Lake’s girls 4x100-meter relay team was…this...close to qualifying for the state track and field meet last season, but they missed an exchange of the baton during the regional finals and their hopes were dashed.
“They were coming in in second place on the exchange,” said first-year Lake boys and girls head coach Zeb George, who was a Lake assistant the past three years. “It was tough, because we had a good group of girls. Three of the girls are back, and they want it, to say the least.”
Those three - Becca Boos, Ashley Timmons and Nicole Pennington – are back on the 4x100 relay this season, along with newcomer Jordyn Taylor. Those four highlight what George said is a team that should contend for the Northern Buckeye Conference title.
No Lake team, boys or girls, has ever won a league or conference track and field championship. The Flyers’ boys took second at last year’s NBC meet but are in rebuilding mode in 2013, according to George.
“The girls definitely have a legitimate shot this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a close league meet for sure. We have great runners this year; we have decent depth in the sprints. I want to bring home a league title that’s never happened here in track. We have the team to do it, we just have to stay healthy and hope the points fall for us.”
The Flyers had a tri-meet with Eastwood and Otsego on Tuesday, and the girls’ squad beat the Knights and came up five points shy of knocking off the Eagles.
George said the results would have been different against Eastwood had the Flyers had freshman thrower Lauren Ozuk, who is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury playing AAU basketball last Sunday. Lake won nine of 16 events against Eastwood.
“We didn’t score any points in the shot or discus,’ George said. “With (Ozuk) in it, we would have won the meet. She’s already two feet from the school record right now in the shot and discus. We haven’t scored points in the shot and discus much in the past three years. I just want Lauren back for the league meet. If we have her, we have a legitimate shot to win the league.”
Lake’s other top girls include senior Becca Boos in the 100 and 200, senior Ashley Timmons in the long jump and high jump, and the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays that include sophomore Shelby Zemenski and freshman Briana Trumbull.
“It’s exciting that they’re running these times, being so young,” George said. “Ashley has missed states back-to-back years in the long jump and high jump. She is another one of those well-rounded athletes that you just hope can get out. She missed states by an inch in the long jump two years ago. Every year she’s sniffing at it and it seems one girl gets the best of her.
“Out of all the girls on the team, Boos and Timmons are contenders to get to state.”
Lake’s boys team graduated three of its top sprinters and hurdlers, along with Nathan Adkins in the 4x400 and distance events.
“We weren’t too deep last year,” George said, adding that junior Tyler Rickman is looking good in the 1600 and 3200.
Zach Schroeder, a regional finalist in the 200 last season, is recovering from a hamstring injury, while fellow senior Mitchell Adkins is improving each week in the shot and discus.
“He threw 47-10 in the shot and a 141-something in the discus,” George said. “He had a neck injury before the season last year, so we didn’t see the progress that we hoped. Our new throwing coach (Kevin Mermin) has been kicking butt with him and he’s been going out of his mind the last couple meets. If he progresses the way he has been, he has a legitimate shot to make it far this year.”
Some of the Flyers’ other top scorers are seniors Ben Swartz, Mark Greenlefe, Chris Salaz and Jacob Hankish, and juniors Scott Brittenham and Storm Lutz.
“Ben is one of those kids if there was a decathlon, he would win everything,” George said. “He’s not great at one thing, but he’s good at a lot of things. He helps in the relays and is a long-jumper. Scott Brittenham is a good miler and 800 runner. I think he could also excel in the 400. Greenlefe and Salaz came out for track this year, and that has added depth.”
Lutz competes on the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams and throwing events, along with Hankish.
“Storm is an above average thrower,” George said, “and he has helped us out in the sprints. Jacob just hit 40 (feet) in the shot for the first time. He was practicing the discus and threw 120 (Wednesday). He was at 105 before. He’s one of those kids to look out for, but he’s a senior so he’s only got this season to do it.”
Lake high jumper Kayleigh Schroeder. (Photo courtesy of Innovations Portrait Studio/innovationsvisualimpact.com)
Lake sprinters Ben Swartz and Chris Salaz on the handoff during a relay race. (Photo courtesy of Innovations Portrait Studio/innovationsvisualimpact.com)
Lake shot putter Abby Duncan. (Photo courtesy of Innovations Portrait Studio/ innovationsvisualimpact.com)