Hiland comes out of the blocks running in Jeff Arthurs Invitational

There were plenty of things that reminded everyone that it is extremely early in the track and field season that took place at the Jeff Arthurs Invitational Track & Field Meet Saturday, March 26 in Uhrichsville, but at least one guy was on course to let everyone know he was going to be for real this season.

Hiland junior sprinter Isaiah Yoder gobbled up real estate at an alarming clip in the 100 and 200, winning both events.

“He’s been doing great all winter, so it didn’t surprise us to see him run like he did, but I think it surprised some other people,” said Hiland coach Mark Fowler of Yoder’s effort.

Fowler said Ridgewood felt with two state-qualifiers back this year, they stood a good chance to take first and in the sprints. It turned out to be second and third after Yoder dusted off the competition.

He won the 200 by a pretty good amount, “said Fowler of Yoder. “And in the 100, he was the last kid out of the blocks, and still won. Yeah, he had a pretty good day.”

That good day included setting the Hiland record in the 200… or not.

His reported time of 23.01 was the time that was announced as the winning time. That would have been a school record. However, the recorded time went into the books as 23.45, not a school record.

Which time to believe; that is the question.

“I just told Isaiah, next time out, bust it wide open and leave no doubt,” said Fowler.

There were glitches throughout the day, such as the timing mechanism going out while the girls 100 took place, which resulted in some iffy times being recorded, which may have prevented Hiland senior Sara Menuez from reaching the finals. Fowler said that there was also a glitch in the scoring in the discus, where Jordan Stauffer’s throw of 116-feet was not recorded. He would eventually settle for sixth place, but that throw would have bumped him up a notch.

Fowler was diplomatic about it all, noting that it is early in the season not just for athletes but for everyone getting back into the swing of things, and all scoring issues aside, it really didn’t matter. What did matter was that all of the teams were able to get out and compete early in the season, and evaluate where they stand against someone other than themselves.

“It’s a decent start,” said Fowler. “It’s coming. I think we are going to be OK. It’s pretty obvious that Isaiah is no longer the best kept secret in the area.”

Stauffer also took a sixth in the shot put, and Fowler noted that none of his throws were anywhere near what he is capable of producing.

Joe Wengerd captured fourth in the 400, a race of which Fowler aid, “Joe ran a nice, confident race.”

Melissa Hostetler claimed fifth in the girls 300 hurdles, and also participated in the fifth-place 4×800 team, along with Isabelle Fwoler, Olivia Mast and Brooke Miller. The boys 4×400 relay team of Wengerd, Loren Hershberger, Hunter Yoder and Isaiah Yoder took fourth, while the girls 4×400, 4×200 and boys 4×800 teams all finished sixth.

Indian Valley won the boys team finals, while Carrollton’s girls grabbed the top team spot for the girls. Hiland’s boys team placed seventh, slipping by Ridgewood by one point.

“Overall, it was a solid start for us, and it gave everyone a chance to realize that we aren’t too far off the pace,” said Fowler of his teams. We messed up a hand-off in the boys 4×200 (Hershberger, Joey Gatti, Earvin Keim and Isaiah Yoder), and if we hadn’t done that, I think we could have won that event. We were out in front when that happened, we just didn’t make the hand-off. They are shooting to get to Columbus this year. They are a pretty quick bunch.”

Fowler said factor in All-Ohioan Matt Troyer, who is still recovering from a fall knee injury, and the Hawks could have also won the 400 and 800, as well as the 4×800 relay.

“This was good for us because it lets us get some of the early season kinks out, while at the same time it gives us a good idea as to where we need to improve and where we can best compete,” said Fowler.

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