NEW LONDON — South Central’s girls track and field team doesn’t have anywhere near the number of athletes as the other Firelands Conference schools.
The Trojans also don’t have the same training equipment.
What they do have, though, is a group of hardworking, dedicated and talented athletes.
And that’s what made the difference at the FC Championships Friday at New London High School.
Despite having just 11 girls compete in the two-day meet, which began Wednesday, South Central racked up 128 points to win its first conference team title in program history.
“These girls deserve it,” South Central coach Brian Kiesel said. “For our first girls conference champ, you couldn’t ask for a better group. They make you want to be a better coach. They make you want to come to work. Our entire whole coaching staff just loves them.
“They really are as sweet as they seem. They are literally that nice of girls, but when they step on the track, you’re not going to beat them if they can help it, and I love that.”
The Trojans won seven events and placed second in six others.
Onalee Keysor led the way by tying the meet record in the pole vault with a first-place vault of 10-feet. The senior also won the high jump (5-0) and finished second in the 400 meters. She was named co-MVP in the field events.
Angela Williams grabbed gold in the 200 (26.76 seconds) and long jump (16-6½) while running a leg on the first-place 4×200 relay (1:53.82). Gracelyn Lamoreaux finished first in the 100 hurdles (16.71) and 300 hurdles (49.34) to round out SC’s champions.
Finishing runner-up for were Claire Osborn in the discus and shot put, Regan Wolfrum in the 100 hurdles and high jump and Williams in the 100.
“The team does really well,” Williams said. “They’re all very encouraging. It’s just really fun to be on that. It’s almost like a family, and we all just work together.”
The Trojans entered the meet hoping to win the team title.
“We all were just trying to encourage each other and tell each other to do our best and give everything we can,” Williams said.
Crestview boys win second consecutive team title
Crestview has been dealing with some nagging injuries and sicknesses the past few weeks, but everything is starting to come together at the right time.
The Cougars are mostly healthy now, and they proved that by cruising to their second consecutive team title. They finished with 174 points, easily edging second-place Mapleton (82) and the rest of the field.
“I think we’re trending in the right direction,” Crestview coach Tim Kuhn said. “We’ve got some guys back healthy today. That was good to see them make it through the meet.
“Every year, we start the season with certain aspirations, and winning the conference is one of them. We were definitely gunning to repeat.”
Noah Stuart was the story of the meet for the Cougars. The junior unleashed a throw of 171-6 in the discus, which broke the meet record of 170-7 that was set in 1997 by St. Paul’s Chad Stein.
“It means a lot,” Stuart said. “All of the work I’ve been putting in the past four or five years is finally paying off it seems like.”
After prelims, Stuart received some advice from a former Cougars thrower.
“Crestview alumni Katie Hill was helping me a little bit to slow down my start a little bit,” he said. “That helped a lot.”
Whenever Stuart has a bad practice before a meet, he usually performs well the next day. He had one of those practices Thursday.
“I didn’t know I was going to do this good, though,” he said with a laugh. “I was hoping for a PR, not a meet record.”
Stuart was one of seven champions for Crestview, which also finished second in nine events.
Other first-place finishers were Tommy O’Neill in the 1,600 (4:32.66), Tanner Moore in the high jump (6-4), Wade Bolin in the shot put (50-3), Shawn Bailey in the pole vault (14-0), the 4×800 relay (8:18.06) of Cooper Brockway, Logan Friges, Gabe Smedley and O’Neill, and the 4×100 relay (44.87) of Connor Morse, Everett Smith, Bolin and Adison Reymer.
Placing second were Jace Hill in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, Reymer in the 100, the 4×200 relay, Smith in the 400, Smedley in the 800, the 4×400 relay, Bolin in the discus and Caden Cunningham in the long jump.
Crestview’s athletes have gone through intense training the past several weeks to prepare them for the postseason grind.
“We’ve went really hard the past few weeks trying to set ourselves up for the postseason,” Kuhn said. “This is the first leg of the postseason, and I like the direction that we’re going in.”
Mapleton boys, girls finish second
Mapleton coach Josh Olin was a happy man at the meet’s conclusion since both of his teams finished second in the team standings.
“Both teams across the board did what they needed to do, and they fought tonight,” he said. “They were wanting as a team to achieve. They weren’t just out there in the event for themselves. They were out there in the event for the rest of their team. I saw that many times [from] both [the] girls and guys.”
