshea Williams, Scott Cecil and McVicker, who ran a 45.41, as Dover beat Tusky Valley’s group of Brock Haas, Owen Clugston, Brandon Steinbaugh and Tyler Stump by .01.
In the 4-by-200, New Philadelphia’s team of Jelani Walker, Elsesser, Sam Zemis and Tyler Ripley were unstoppable, winning in 1:32.55. Right on their heels was the quartet of runners from Claymont, who came in second at 1:33.23. That team consisted of Xavier Grant, Watters, Hunter Hershberger and Gamble.
The Quakers ran the table on the relays by winning the 4-by-400 to close out the meet. That team of Nick Schaffner, Elsesser, Caden Richmond and Lowery ran a 3:28.36 to easily outdistance Dover’s Trent Nixon, Newsome, Nick Newland and Giumenti’s effort of 3:31.61.
Elsesser and Quaker’s teammate Laterrian Cunningham went one and two, respectively, in the high jump, Elsesser clearing 6-02 while Cunningham was the only other competitor to top 5-08.
The pole vault proved to be one of the most entertaining events of the evening, thanks to Newcomerstown teammates Hunter Garretson and Ryan Stevens.
After third-place finisher Zack Love dropped out with a terrific jump of 14-00, the two Trojans took part in an epic battled as the height grew to 15-00 with both Trojans making that height. It finally ended with Garretson winning on misses as neither competitor could climb higher.
Xavier Grant of Claymont won the long jump with an effort of 20-07 with Zemis taking runner-up at 19-11.50. His Quakers teammate Alec Preston was third at 19-07 with Oshea Williams finishing fourth 1 inch behind.
Claymont big man Blake Linard ruled the throwing events. He chucked up a 50-10.50 in the shot, knocking off Crimson Tornadoes duo of Kyler Dickey and Kaden Dickey, who threw 47-09.50 and 46-05.50, respectively.
Linard’s throw of 140-02 in the discus was easily a winner with runner-up honors going to Nick Love of Indian Valley at 133-08. Claymont’s Lyle Clark was third at 130-03, and fourth went to Dover’s Kyler Dickey at 130-01.