Talk about your runaway wins. The East Canton Hornets won the Inter-Valley Conference boys first race of the conference meet and never looked back in roaring to an easy league conference crown.
The defending Div. III state champions put everyone on notice that they are more than willing to go after consecutive state titles by rolling up 205 points, almost double that of runner-up Claymont’s 110 points. Indian Valley was a distant third with 70 while Tusky Valley and Ridgewood fell in line to round out the top five. Garaway was seventh with 38 points while Hiland ended up ninth with 24 points in the field of 13 teams.
East Canton champions were littered all over the final stats sheet.
The 4-by-800 relay team of Colt Hemphill, Demetrius Snellenberger, Tony Capillo and Josh Conrad kick-started the Hornets’ romp to victory. Nathanael Suntheimer, Cody Vacco, Mitch Mitchell and Wyatt Deutschman won the 4-by-200 relay, defeating Claymont’s team of Xavier Grant, C.J. Watters, Hunter Hershberger and Devaun Gamble by one second.
The same Hornets group, altered only by Joel Berger replacing Mitchell, cruised to victory in the 4-by-100, defeating the identical 4-by-200 team from Claymont by 0.6 seconds.
The final boys race of the day featured another East Canton win, this one in the 4-by-400 relay, where Suntheimer, Kyeem Newell-Owens, Hemphill and Conrad ran a 3:31.20, defeating Tusky Valley’s group of Brock Haas, Brandon Steinbaugh, Tyler Stump and Justin Merrick’s effort of 3.33.21.
Conrad leaped to a title distance of 6-02 in the high jump to inch past runner-up Tyler King of Buckeye Trail’s 6-01. In the long jump, Indian Valley’s Caden Hostetler flew to a win at 19-06.5, moving past Claymont’s Xavier Grant and Mitchell, who both jumped 19-02.
Not surprisingly Claymont big-man Blake Linard dominated the shot put, winning the event with a heave of 51-05.5, while Ridgewood’s J.J. Durr’s fine throw of 49-04 won the discus by 5 feet over Linard. East Canton’s Cody Johnson was second in the shot at 49-09.75.
The pole vault was fraught with intensity, where Indian Valley’s Zack Love outlasted Newcomerstown’s talented Ryan Stevens and East Canton’s Joel Berger. Love flew over 15-00 while the other two bowed out at 14-06.
In the 3200, East Canton continued to roll, taking first and second, where Snellenberger ran a 9:54.86 to run away with the victory while teammate Capillo took second in 10:09.36, just edging out Garaway’s Julian Shrock’s time of 10:11.06.
Mitchell got a big challenge in the 200, where his winning time of 22.87 just got him past Hiland’s Brayden Gray, who ran a 23.19. It was an East Canton party at the finish line of the 800, where Hornets teammates Hemphill and Owens-Newell ran 2:01.69 and 2:03.9, respectively. Strasburg’s Jerrod Willoughby placed third in 2:06.8.
In the 300-meter hurdles, Berger kept the Hornets train rolling with a win in 40.18 while Love ran second in 41.57 and Gray took third in 42.15.
Conrad and Suntheimer went first and third in the 400, Conrad’s winning time of 49.73 easily besting Justin Merrick of Tusky Valley’s time of 51.69. Meanwhile in the 1600, Newell-Ownes and Shrock went to work on each other and ran together much of the way before Newell-Owens pulled away to win in 4:40.6, Shrock taking second in 4:47.02.
The 100 meter proved to be as exciting as the preview. Coming in, Claymont’s Gamble had an edge in the prelims by 0.03 seconds over Mitchell. That is exactly how it played out as both bested their finest time of the year, Gamble winning in 11.22 and Mitchell taking second in 11.25. Both runners came into the meet with identical season PRs of 11.30.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Berger bested the field in 14.86, knocking off runner-up Love of Indian Valley, who ran second in 15.02.
Hiland’s Declan Howell finished fifth in both the high jump, clearing 5-06, and the long jump, where he jumped 18-09. Garaway’s Austin Miller and Andrew West both placed sixth in the discus and high jump, respectively, while Miller finished eighth in the shot.