Brayden Gray came into his senior year with an intense focus, and his dedication has led to some extremely good results in the early going.
Gray again took care of business in both the 200 meters and the 300-meter hurdles, winning both events to pace the Hiland boys team to a seventh-place finish in the 19-team field at the East Canton Invitational on Saturday, April 6.
In the 200 Gray posted the second-fastest qualifying time, then turned on the jets in churning out an event-low time of 23.09 to win with relative ease.
In the 300 he and Coventry’s Malik Shaver went stride for stride the whole way, but it would be Gray’s 40.95 inching out Shaver, who finished in 41.08.
Gray’s teammate Declan Howell continued his strong campaign, clearing 6-00 in the high jump to claim second place behind a terrific effort from champion Turner Johnson of Salem, who cleared 6-04. Howell teammate Tyler Kuhns just missed scoring, clearing 5-06.
The pole vault was wide open with the winner clearing 11-06. Hiland’s Aaron Chupp cleared 11-00 and tied for second with four other competitors but had to settle for fifth on the tie-breaker. Howell then just missed qualifying for the final in the long jump, missing by 2 inches. However, he came back in the triple jump and did score points, wrapping up a seventh-place finish with an effort of 35-04.
In the girls realm, the only points Hiland could muster came in the 400 meters, courtesy of Nikki Yoder, who placed fourth in a time of 1:04.61, where West Branch’s Ava Decker won in 1:03-flat in what was a very close race among the top four.