Jillian Carrick led the way for the Mounties girls by winning the 100 (13.00) and anchoring the first-place 4×100 relay (52.21). The senior also finished second in the pole vault and anchored the second-place 4×200 relay.
Bella Tabler finished second in the 200 and third in the long jump, while Madison Bailey placed second in the long jump.
“What can you say about Jillian Carrick,” Olin said. “What an athlete. She’s something else. Bella Tabler was on today. She’s so good, and I’m so proud of her as a sophomore for this team. Anna Sas has come out these last few weeks as a runner and been outstanding. I’m really pleased with those three specifically.”
Isaik Schoch won the 3,200 (10:07.61) and finished third in the 1,600 to lead the Mapleton boys. Hayden Kidney placed second in the pole vault, while freshman Scotty Hickey finished third in the 100 and 200.
“Scott Hickey and Isaik really stepped up today and individually did what they needed to do,” Olin said.
Trey Beverly leads the way for South Central boys
Beverly had a record-setting meet to lead the way for South Central, which finished third in the team standings.
The senior broke three school records as well as a conference record, earning him MVP in the running events.
Beverly won the 400 in a school-record time of 50.22 and anchored the first-place 4×200 (1:32.70) and 4×400 (3:29.51) relays. Both relay times were school records, and the 4×400 relay time was also a meet record. Joining him on both relays were Carson Music, Parker Gray and Isaac Blair.
“It’s all of my hard work paying off, all of my time spent running and getting in shape,” Beverly said about his big meet. “I was running in the snow, getting ready for track season.”
A year ago, Beverly didn’t have much expectations for himself heading into the season. He continued to progress as the season went along and ended up qualifying for state in the 400. This year, though, he had higher expectations entering the season.
“Last year, I went to state, and it was kind of unexpected,” Beverly said. “This year, I knew I could do something, so I really worked hard on it.”
South Central had two other individual champs — Music in the 200 (23.03) and Blair in the long jump (19-6) — while Beverly placed second in the 200.
Morgan Welch wins four events for Crestview girls
Welch capped her dominant conference career by winning four events, leading the Cougars to a third-place finish in the team standings.
The senior won the 1,600 (5:19.38) and 800 (2:25.74) and anchored the first-place 4×800 (10:35.18) and 4×400 (4:17.73) relays.
“It was hard [to win four events],” said Welch, who was named MVP in the running events. “It’s been hot. It means the world. I just kept calling on the Lord in my races. I was feeling weak. I said, ‘God, I need your help.’ And He strengthened me.”
Welch entered the meet hoping to win all four events.
“I was a little nervous because I get nervous before every race, but I was shooting for [winning four events],” she said.
Emma Aumend won the 400 (1:02.73) and finished third in the 200 for the Cougars, while Leyna Gerich placed second in the 3,200.
New London boys, girls have several strong performances
Reese Landis led the way for the NL girls by winning the 3,200 in a school- and meet-record time of 11:21.47. The sophomore also finished second in the 1,600.
Kaitlyn Gum nearly broke two meet records in the shot put and discus. The junior, who was named co-MVP in the field events, won the shot put with a heave of 41-2¼ and the discus with a toss of 140-2¾.
Madison Smith (300 hurdles) and Alyssa Henry (800) finished second for the Wildcats, who placed fourth in the team standings.
Tyler Twining won the 800 in 1:58.82 and Braeden Geist placed second in the 3,200 to lead the New London boys, who finished sixth in the team standings.
“The kids have worked really hard all year,” New London coach Keith Landis said. “Several of them had phenomenal races. We competed pretty well.
“I’m very proud of Kaitlyn Gum, our double winner. Reese Landis ran a 5:20 lifetime best in the mile and came back and ran a school and conference record in the two-mile. She ran a fantastic race and had a fantastic meet. Alyssa Henry had a really gutsy PR in the 800.
“Tyler Twining ran a phenomenal race in the 800. He’s been slowly progressing. He’s been kind of on the trajectory that we were hoping for. Tonight, that came into fruition. Braeden Geist, another senior, he was a little under the weather earlier in the week. He didn’t get to run the meet he hoped to run because of that, but he came back and ran the second- or third-fastest two-mile that he’s ran in his life.”
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