The first objective for any track and field athlete when they arrive in Columbus for the state meet is to get on the podium with a top-eight finish in an event.
Standing on the top spot obviously is the ultimate goal.
Buchtel track and field coach John Scott shares in this belief and realizes he has an entry — senior Romello Cook in both boys hurdles events — with a great opportunity this weekend in the Division II state meet.
Cook will enter Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium this weekend after a first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles and a fourth-place showing in the 300 hurdles at the Austintown Fitch regional.
Cook finished the 110 hurdles at Fitch in 14.55 seconds. Scott said his personal best is 14.28.
“I am real happy for Romello,” Scott said. “Romello has come a long way. He is a such a nice young man. He comes to practice and works hard every day. He is everything a coach would want in a young man. He has worked very hard in the hurdles and this year he has really blossomed.”
Cook is the lone Griffins boy making the trip. Eight Buchtel girls are scheduled to run and a ninth — freshman Simone Green — might be available.
“We’re not sure about Simone yet,” Scott said. “She was at school last Friday and she just did not feel very well. I don’t know if she necessarily passed out, but one thing they said is that she was dehydrated. Then they ran some tests on her and she visited a doctor.”
Scott said Green returned to practice and ran Tuesday. She was scheduled to compete on Buchtel’s 400 relay team.
Senior Unity Sykes filled in for Green and joined sophomore Kapre Curley, junior Ashaunte’ Dent and senior Arnita Johnson to qualify for the state meet in the 400 relay.
Senior Tykeshia Thompson also advanced to state in the 400 and will join sophomore Emani Griffin, senior Jasmine Lofton and senior Rachel Whittaker in the 3,200 relay.
“I am real happy for the girls,” Scott said. “Unfortunately because Simone couldn’t run, it kind of hampered us in the [800 relay] and [1,600 relay]. Unity stepped in and helped us qualify the [400 relay]. These girls got to qualify for state and I am thrilled for them.
“I am especially happy for the senior girls. They have worked very hard and a majority of them have been competing in four events. I think this a great way for them to finish their senior year by going to Columbus for the state meet.”
Brunson signs with Clarion
East senior boys basketball player Davonte Brunson signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic careers at Clarion University, a Division II school in Pennsylvania.
Brunson, a 5-foot-10 guard, led East to a 23-2 record this past season by averaging 24 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game. The 23 wins are the most in school history and the Dragons won their third district championship in the past four years under coach Ross Fiorello.
“We are absolutely thrilled to add Davonte to our program,” Clarion assistant coach Al Modrzejewski said in a statement. “He is an athletic, versatile combo guard who can really score, and fits perfectly in the profile of the guards we’ve had here in past years.
“He’s been well-coached at a high-profile high school program, and that should help speed his adjustment to the college game.”
Brunson finished his high school career as East’s all-time leading scorer, and is also the school’s all-time leader in several other statistical categories. Brunson was a Division II All-Ohio second-team selection and named Co-City Series Player of the Year with Kenmore senior Antonio Hearn.
Keeslar going to Mount Union
Green senior Evan Keeslar committed to continue his academic and basketball careers at the University of Mount Union.
Keeslar, a 6-foot-2 and 180-pound guard, was a Division I All-Ohio honorable mention and All-Suburban League first-team selection for coach Mark Kinsley. Keeslar averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this past season for the Bulldogs.
Westphal picks Mount Union
Woodridge senior Colin Westphal is headed to University of Mount Union to continue his academic and golf careers.
Westphal was an all-district honorable mention, All-Portage Trail Conference first-team and scholar-athlete selection for coach Dave Krusinski.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.