The Archbishop Hoban boys and girls track teams battled the cold and a driving rain to take home both titles at a rain-shortened Michael Beaven Invitational at Hoban High School on Saturday.
About half of the meet’s 20-event schedule was completed before the rest was washed out due to the heavy rains. The Hoban boys’ strong finishes in nearly every race and 73 team points were enough to beat Buchtel’s 64. The Hoban girls finished with multiple winners and 59 team points, just enough to edge out Ellet and Buchtel, which ended with 58 and 55 team points, respectively.
Hoban girls coach Joe Lutz said he sees bad weather as an opportunity for many student athletes who might otherwise be overmatched. Lutz teaches that it can be a positive, which is something he said he learned from Michael Beaven, the namesake of the meet who coached track at Hoban and Firestone before passing away in 2005.
“If your head is right, weather like this, you can beat somebody who’s better than you,” Lutz said. “We always preach that. It’s an equalizer. Some kids don’t buy it when they’re standing there shivering, though. But bad weather is our friend.”
Hoban’s Anne Kramer won the 400-meter dash, which turned out to be the last event of the day, with a time of 1:01.93. Speshal Simmons, who Lutz said “answered the bell” on Saturday, took second in the 100-meter dash (12.49 seconds) behind Buchtel’s Simone Green (12.30). Simmons was also a member of the 400-meter relay team that won with a time of 52.31 seconds. Kramer was also on the 800-meter relay (1:53.04) that took second place. On the field side, Hallie Sinko led Hoban with a second-place finish in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and a third-place finish in the long jump (15 feet, ¼ inch).
Lutz added that had the meet ran as intended, he thinks Buchtel would have come out on top.
On the boys side, Hoban didn’t win any single event but finished well enough in others to pull out the victory.
Joe Brennan ran the 1,600 in five minutes flat to take second and also took second in the 3,200 with a time of 10:37. Todd Sibley finished in second place behind Buchtel’s Deric Rucker in the 100 at 11.37 seconds. And David Van Note’s 16.11 seconds in the 110 hurdles was enough for second place. The Knights also had top-four finishes in all there relay events. Anthony Simonetti then took second in the long jump with a final mark of 19 feet, 10 inches.
Saturday’s meet embodied what Hoban boys coach Tom O’Neil often teaches: every member of the team playing a part, even if first-place finishes aren’t coming.
“We preach it to the kids all the time. On the handout for this meet, I have in bold letters ‘Every Point Counts,’ ” O’Neil said. “Track is a unique sport. It’s an individual sport in a lot of ways but we preach it as a team sport. Every kid has to pull their weight.”
The best individual performance of the day belonged to Firestone junior Kamar Majid, who won all three events he entered and might have won a fourth had it not been one of the events rained out.
Majid first won the high jump, his most experienced event, with a final mark of 6 feet, 2 inches. He then won the long jump with a jump of 20-3¼. Finally, he took first in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.93 seconds.
“I’m extremely happy. It’s never happened before,” Majid said. “It’s a moment I can’t get over. It gives me a good outlook toward the end of the season, just trying to make it deeper into the season, beyond districts and into regionals and hopefully state.”
Majid, who said he played basketball this winter to stay in shape, went to Columbus last year in the high jump. But winning the long jump was a surprise, even to him.
“Actually when I got up and was told I jumped that far, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I had to look back like, ‘Are you sure?’ ”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.