NORTH CANTON: GlenOak’s assistant track and field coaches immediately knew something wasn’t right.
And when the scoring was recalculated, the Golden Eagles and Perry Panthers were declared girls co-champions Friday at the North Canton Division I district meet.
“This coaching staff is unbelievable the way they prepare the kids and the way they follow the entire sport,” GlenOak coach Scott Ferrell said. “They’re just not in it for one event. They are in it for 17 events. I just represented us up there as they recounted.”
Fortunately, the result was a 98-98 tie and both teams left North Canton happy.
In the meantime, GlenOak dethroned Canton McKinley on the boys side, outscoring the runner-up Bulldogs 81-71. Jackson also tied for second.
“We’re very happy with the performances that we had and the amount of kids that we have moving on [to the regional],” said Ferrell. “Our depth is what is making us successful, and it showed again at this meet.”
The Golden Eagles had four combined champions, including the girls 400-meter relay, senior Jhni Fleming in the 100 hurdles (14.96 seconds), junior Josh Busken in the 1,600 (4:31.68) and Jason Boykins in discus (151 feet, 3 inches).
Perry girls coach J.P. Sexton was just as upbeat after learning his team would share the title.
“Our girls are tremendous,” he said. “They ran their tails off and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Sexton cited junior sprint star Hannah Luke and seniors Mikayla Dearing and Jackie Genetin for leading the way with strong performances.
Luke, a 5-foot-2 stick of dynamite, won the 100 (12.06) and 200 (24.92) dashes, and anchored team victories in the 800 and 1,600 relays.
“I’m my father’s daughter that’s for sure,” Luke said. “I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season to see what I can do, and what the rest of the team can do.”
The blustery cold evening did not slow Luke.
“She still ran amazingly well,” Sexton said. “Her times were right on par with what she’s been building to at this point of the year.”
Green made a strong showing in the middle distance events when junior Emily Hooker won the 400 (58.25), freshman James Angel held off Massillon senior and Ohio State-bound Gareon Conley to win the boys 400 (51.20) and senior Erika Rector won the 800 (2:16.57).
The Bulldogs also won the boys 1,600 relay (3:27.88), with Angel able to outlast runner-up Archbishop Hoban and the Knights’ anchor leg Oshar Latson. The Green girls were second in the 1,600 relay.
Defending state champion, senior Morgan Estes of Green, easily won girls pole vault (11-6) as expected.
Canton McKinley’s boys were able to win the 800 relay (1:31.33) as anchor Jeff Richardson edged Wooster senior James Preston.
“My shoestring came loose,” Preston said. “I thought my shoe was going to fly off.”
McKinley was not so fortunate in the 400 relay when a poor handoff landed the Bulldogs in fifth place, one spot short of a regional berth. Richardson did avenge the miscue with a victory in the 200 (22.01).
Garfield senior Troy Robinson was second to Richardson in both the 100 and 200, but will advance.
Another busy McKinley athlete was junior Korrin Taylor. With a prelim long jump of 18-7½, Taylor seemed poised to challenge the district meet record, but elected to conserve energy for the 800 relay and the 300 hurdles by taking just one jump in the finals and still managed to win easily.
The decision paid off with a personal record split in the 800 relay when McKinley placed second and a personal record time of 45.90 in winning the hurdles. In the first event on the track, Taylor was leading the 100 hurdles and clipped the last barrier, only to be passed by GlenOak’s Fleming.
“I was so mad,” Taylor admitted. “I took anger and just went out and ran my fastest time in the [800 relay] and then ran my fastest time in the 300 hurdles, too.”
Hoover senior Ashley Hinderer, originally an 800 runner, ran the 1,600 for the first time at the Federal League championship meet last week and came back to win the district meet (5:20.76).
“I was just hoping to qualify for regionals,” she said. “I’m so glad I switched.”
Jackson junior Grace Taylor won the 3,200 (11:30.54) when she passed second-place finisher Hannah Thompson of GlenOak with about 250 meters left. Lake sophomore Jacob Kernell won the boys 3,200 (9:33.03).
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.