Every time the Smithville Smithies boys’ track team needed a big performance from their stars Saturday, May 13 during the Wayne County Athletic League track and field meet.
With key victories from a host of top-tier talents, plus some great efforts from athletes who provided plenty of secondary points, the Smithies had a great day in capturing the league title.
Smithville racked up 170 points to easily outdistance the field. In a battle for the runner-up trophy was actually much more interesting, as the Norwayne Bobcats eked past Chippewa 101-100.5 in a tight battle that wasn’t decided until the Bobcats beat Smithville in the day’s final event, the 4×400 relay. Northwestern (77), Dalton (69), Hillsdale (61.5), Waynedale (45) and Rittman (37) rounded out a balanced field.
While the battle for the runner-up spot was the thrill-ride for the day, much of the celebration was reserved for the Smithies, who produced eight winners and five runners-up on the day.
The big names were all over the win column for Smithville. Senior All-Ohioan Cole Smith did his thing in the hurdles, winning the 110-high hurdles with ease in 14.6 and then posting a victory in the 300-hurdles in 39.8 in a race that came down to the wire before Smith nipped Hillsdale’s Luke Kocab who ran a PR time of 40.0. Waynedale’s Derek Reber was third with a PR time of 42.2. Chippewa’s Lance Zierau was second in the 110-hurdles, finishing a distant second in 16.1.
Senior Joe Coudriet found victory lane in the 3200, running a 10:07.2 to barely fend off teammate Noah Riggenbach, who ran a PR 10:07.9. In the 1600, Smithville also went one-two, and this time it was Coudriet’s time of 4:34.9 placing second to teammate Justin McKeal’s 4:30.9.
Smithies junior Trent Shane ripped off a PR 49.9 in the 400 to fight off Waynedale senior Michael Murphy’s runner-up effort of 51.5. In the 800, Smithville junior Lucas Clark eased to the finish line in first place in 1:59.5, as once again Smithville took the top two spots when Clark’s teammate McKeal cruised home in second at 2:01.6. Third-place went to Chippewa’s Cameron Gerstenslager in 2:03.0.
Smithville also took home a win in the 4×200, where the team of Clark, Trent Kaufman, Casey Tipple and Shane ran a 1:31.6 to slip by runner-up Hillsdale’s time of 1:32.5.
Hillsdale’s team of Bryce Jones, Braxton Slagel, Kocab and Trace Stiltner finally got a win over the Smithies by turning in a 44.7 in the 4×100, a time that was just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Norwayne’s Colin Gerber, Bryce Hall, Elmer Zollinger and Traevon Alford.
The Smithies were all over the 4×800 relay, a race they were expectedto dominate and did. The quartet of McKeal, Jeremiah Butler, Riggnebach and Clark blazed to an 8:17.4, breaking their previous best on the year. That time was almost half-a lap in front of runner-up Chippewa’s runner-up time of 8:40.1.
With the meet’s second spot on the line as the teams lined up for the 4×400 relay, a race that is always one of the most exciting of the meet, Chippewa led Norwayne by a slim margin, but the Bobcats’ team of Zollinger, Brevin Harris, Own Sullivan and Alford had big plans to grab ahold of the silver. The Norwayne four came in with a qualifying time six seconds off the pace of Smithville’s Smith, Shane, Trent Kaufman and Clark, but the Bobcats reeled off a stunning PR of 3:26.9 compared to Smithville’s effort of 3:28.2, also a PR for the Smithies.
Those two extra points turned out to be crucial for the Bobcats, as did Chippewa placing fifth in 3:45.2, behind fourth-place Dalton’s time of 3:42.6. Had either of those positions for first and second or fourth and fifth been switched, the tables would have been turned, allowing Chippewa to gain second-place.
The one place the Smithies didn’t excel in was the sprints. Stiltner went all sub-11 in the 100, peeling off a beautiful 10.9 to nip Norwayne star Brevin Harris at the wire, Harris running an 11.1. Waynedale’s Murphy placed fourth in 11.4 in a terrifically fast race.
In the 200, Norwayne’s Harris found revenge, winning in a blistering 21.8, an amazing time that saw him best his PR by more than one second. Stiltner placed second in 22.4 and Brandon Reed of Northwestern was third in 22.5. Any of those times would normally win a meet, as the sprinters had a delicious day on the track.
Moving into the field events, Smithville didn’t get any wins but it did do plenty of solid placing. In the pole vault, Rittman’s Mikey McDermott flew to a winning height of 13-06, followed by Garrett Dever of Northwestern and Dalton’s Garret Gwin who cleared 12-06 and 12-00 respectively. Smithville’s Jace Watts was fourth at 11-06.
The high jump title went to Norwayne’s Elmer Zollinger who cleared 6-02, getting past Waynedale’s Jared Geiser and Dalton Joey Dalessandro, who both cleared 6-00. Cole Smith placed fourth with a 5-08 effort.
Brevin Harris continued his excellent day by winning the long jump with a great effort of 20-11, a three-inch improvement on runner-up Trent Shane of Smithville. Those two were at least one foot better than the rest of the field.
Chippewa’s two big boys laid claim to the shot pit. Travis Moore got the win with a toss of 52-05, while teammate Jared Gay was second with a throw of 49-01. The Smithies earned third and fourth when Brett Baughman went 45-08 and Dakota Tolley threw a 44-07.5.
The discus belonged to Dalton’s Brendan Good, who wasn’t just good but very good with a PR throw of 142-08, which was good enough to win. It took almost all of that because runner-up Dedric Isaac of Rittman had a throw of 140-00 and Smithville’s David Massaro threw it 137-07.