The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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The 2009 track season didn't end the way Cody Seifert and Nick Twining envisioned.

Seifert, then a junior at Eastwood, qualified to the Division II state meet in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100 relay. He pulled his hamstring in the 100 preliminary race, and the Eagles went on to capture the state title without him.

Twining, now a junior at Eastwood, suffered a stress fracture in his foot after last year's district meet, so his doctor told him to shut it down to avoid further damage.

“I was disappointed,” recalled Twining, an 800-meter specialist. “I had the same chance as this year, going to state. I was really upset watching my teammates participate last year and end up winning, and I didn't have anything to do with it. It was frustrating.”

Seifert and Twining had a lot to do with coach Gary White's Eagles repeating as Division II champs June 4-5 at the state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

While senior Justin Welch earned 20 team points by winning the shot put and discus titles, Seifert garnered 14 points by placing second in the 100 and third in the 200. Twining's fifth-place 800 finish earned four points, giving Eastwood 38 points in the team total. Runner-up Peninsula Woodridge finished six points back.

“Those kinds of points are the ones people don't see, and that helped us get the winning edge,” White said. “That was a very good, very gutty performance by Nick. That was his first time down there and I think he had a lot to prove. He wants to be known as one of the best 800 runners Eastwood's ever had.”

“I got to help win this time, so it means a lot,” Twining said. “Going into it, after the first day we thought we had a chance. Three of us winning all those points, we did what we had to do to win.”

Twining knew he had to better his regional time (1:55.7) in order to get on the awards stand (top eight) in Columbus. He ended up setting a personal record with a time of 1:55.03.

“It was kind of like at regionals,” Twining said. “I knew going in that the people in my region who finished in the top three would be in the top three at state. I knew if I went with them, I would have a good shot of finishing high. I knew a guy from a different region (800 state champ Sean Jones of Gnadenhutten Indian Valley) would be up there. He was the one I didn't know about. He took second last year, so I figured he would place high this year.”

Twining said his state medal currently hangs on his car's rearview mirror. He plans to add another one next year.

“Now I know I have a shot of placing top three or better,” Twining said. “I'm hoping to do that next year. It's going to take a lot of training over the summer and indoors during the winter.”

Seifert, who will run sprints for Kent State next year, finished second in the 100 (11.06) and third (22.25) in the 200 last weekend. He said he felt somewhat vindicated helping the Eagles win the state title this season after what happened a year ago.

“It was a good feeling to make the finals in both (races) and place pretty high this year,” Seifert said.

Seifert said he thought he could win the title in the 100, but he slipped about four steps into the race. Nate Harris, a sophomore from Akron Buchtel, beat him by six one-hundredths of a second.

“I knew that (slip) would cost me at the end of the race,” Seifert said. “If I didn't slip, I think I would have won. It was that close. I thought I was going to win that race for sure.”

Going into the 200, Seifert knew that all he had to do was finish the race and Eastwood would be assured the team title.

“He just busted out of the blocks,” White said. “He put his heart and soul into it and that put us over the top. Nobody could catch us after that. We knew by the 200 it was over.”

Seifert was in first place at the 150-meter mark but couldn't hold off Harris, who won in 21.93, and senior Justin Thomas of Cleveland Benedictine (22.19). Seifert took second to Harris at the regional meet.

“I thought I would get second going into state,” Seifert said. “I didn't know about the Thomas kid yet. Harris has a really good finish, but I thought if I got out quick enough I could hold on. I had a great start. I was happy that we had enough points to win state as a team.”

In the Division II girls meet, Eastwood junior Whitney Hoodlebrink placed 11th in the long jump (15-11.5) and sophomore teammate Jena Jacoby was 16th in the discus (105-9).

Genoa senior Jon Lester was unable to make the finals in the Division II boys high jump, while Clay junior Noah Buehrer took 14th in his Division I 300 hurdles qualifying heat.

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