Wildcats hoping to finish strong in final NBC season

Yaneek Smith

Press Contributing Writer

Woodmore made some noise in the postseason last year.
Is the Wildcats track team up for an encore?
If Woodmore’s performance thus far is any indication, this could be one of its best teams.
The Wildcats have won three invitationals — Lakota Invite, Gibsonburg Invite and the Oak Harbor Invite — finished second twice and third in another. Jim McMahon’s crew, led by Azure Travis, Rahzia Rios, Emma Hammer, Jordan Beam and Olivia Vogelpohl, is in the midst of greatness.
McMahon talked about what his athletes bring to the table.
“It’s a great group of girls, first of all – good people, good athletes. That group has competed together in multiple sports for years; some of them play basketball, cross country and soccer together. They’ve been competing in various sports for many years,” said McMahon. “They have that chemistry and competitive spirit; they push each other and hold each other accountable. Those girls, being a core, set the standard for the freshmen.
“We’ve had a good run so far this season. I’m feeling pretty good about where we are. There are a couple of things that we want to improve on, but there are a lot of good things that are happening. We knew this would be a pretty good season because we had a lot of letter winners returning all around in sprints, hurdles and distance. We’re pretty happy that we’ve been able to score points, set (personal records), get trophies and we’re trying to keep everybody healthy,” he said.
Last week, Woodmore won the Oak Harbor Invite, outlasting Eastwood, its chief competitor.
Travis was absolutely brilliant, winning three events — the 200-meter dash (26.00 seconds); the 100 hurdles (15.21); and the 300 hurdles (46.18) — and taking second in another, the 100 (12.70). Vogelpohl was just as impressive, winning two individual events — the 800 (2:23.84) and the 1600 (5:20.43) — and finishing first in two relays — the 4x400 (Rios, Vogelpohl, Ariana Florio and Emma Hammer) and the 4x800 (Vogelpohl, Beam, Caydie Buchanan and Emma Hammer.
The Wildcats took second in the Port Clinton Invite.
Like she did in the previous invite, Travis won three events — the 100 (12.76); the 100 hurdles (15.38); and the 300 hurdles (47.74) — and finished second in the 200 (26.08). Rios won the 400 (1:00.64), finished fifth in the 200 (27.11), was part of two relay teams, one that finished first — the 4x400 quartet that was first in 4:21.20 (Florio, Rios, Hammer, Vogelpohl) and fourth in the 4x200 relay (Hammer, Florio, Rios, Lilian Runion).
Emma Hammer won the 800 (2:24.42), Vogelpohl was second (2:26.38), Beam took third in the 1600 (5:50.57) and fourth in the 3200 (12:37.04), Addison Overmyer was fourth in the pole vault (9 feet, 0.00 inches), Florio was fifth in the 100 (13.22) and Runion placed fifth in the long jump (14-10.00). The 4x800 relay (Madi Hammer, Beam, Vogelpohl, Buchanan) was second in 10:00.18 and the 4x100 relay (Hammer, Florio, Runion, Alayna Hahn) finished fourth in 53.53.
“I think we had some pretty high team goals this year, especially going into our league meet with it being our last year in the NBC,” said Vogelpohl. “We have some good coaches that take the time to work with us and have some workouts.
“For the most part, we’ve all been doing track since seventh grade together. We’ve just been in it together and helped each other grow. I think there’s definitely a good chance of us (getting athletes to Columbus).”
The seniors — Rios, Vogelpohl, Beam, Hahn and Paige Helmke – are leading the way.
Last season, Travis propelled the Wildcats to 11th in Division III with 15 points. She was fourth in the 300 hurdles (44.6) and fifth in the 100 hurdles (15.18). She was also part of the 4x400 relay team that included Rios, Vogelpohl and Emma Hammer and finished sixth in 4:01.60. The 4x800 relay team (Beam, Vogelpohl, Emma Hammer, Caydie Buchanan) was sixth in 9:50.93.
Travis had high expectations for herself and her team.
“I just wanted to work off what I did in the indoor season and get back with the team,” she said. “We put a lot of work in during the offseason and years prior, and it’s showing.”
Could the Wildcats unseat Eastwood as the Northern Buckeye Conference champions? It will most likely be a competitive league tournament, the final one for Woodmore, which moves to the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division next season, where it will face smaller schools that are more similar in size.


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