Points scarce, but Lake striving ‘to do great things’

J. Patrick Eaken

Behind 10 returning lettermen, the Lake boys track team is looking to get as many athletes to place as possible.
        They aren’t looking to win a league championship, or even take any invitational championships, but the Flyers are taking their effort to the limit, says fifth-year coach Jason Schober. Last year’s team finished seventh at the Northern Buckeye Conference meet, and nothing would be better than to improve on that.
        “So far it seems everyone is buying in and improving from when we first started,” Schober said. This is one of the most coachable groups of guys we have had, which has made it very enjoyable to coach so far. I’m very excited to see that translate to more success on the track.
        “The goal is always to be towards the top,” Schober continued. “I think showing improvement from last season is our main goal. Eastwood has been so good for so long and their numbers a very good again. Overall it’s a very talented league.
        “I think our distance and field events have an opportunity to be very good.  They both have mix of returning experience and success and some new athletes that have a drive to do great things. I don’t want to say our sprinters are a weakness. They are just very young and inexperienced. Hopefully they can turn that into a strength but as of now it’s just unknown.”
        Returning athletes include seniors Timmy Walker, Aaron McKee, Christian Huntermark, junior Nick Perry and sophomores Thomas Urbina and Keaton Heckman. McKee received honorable mention honors in the Northern Buckeye Conference last year.
        “McKee did a great job at high jump last season and we think he can do great things there this year,” Schober said.
        McKee won the high jump at the Downey Memorial, leaping five feet, 10 inches, the same as second place Otsego jumper Garrett Hoepft, but McKee took the championship on a tiebreaker.
        McKee jumped 5-10 to tie with Eastwood freshman Emmet Getz at the nine-team Oak Harbor Invitational, but the Flyers placed last as a team scoring 20 points. At the 16-team 56th Annual Lakota Invitational, the Flyers were 15th with 11 points.
        At Clyde’s eight-team A.W. Hendricks Invitational the Flyers scored 25 points to finish sixth out of eight. At the 15-team Gibsonburg Invite, Lake was 13th with 15 points. The competitors are there, but the points are not because of an inexperienced team.
        Lake’s best team performance was at Otsego’s Tim Downey Memorial Invitational, scoring 43 points to finish fifth out of eight teams.
        Huntermark and Perry are proving to be Lake’s top sprinters, although Huntermark has proven that he can run any distance.
        “Huntermark has been awesome so far,” said Schober. “I’m not sure if he is a sprinter yet or not because he has timed in the top two on our team in every event we have tried him in so far, so he is very versatile. Nick Perry has shown a lot of promise with his work effort.”
        Lake has at least three distance runners who make the grade.
        “Timmy Walker is our senior that is willing to do anything,” Schober said. “Not only is he extremely talented, he works very hard as well. Our two sophomores, Urbina and Heckman, showed a lot of promise last year, so we are excited to see if they can take the next step.”
        In the Downey Memorial, Heckman was third in the 800 (2:18.54) and third in the 1600 (5:01.08).
        A combination of sprinters and distance runners are filling in the gaps for Lake’s relay teams.
        “I think the 4x8 can be really good,” Schober said. “We have a lot of people we think can help us there — Walker, Urbina, Heckman, Huntermark, Aidan Lighty, and Devin Bobak to name a few. I think the other relays can show improvement, we are just very young and inexperienced there.”
        At the Hendricks Invitational, the 4x800 relay team of Heckman, Bobak, Lighty and Walker finished third in a time of 9:00.26, less than five seconds behind the championship team from Genoa (seniors Bobby Bench and Sean Hoeft and sophomores Derek Rightnowar and Conner Lagrange, 8:55.85).
        The 4x800 team of Heckman, Lighty, Huntermark and Walker finished second at the Downey Invitational (9:20.63).
        Joe Muetze is Lake’s top thrower, even though he has just taken over the role. He was third at the Downey Memorial in the shot put with a toss of 42-11½.
        “Muetze is new to throwing but has been a pleasant surprise so far,” Schober said.
        Schober is pleased to see his numbers grow and the program build from where he started five years ago. He had to recruit some guys out of the hallways to make that happen.
        “We have a lot of guys, in all grades, that decided to give track a shot this year that we are very happy to see out,” Schober said. “Bobak, Mark Garcia, Dustin Guy, Zack Hornyak, Huntermark, Zack Lombardo and Muetze — just to name a few. Have all been awesome additions.
        “We have had a great group of kids over the years and a great coaching staff each season. Built long lasting relationships with both.”
        Prior to this year under Schober’s tutelage, Lake boys have gone 10-15 in dual and tri-meets and won two team trophies at invitationals. Last year, the Flyers were 2-3 at dual/tri meets, 13th out of 17 at the Lakota Invitational, 11th out of 14 at the Gibsonburg Invitational, sixth out eight at the Otsego Invite and ninth out of 11 at the Oak Harbor Invite.
        Schober came to Lake after starting his track coaching career at Woodmore as an assistant. He was there four years and was an assistant at Lake three years before becoming head coach. He also coached football for 18 years as an assistant, including four years at Woodmore, one at Cardinal Stritch and 13 at Lake.



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