Asked to what he attributes winning four league track titles in areas requiring diverse talents, Ryan Huffman diverted the question to his coach.
"His parents," Toledo Christian's Paul Barney quipped.
Whatever the reason, Huffman's do-it-all-performance, combined with some effective button pushing by Barney, pushed the Eagles to their seventh straight Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship last night at Northwood. They shared in the glory with their female teammates, who collected their third straight TAAC championship and fourth in five years.
Not to be rendered a footnote in the event - which is followed by next week's district meet - is the final dominance of Ottawa Hills' Katherine Jamieson, who won four individual titles and was crowned the league's female athlete of the year for a fourth time.
Toledo Christian edge both of Ottawa Hills' teams - 182-147 for the boys, 184-119 for the girls.
Concerned his boys squad was ill equipped to top Ottawa Hills, Barney, in an effort to maximize point potential, elected to enter some of his top relay members in individual events.
The plan worked as did his ideas in recent weeks to insert Huffman into the 200 and Greg Barringer into the 800 for the first time.
Both won all four of their events yesterday, and Huffman - who added gold medals in the 400, high jump, and long jump - was honored as the league's boys athlete of the year.
"I thought I'd be OK [in the 200]," Huffman said. "I always have it in my head before the race that I'm going to win."
TAAC athletes who've competed against Jamieson over the past four years likely have it in their head that winning is a delusional thought.
The reigning state champion in the 300 hurdles ended her league career by winning 15 of a possible 16 championships, and Brashear says that if it wasn't for him mistakenly inserting Jamieson into a non-winning relay a year ago, she would have gone 16 for 16. Jamieson leaves with her name etched on four TAAC records, none of which were set yesterday against strong wind.
"It feels great," said Jamieson, who won both hurdles events, the 200 individual, and the 800 relay. "I've put in a lot of hard work in and out of practice, and my coach and my teammates push me hard.
"It feels good to come out and perform because of the help I get."
Rounding out the girls standings were: Danbury (80), Northwood (72), Cardinal Stritch (45), and Emmanuel Christian (6).
With 47 points, Cardinal Stritch finished third in the boys meet, followed by Danbury and Maumee Valley (tied with 34), Northwood (26), and Emmanuel Christian (26).
Barney was named boys coach of the year, while Brashear grabbed the girls honor.
The only blemish on the day for TC's Katie Roose - the champion in the 100, 400, and long jump - was a second-place finish to Jamieson in the 200.
Roose, who like every one of her female teammates is an underclassman, recorded a 400 time of 1:01.1.
"That's my [personal best] by two seconds this season, so that was a big surprise," she said.
Other TC individual winners were girls Krista Wood (800), Delainey Phelps (1600), Heather Bellner (3200), Bethany Critchley (discus), and the 1600 and 3200 relays. Boys winners were John Steinmetz (110 hurdles), Rowan Shaw (300 hurdles), and the 400, 800, and 1600 relays. Barringer ran the first leg on all three winning relays.
No one was busier yesterday than Ottawa Hills' Matt Baron who was on the track for an exhaustive amount of time in winning three distance events - 3200, 1600, and 3200 relay - and finishing third in another - 800. Typically Baron chooses between the 800 and 3200, but yesterday he competed in both.
"TAAC track meet, senior year, might as well go out with a bang," Baron said.
Baron, who has signed with Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, first joked that an "expert never reveals his secrets" when asked how he planned to recuperate.
"A good, healthy nap," he later said.
Host Northwood crowned one champion in Andrew Pietras, who grabbed titles in discus and shot. His throw in the former of 159 feet, nine inches crushed the previous TAAC record of 155-9 set in 2007.
"It broke our school record too," Pietras said. "The school record was about two feet higher than the meet record, so that was the goal."
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