GIBSONBURG — Like any coach whose team figures to contend for a league track-and-field title, Gibsonburg’s Glenn Owens did a little forecasting.
His number-crunching in preparation for the Toledo Area Athletic Conference meet focused primarily on the girls side, where Owens anticipated a close finish. As for the boys meet, Owens all but conceded a decade-long reign to Toledo Christian.
“We talk at the beginning of the year about winning a TAAC championship, but did I actually think it was going to happen?” Owens asked. “I wasn’t too sure about that.”
The combination of a lucky break, a talented newcomer, and a strong supporting cast coalesced in an unlikely conclusion Friday, with host Gibsonburg upsetting the nine-time defending champion Eagles.
The Golden Bears, competing in their second TAAC meet after joining the league in the 2011-12 academic year, totaled 153 points. Toledo Christian, whose terror began in 2004, scored 144.5.
“A little bittersweet,” said TC coach Paul Barney, whose girls won their sixth-straight title in a runaway.
There was a sense something significant had happened when the starter shot his gun twice to begin the 400-meter run. TC’s Noah Wood, the top seed, false-started and found himself disqualified. The gaffe was crippling and resulted in perhaps a 12-point swing, as No. 2 seed Andy Burmeister of Gibsonburg went on to win and accumulated 10 team points.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Burmeister said of Wood. "I really wanted to run against him. After he DQ’d, I was kind of happy because I knew I could win it. But I still feel bad for the kid.”
Burmeister, a junior who played baseball his first two years, also won in long jump and ran the final leg on the runner-up 1600 relay.
Gibsonburg turned TC’s mistake into an 11-point lead and never trailed over the final five running events. The Golden Bears become the first team since Ottawa Hills in 2003 to keep TC from the title.
“I knew [we lost] as soon as it happened,” Barney said of Wood’s false start. “We were so evenly matched, I knew it would come down to something like that."
Barney added he will try to lift Wood’s spirits by saying, “Don’t worry about it, and we’ll come back at districts.”
Providing reinforcement for Gibsonburg were field champions Tyler Hovis (shot put) and Josh Bryan (high jump).
Minus the false start, Toledo Christian enjoyed a splendid day, crowning nine champions. They were Isaac Barringer (discus), Mike Norman (110), Tylor Miller (100, 200), the 400 and 800 relays of Luke Barney, Conor Schall, Norman and Miller, and Daniel Burket (800, 1600, 3200),
The boys teams finishing third through eighth were: Cardinal Stritch (67), Northwood (48), Danbury (47), Ottawa Hills (36.5), Maumee Valley Country Day (15), and Emmanuel Christian (6).
TC’s girls, led by Darian Westmeyer’s four titles and three titles by MVP Delainey Phelps, topped runner-up Gibsonburg 163-135. Cardinal Stritch (70.5) was third, followed by Danbury (63), Ottawa Hills (34.5), Northwood (30), Maumee Valley Country Day (24), and Emmanuel Christian (6).
Westmeyer won in the 100 and 300 hurdles, the 400 relay, and the 800 relay in which she, Sami Roose, Brianna Stewart, and Micah Johnson set a meet record in 1:48.68. The old mark of 1:49.60 was established in 2008 by Ottawa Hills.
Roose, who was inserted for an injured runner, also ran in the 400 relay, as did Stewart and Caitlyn Stuart.
Phelps broke a record — her own in the 3200. She did it in 11:26.19, besting the 11:28.03 clip she posted a year ago. The Ashland University recruit turned the accomplishment in spite of fatigue, as she had just come off the track in her 800 victory. She also prevailed in the 1600 and anchored the runner-up 1600 relay.
Also winning titles for the Eagles was the 3200 relay of Faith Salsbury, Kavanaugh Phelps, Tavish Phelps, and Rachel Schilling, and Johnston in long jump.
Gibsonburg, which finished runner-up for the second-straight year, was led by the Reynolds twins. Sophomore Colleen Reynolds won the 100, 400, and 200, topping runner-up Kendall Reynolds in each event. Kendall held off Delainey Phelps in anchoring the winning 1600 relay, a foursome that included her sister, Isabel Del Toro, and Selena Alejandro.
“We tried to put them in events that they could score the most points to give us a shot to beat Toledo Christian,” Owens said of the twins.
Boys champions included Northwood’s Brandon Kretz (300), and Cardinal Stritch’s 1600 relay of Zack Matthews, Sam Hardy, Johnny Grayczyk, and Bobby Romstandt, and the Cardinals’ 3200 relay of Matthews, Romstandt, Nathaniel Kuhn, and Tim Lynn.
Girls champions included Maumee Valley’s Nichole Kanios (high jump), Danbury’s Tori Wright (discus). and Katie Almendinger (pole vault), and Northwood’s Katelynn Conley (shot put).
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