Every dual meet and every weekend invitational are times when Garaway head coach Zach Mottice said his team can get out and compete to win and set PRs in their respective track and field events.
However, for Mottice all of those events that take place throughout the season boil down to moments when his athletes can improve themselves in preparation for the ultimate grand finale, the district, regional and hopefully state meets.
They got a chance to hone their skills in a tough field when the Pirates took on a host of talented individuals from all over Tuscarawas County at the Tuscarawas County Classic held at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia on Monday, April 29.
No team scores were kept on the night, so it was every man or woman for themselves as Garaway competed and put up some strong efforts throughout the evening.
Not surprisingly Carly Jacobs starred for Garaway as the two-time All-Ohioan roared to victory in the 300-meter and placed second in the 100-meter hurdle events, where New Philadelphia’s Josie Pry inched past her at the wire. Jacobs’ time in the 300 hurdles was a new Tuscarawas County meet record.
Ashton Gerber placed sixth in the 100 meters, and Page Gerber finished eighth in the 200 meters
The relay team of Lizzie Mullet, Sara Beachy, Ashton Gerber and Page Gerber finished sixth in the 4-by-100 relay; the quartet of Jacobs, Beachy, Regula and Ashton Gerber came in with a fourth-place finish in the 4-by-200 relay; and the team of Regula, Jacobs, Ashton Gerber and Hailey Troyer worked their way into a third-place finish in the 4-by-400 relay. The foursome of Lauren Goehring, Werker, Helena Immel and Troyer ended up sixth in the 4-by-800 relay.
Sara Beachy tied for seventh in the high jump by clearing 4 feet, 8 inches; Olivia Young tied for eighth in the pole vault; and Mykala Sitzler took third in the shot with a throw of 33 feet, 3 inches.
Over on the guys’ side, Brendan Chapman finished fourth in the 400 meters in 54.09, and Kristian Stocksdale finished fifth and Parker Graf finished seventh in the 800 meters. In the 1600 meters Julian Shrock finished third in 4:41.97, just getting nipped for second at the wire, while teammate Noah Wentworth finished sixth in 4:51.49. Quentin Schwartz finished fifth in the 3200 meters in a time of 10:49.10.
Over in the relays, the team of Weaver, Angel, Ethan Miller and West finished fifth in the 4-by-100 relay; the quartet of West, Chapman, Angel and Ethan Miller ran to fourth in the 4-by-200 relay; the foursome of Ethan Miller, West, Angel and Chapman took fourth in the 4-by-400 relay; and the team of Shrock, West, Wentworth and Stocksdale fared well, earning a second-place finish in the 4-by-800 relay in 8:29.86, the only team that was anywhere near challenging Dover’s winning time of 8:23.94.
Matthew Beachy tied for seventh in the high jump, Lonnie Weaver matched that finishing seventh in the long jump, Austin Miller claimed fourth in the shot, and in the discus Mason Steiner finished fifth and Austin Miller placed eighth.
Mottice said he feels very comfortable where his youthful team is right now as they gear up for what they hope will be a successful run through districts and regionals.
“This has been a very fun and coachable group,” Mottice said. “We have trained hard, and we are still trying to run ourselves into the kind of shape we want to be in for some of the races.”
Garaway has just seven seniors dotting the 63-player squad, so there is a solid nucleus of talent that is still visiting the learning curve.
In addition Mottice said they have a strong junior high program with plenty of possible impact talent coming up to resupply the pipeline of talent.
Mottice said he has a number of kids who are multi-sport athletes, and he believes that makes them more well-rounded athletes who can help carry on the success of the Pirates track and field program.
“I love it when kids are in other sports, and I have always encouraged that,” Mottice said. “I think that benefits them in the long run, and we have a lot of kids like that who have helped us stay headed in the right direction. Some of our younger kids like Lonnie Weaver and Brendan Chapman have looked really good and have a lot of room to grow, and our eighth-grade group is super-talented and has won at every level, so I think they can come in and compete immediately. But right now, as we get closer to districts, I really like where we are because we have run a very competitive season.”