Sylvania Southview's J.J. Pinckney wins the 400 meter dash during the 45th annual Gold W Invitational.
The 45th annual Gold W Invitational on Friday played out like most have since Whitmer established the track and field meet.
The Panthers’ boys track team claimed another event championship — its sixth straight and 35th overall.
Pole vaulter Tyler Szychowski led the way by recording a school-record vault of 15 feet, 5 inches to win for the Panthers, who also won the 440-meter shuttle hurdle relay and 800 sprint medley. Matt Sutter added a victorious triple-jump effort of 38-10½.
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Whitmer finished with 135 points, followed by St. Francis de Sales (123), Southview (106), St. John’s Jesuit (93), Springfield (68), Anthony Wayne (67), Bedford (48), and Clay (39).
“It was a great team effort,” Whitmer boys coach Jeremy Elliott said. “We scored in a lot of areas. We’re a deep team. Guys work hard. They came here to win today.
“We knew Southview and St. Francis were going to be competition for us. I’m proud of their efforts.”
Szychowski’s previous best had been 14-9 before breaking Whitmer’s record of 15-4, held by former standout Derek Hopkins.
“I was just looking for 15 feet,” Szychowski said. “I was looking for the record, but I didn’t expect it today. It was a big jump, but it was a nice day. I didn’t touch the bar, and I felt 100 percent.”
It was the second year for the Gold W Invitational to also involve a girls meet, and for the second year in a row, the Panthers made a clean sweep of the competition.
Whitmer’s girls won with 163 points, followed by Bedford (135), Clay (120), Springfield (86), Anthony Wayne (78), Southview (77), and St. Ursula (15).
“It was definitely a big win tonight,” Whitmer girls coach Lucas Hoel said. “It always means more when you can do it on your home turf. As the defending champion and the only girls champion ever, it meant a lot to us that we really focused this week.
“We really wanted to defend our championship here at home and put on a show for the crowd.”
Whitmer senior Kaitlyn Barber posted personal-best times to win the 200 (26.60 seconds) and 400 (59.32), and she was tops in the pole vault (10-6).
“The weather was perfect, and I think that definitely helped,” Barber said. “My team is great, and they’re always supporting you.”
Szychowski and Barber weren’t the only ones to make the most of nearly ideal weather conditions for an early-season meet.
In the boys competition, Southview’s Malcolm Johnson swept the 100 (10.84) and 200 (22.10). Teammate J.J. Pinckney won the 400 (49.80).
Jacob Barnes of St. John’s won the 800 (1 minute, 59.72 seconds), Andrew Bonfiglio the 110 hurdles (15.30), and Joseph Flom the 300 hurdles (42.17).
St. Francis’ David St. John won the 3200 (9:54.03) and Dan Siebenaller claimed the 1600 (4:37.76).
Maurice Harris won the shot put (57-5) and the discus (175-10).
Springfield’s Manny Durden cleared 6-7 to best the high jump field, while Shon Layson of St. John’s cleared 21-¾ to take the long jump.
In the girls competition, Whitmer’s Haley Gasiorowski cleared 15-6 in the long jump and 33-½ in the triple jump to dominate.
Julia Kimmel won the 300 hurdles in 48.73 seconds for the Panthers, while Alaya Hayes took the shot put (40-2½) and Tityana Gardner the discus (122-5).
Southview’s Alana Johnson, Malcolm’s sister, won the 100 (12.82).
For Clay, Haley Hess won the 1600 (5:25.33) and Erin Gyurke the 3200 (11:32.43). Grace Winckowski provided the Eagles with a victory in the 100 hurdles (16.18).
Bedford’s Roma Lucarelli won the 800 in 2:27.08. Bedford’s Alyssa Lowe, Whitmer’s Sam Meinen, and Springfield’s Laney Takats all cleared 4-10 to share top honors in the high jump.