Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Sidelines: McMaster picks Eastern Kentucky




Alli McMaster, the only four-time City League girls cross country champion, plans to spend her college days running in Kentucky.

The Notre Dame Academy senior said she will attend Eastern Kentucky University, where she intends to run cross country and track for the Colonels. Toledo, Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi were among the colleges that had shown interest in the 5-11, 130-pounder who owns the City League cross country meet record (18:32) for the 5,000-meter race (3.1 miles) run annually at Ottawa Park.

I ve always enjoyed running, but I also did other sports and never expected it [my running career] to go this far, said McMaster. I guess all of my hard work paid off.

McMaster s sports background includes playing on a travel team in soccer, swimming and basketball. But running ultimately provided the most enjoyment and success.

Ironically, her training and workouts for the other sports helped her realize she was meant to be a runner.

In my other practices, I wasn t easily winded and I always wanted to do extra work, McMaster said.

McMaster has been a state qualifier in cross country and track. She has collected a total of eight City League track meet first-place medals, including five individual medals. She has won the 3200 two of the past three years. She has also claimed first place for the 1600 twice and the 800 once.

One of the reasons McMaster chose Eastern Kentucky was the Ohio Valley Conference university in Richmond offers a master s program for students majoring in speech and pathology, which is what she intends to study. However, McMaster also said the meeting with the coaching staff and some of her future teammates helped with her decision.

Bowsher girls track coach Mark Coe saw something special with this group long before the Rebels recently produced three meet records at the Maumee Relays.

Coe, who is in his eighth year coaching the Bowsher girls and 33rd overall, knew this group possessed the kind of talent that could make for an exciting spring.

We knew we had something special when we ran at Findlay during an indoor meet, Coe said.

A 1600 relay team made up of Meshawn Graham, Chanelle Caldwell, Tasha Banks and Alisha Jones combined to win the event with a solid time of 4:13. They re starting to believe and they re starting to learn, Coe said.

Jones, Ciera Palmer, Banks and Graham won the sprint medley relay (100, 100, 200, 400) in a meet-record time of 1:49.4. The old record (1:53.7) was established by Delta back in 1983.

Caldwell, Banks, Alyssa Martinez and Graham teamed to win the 1600 relay in a time of 4:10.3, breaking the old mark of 4:13.7 set by Central Catholic in 1993.

The Rebels third meet record came in the pole vault. Sophomores Sara Cousino, Emily Cole and Becky Dykyj combined to win the event with a total height of 21 feet, 3 inches.

Coe calls the quartet of Graham, Caldwell, Banks and Jones his Big Four. All are underclassmen who have already shown plenty of promise.

Graham, a freshman, is considered strongest in the 400. According to Coe, she would have placed second even as an eighth-grader in the 400 at the City League meet a year ago behind City League champion Danyelle McGary, who ended up as the state runner-up.

Caldwell, a sophomore, was a state qualifier as a freshman in the 800. Jones and Banks, both juniors, are strong in sprints.

They re a pretty special group, Coe said. We really don t have any seniors and I guess that s not a bad problem for us to have.

Bryan baseball coach Brian Arnold couldn t have asked for a better three days of work out of sophomore Kolbrin Vitek.

He played a pivotal role in three straight impressive victories for Bryan last week.

Vitek displayed plenty of offense in two games and provided a stellar pitching performance in another.

In a 6-3 victory over Defiance, Vitek went 2-for-2 at the plate, including a triple and a double while driving in two runs. He came right back with a 3-for-3 effort, including a home run, in a 9-3 triumph over St. John s Jesuit.

He topped the three-game stretch on the mound by earning a decision to lead Bryan to a 3-1 victory over Montpelier in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League opener on Monday. Vitek went the distance, striking out 10 while allowing one run on five hits.

Contact Donald Emmons at:demmons@theblade.comor 419-724-6302.

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