The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Eastwood boys’ track and field coach Gary White doesn't think it's impossible for

                            Gary White

his Eagles to repeat as Division II state champions at Friday and Saturday's state meet at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.

The chance of that happening again, however, are “slim,” White said, simply because of the amount of talent Dayton Dunbar will showcase this weekend.

“Dunbar is just too good,” White said. “They're pretty good in a lot of events. They have a nice, deep team that's got a lot going on for them. We'll just do the best we can.”

The Eagles qualified three boys in five events, while Eastwood's girls’ squad will send two competitors to Columbus.

Woodmore will be represented in the Division III boys and girls state meet, while Genoa and Clay each qualified one boy.

Eastwood senior Cody Seifert, who is participating in his third state meet, qualifed in the 100 and 200 dash. Seifert, a state placer in the 100 dash and 4x100 relay in 2008, qualified last year but pulled a hamstring during a preliminary race and was forced to miss the rest of the meet.

Seifert, who will run at Kent State next season, has been nursing a hamstring injury for several weeks yet still managed to place in the top four at last week's Lexington regional. Seifert ran 11.11 in the 100 and 22.58 in the 200 to advance.

“He's going to do very good,” White said. “He hasn't let himself run full-go yet since he tweaked his hamstring the week before our league meet. On Friday he'll run to be in the top four in his heat, and Saturday he'll get after it. He's confident. He's been running real smart; he hasn't really run a race at full speed yet.”

Eastwood junior Nick Twining, a first-time state qualifier, will run the 800 after turning in a qualifying time of 1:55.64. His regional time was the second-fastest 800 ever run by an Eastwood runner.

Jimmy O'Brien, who won the 800 state title in 2005, owns the school record of 1:52.74, which is .01 off the state meet record set in 1999.

“Nick ran a really nice race at regionals,” White said. “Five of the top six times in the state were at that region. He knew darned well he had to beat somebody, and he ran a good time to do it. He knows he needs to run a bit quicker, and he's been training harder this week to make it happen.”

Eagles senior Justin Welch returns to defend his state discus title, and he also returns in the shot put after placing third last season.

Welch, who will throw at the University of Georgia next year, won the regional discus title with a toss of 195-5, tying the meet record. The only state competitor this year who is close to Welch's regional throw is Sandusky Perkins senior Matthew Hoty (188-11).

Last spring, Welch set the Jesse Owens Stadium record with a throw of 196-1 en route to the title.

“He would not be happy if he didn't throw 210 area this weekend,” White said. “He wants to break the state record real bad. He's going to give it his best shot. He thinks that's what he can throw. I've seen him do it in practice.”

In the shot, Welch's regional throw of 55-6.75 is the fifth-best of all the state qualifiers. Hoty is a heavy favorite to repeat in that event.

“Justin would be disappointed if he didn't push Hoty for the title,” White said. “Justin's thrown 63-3 this year, so he'll have to throw his best.”

In the Division II girls meet, Eastwood will be represented by first-time state qualifiers Jena Jacoby in the discus and Whitney Hoodlebrink in the long jump. They are the first Eastwood girls to advance to the state meet since 2006, when Danielle Thornton took third in the 800.

Jacoby, a sophomore, threw 123-8 to earn first place at the Lexington regional. Her previous personal best was 112-6.

“She's been throwing in the 120s the last couple weeks, they've just been fouls,” Eastwood girls coach Nikki Sabo said. “She was able to straighten that out. She has a really good chance to make the finals. Her goal is to get on that podium, and I think she has a really good shot of that.”

Hoodlebrink, a junior, qualified with a jump of 16-6. She went over 16-8 at the district meet.

“She's been doing three technical events all year, with the 300 hurdles, long jump and high jump,” Sabo said. “Now she's been able to focus on the long jump and she knows she'll have to jump a PR to get in the finals. She wants to hit 17 feet, and I think it's in her.”

In the Division II boys meet, Genoa senior Jon Lester qualified in the high jump with a leap of 6-4 at Lexington. Five other state qualifiers jumped 6-4 or better at their regional meets.

Clay's Noah Buehrer will compete in the 300 hurdles in Division I. The junior qualified in 38.91, which is the 13th-best qualifying time.

In Division III, Woodmore's boys 4x400 and 4x800 relays advanced to Columbus along with senior Brock Avers in the 800.

The relay teams consist of junior Grant Weirich and seniors DeVaughnte Askew, Avers and Justin Garver. They have the 10th-best qualifying time (8:06.88) in the 4x800 and the 12th-fastest qualifying time (3:25.23) in the 4x400. Avers has the eighth-best qualifying time (1:58.38) in the 800.

Woodmore junior Carly Pendleton will compete in the discus after throwing 146-11 at regionals.


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