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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Last season turned out to be a pretty good year for Eastwood's boys’ track and field team.

The Eagles didn't lose a dual meet, they won every invitational and then went on to take Suburban Lakes League, district, and regional championships.

To top it off, Coach Gary White's squad captured the Division II state championship at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The Eagles scored 47 points to beat runner-up Cortland Lakeview by nine points.

Several key scorers from that Eastwood team have graduated, but the Eagles have plenty of talent returning.

“They're good,” said White, who led Eastwood to state runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2008. “We've got a lot of new faces and they're really working hard. They're going to do a good job. We knew we had a lot of outstanding talent right from the start last year. This year, we're working on them peaking at the end of the season.”

Eastwood is off to a strong start this spring. The Eagles defeated Clay and Tiffin Columbian in a tri-meet, and last Thursday they won the eight-team Liberty-Benton Relays.

“We have a lot of new faces,” White said, “but we're off to a real nice start.”

The Eagles won last year's state title with a strong showing in the field events. Justin Welch, now a senior, took third in the shot put with a throw of more than 59 feet, and he won the discus with a throw of 196-1, setting a Jesse Owens Stadium record.

Crosby Schemenauer (pole vault) and Josh Hoodlebrink (long jump), who have graduated, took first and second, respectively, in their events. Hoodlebrink also ran on the Eagles' 4x100 and 4x400 relays that placed in the top five in Columbus, while Schemenauer placed fifth in the 110 hurdles.

“Justin is back, so shot and discus are going to be a strength,” White said. “We have some young vaulters and (sophomore) Kyle Schlumblohm has already gone 14 feet outdoors. Matt Pickerel, a senior, has gone 6-4 in the high jump.”

Sophomore pole vaulter Kyle Dieker vaulted 13-6 at Liberty-Benton, while Welch threw the discus 199-11 at the same meet to break his own school record. Welch also threw the shot 62 feet at the L-B invite. White is also encouraged by a strong early showing by freshman Derek Snowden, who already has gone 19-7 in the long jump.

The Eagles have several capable runners, led by senior Cody Seifert.

Seifert, who will compete at Kent State next season, qualified for last year's state meet in the 100 dash but suffered a pulled hamstring in the semifinals and never finished the race. Seifert is the fastest sprinter in the SLL.

“Cody is looking strong in the 100 and 200, and we're trying to decide which relays we want to attack, the 4x100 or 4x200,” White said. “We always want a strong 4x400. We'll definitely try to get a 4x400 down there (to state).”

Two of the Eagles' stronger relay runners are junior Taylor Depew and sophomore Zach Conkle.

“Zach stepped right into that role quite nicely in the 4x100 and 4x200, and he's also running the 4x400,” White said. “He's been a versatile performer. We're pleased with his progress, and he's only a sophomore.”

Junior Nick Twining, an 800-meter specialist, ran a time of 1:58.5 during the indoor season.

“By season's end, he'll have a possibility of getting down there (Columbus) in the open 800,” White said. “We'll see who else we can bring along. If Cody stays healthy, he's going to be a real force in the sprints. Between Cody and Justin Welch, we've got four events at the state meet that should score well – the shot, the discus, the 100 and 200.

“If we have some people who could complement them, we'll see.”

Eastwood will compete at the Whitmer Gold “W” Relays on Saturday. The Eagles are the defending champions in Division II-III.

 

 

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