The Hiland Hawks continued to get a great effort across the board in churning out a big home win in track and field Thursday, March 31. In facing Dalton, Strasburg and Heritage Christian, the Hawks got a big effort again from several competitors, which was good enough to fend off the hard-charging Bulldogs.
Hiland earned 77 points, good enough to edge past Dalton’s second-place finish of 61. Strasburg came in third with 33 while Heritage Christian tallied one point.
“We are at the place now in our program where we should be competing night in, night out competing to win,” said Hiland coach Mark Fowler. “It’s not a shock for us now to be fighting for the top spot.”
In Hiland’s field events, Jordan Stauffer took first in the discus with a throw of 120-05, and his toss of 37-feet even in the shot was good enough to place him second. In the long jump, it was Declan Howell placing third and Brady Gray grabbing fourth, while Carson Feikert and Alijah Chupp earned third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault.
However, it was in the running events where Hiland pulled away to victory, starting with the relays, where they captured wins in the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800.
Hunter Yoder was strong for the Hawks in the distance races, edging by Dalton’s Austin Horst in both the 1600 and 3200for first place finishes.
Kenny Yoder ripped his way to first in the 110 hurdles, while Joe Wengerd and Loren Hershberger went one and two in the 400.
Isaiah Yoder had his fingerprints all over this win, grabbing gold in the 100 and 200 and competing in a pair of relay winners. He edged past teammate and runner-up Earvin Keim in the 100, with Keim taking third in the 200.
In the 300 hurdles, it was Strasburg’s Jonathan King taking first in 44.21, while Gray claimed second in 48.56. Yoder ended up fourth.
Fowler said that once his Hawks get All-Ohioan Matt Troyer back to full strength later this season, the team will be able to put up numbers across the board.
“When that happens, we will have some pretty dominant kids from the sprints all the way through to the distance events,” said Fowler. “Hunter (Yoder) has looked really strong in the distance races so far. Our relay teams are looking strong and Jordan (Stauffer) took first in the disc and second in the shot today. It’s coming, and we are only going to get better.”
Fowler added that freshman like Brady Gray and Decklan Howell, and the return of sophomore Kenny Yoder, who didn’t run last season, has some youngsters clamoring to make some noise.
While the boys program has become one to be reckoned with, Fowler said the girls team is currently about two years behind in the curve to become a contender. Fowler noted that the scores the girls are putting up are very similar to what the boys team was doing two years ago.
“That proved itself out at Northwestern earlier this week, when the girls scored the exact same number the boys did there two years earlier,” said Fowler. “We are competitive but not competitive enough or deep enough to compete against big teams like that.”
Strasburg’s Sarah Dreher won the high jump, with Hiland’s Yisra Omran taking second place. In the 1600, Dalton’s one-two punch of Lili Baechle and Olivia Carpenter took the top two spots, followed by Hiland’s Liz Troyer and Emily Troyer.
Lady Hawks Olivia Gingerich and Lexi Yoder went two and three, respectively, in the 100 hurdles, while Sarah Menuez sped her way to gold in the 100 in 13.94 on a night when heavy winds kept good times to a minimum.
Maria McGrath of Strasburg won the 800 easily, in a time of 2:45.96, while Hiland’s Olivia Mast took third. Dalton pulled off a clean sweep in the relay events, winning the 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800.
Izzy Fowler of Hiland roared to victory in the 400 in a time of 1:08.74, while Melissa Hostetler followed suit in the 300 hurdles, cruising to win with a come-from-behind victory over Dalton’s Suzi Gutierrez. In the 200, Menuez and Hailey Miller took second and fourth, respectively.
Liz Troyer and Emily Droyer went two and three in the 3200.
“We’ve got several kids who are going to score for us pretty well on a regular basis,” said Fowler.
The Dalton girls won the overall prize, with 81 points, while Hiland placed second with 48, Strasburg took third with 27 and Heritage Christian was fourth with 10 points.