Rogers' Kurtis Jefferies hands off to Michael Lipkins and Southview's Jeremy Cook hands off to J.J. Pinckney in the 1600-meter relay won by the Cougars.
THE BLADE/LORI KING
Before Saturday, Clay had never won a track and field district championship.
Southview boys coach Lee Boyer couldn’t recall if the Cougars had ever put a district trophy in the school’s trophy case.
Both programs made history on a near-perfect, sunny day for the Division I meet at St. Francis de Sales.
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Clay’s girls team, led by distance runners Erin Gyurke, twins Haley and Hannah Hess, and discus thrower Nicole Breeden, claimed the district championship with 93.50 points.
Defending girls champion Notre Dame finished a close second with 91. Perrysburg placed third with 77, followed by Northview (64.5) and Whitmer (64).
“This is my 23rd year in track and field coaching at Clay,” Clay coach Scott Wamer said. “Hopefully, this is just the start of some big things to come.”
Southview and Whitmer shared the boys title with 107 points.
Southview sprinter Malcolm Johnson jump-started Southview’s day by winning the 100 with a season-best time of 10.83 and later winning the 200 with a season-best time of 22.01.
“It was a great day,” said Johnson, who also ran with Keith Gilmore, Jeremy Cook, and Perry Burkes to win the 800 relay (1:29.43). “I came in expecting to win, and I don’t come into meets expecting to lose.”
Southview’s Frank Hayes, Perry Burkes, Jeremy Cook, and J.J. Pinckney won the final race of the day — the 1600 relay (3:24.06) — to secure at least a share of the team title with Whitmer, which placed fifth (3:27.46) in the 1600 relay.
Pinckney, who also won the 400 (49.23) and long jump (21-9.75), passed up Rogers’ Michael Simpkins during the final 10 meters of the last leg of the 1600 relay.
“This is awesome for the program,” Southview coach Lee Boyer said. “Watching J.J. run that final leg [of the 1600 relay] the way he did is what it took for us to come out on top.
“It’s an exciting day to be a Cougar.”
St. Francis placed third with 91 points, followed by St. John’s (69) and Central Catholic (57).
“We knew going in to the meet Southview is the team to beat,” Whitmer coach Jeremy Elliott said. “I thought we left a few points on the track, and they surprised us in a few areas, in the throws, and picked up some points.”
Clay won the championship despite scoring only one event victory. Breeden became a district champion by scoring a winning throw measuring 136 feet, 3 inches in the discus.
However, Gyurke and the Hess sisters provided plenty of team support with their running efforts.
Gyurke placed second in the 3200 (11:21.12) and third in the 1600 (5:08.45). Haley Hess ran second in the 1600 (5:06.45) and second in the 800 (2:20.47). Hannah Hess placed fifth in the 800 (2:20.83).
All three were involved in the Eagles placing second in the 1600 relay (4:07.33) and third in the 3200 relay (9:56.05).
Individual winners included Rogers’ Sasha Dailey, who showed she hasn’t lost a step after taking a year off. She won the 100 (12.40) and 200 (25.01) and helped the Rams place second in the 800 relay (1:45.22).
Northview’s Alysha Welch collected district titles in the 100 hurdles (15.95) and high jump (5-0). Wildcats teammate Janelle Noe placed first in the 300 hurdles (46.27).
Whitmer’s Kaitlyn Barber won the pole vault by matching the meet record of 11-6 (Whitmer’s Courtney Siebenaller, 2008).
Perrysburg’s Courtney Clody looked strong on her way to winning the 1600 (5:02.35). Yellow Jackets teammates Emily Wyrick won the 800 (2:17.43), and Taylor Monheim claimed victory in the 3200 (11:18.02).
“[Winning] wasn’t that important as qualifying for regionals,” Clody said.
The top four finishers in each event qualify for the regional track meet.
Central’s Kiana McClendon held off Southview’s Chelsey Barwiler to win the 400 with a time of 59.46. Barwiler crossed the finish line in a time of 59.50.
Bowsher’s Rachel Marter finished first in the long jump (16-8.75).
Whitmer’s Alaya Hayes topped the field in the shot put (39-0.50).
Among the boys individual winners, St. Francis’ Maurice Harris pulled off a sweep of the throw events. He won the discus with a throw of 161-10 and the shot put with a toss of 54-9.
St. Francis’ Andrew Bonfiglio won the 110 hurdles (15.14), while teammate Kyle Lach topped the competition in the 1600 (4:23.89).
Start’s Dionte Carey won the 300 hurdles (39.72).
Perrysburg’s Bryant Byrd made a strong kick to the finish line to win the 800 (1:55.90).
Central’s George McCartney rose to the occasion to place first in the 3200 (9:28.31).
“I’ve been training for this for months,” McCartney said. “My last 800 of the race, I just had to go all out.”
Rogers’ Tribune Dailey cleared 6-6 to win the high jump, and Whitmer’s Nick Holley won the pole vault with a jump of 14-6.