While the most remarkable thing at the annual Jeff Arthurs Track invitational at Uhrichsville on Saturday, May 30 may have been the weather the other most impressive thing may have been that West Holmes girls track team gave a dominant performance that looked more midseason than first time out. Throw in the fact that they did it without several of their key members, and it becomes even more apparent that this year could mean some big things for a track tam with high expectations.
While the most remarkable thing at the annual Jeff Arthurs Track invitational at Uhrichsville on Saturday, May 30 may have been the weather the other most impressive thing may have been that West Holmes girls track team gave a dominant performance that looked more midseason than first time out.
On this day, a bright sunshine bathed the track in warmth, and the only thing hotter was the Lady Knights, who won nine of the 17 events to score 155 points, easily soaring past runner-up Claymont (105.5) to take the title. Indian Valley (101.5), Fairless (82) and Carrollton (69) rounded out the top five, while Hiland placed eighth (6).
While several Lady Knights were absent due to the school’s band trip to Disney Land in Florida, there were plenty of fine performances, many of the athletes putting their stamp on the meet several times.
Hannah Clark, Kennedy Smith, Carly Woodruff and Paiten Strother each claimed a part of three first-place finishes.
Clark, a freshman, easily won the 400 meter run and was on the winning 4×800 and 4×400 relay teams. Smith and Strother were both on the first-place 4×100 and 4×200 relays, while Smith won the 200 and Strother captured the long jump.
Woodruff zipped to victory in the 100 meter hurdles and ran on the 4×200 and 4×100 relays.
They were far from the lone contributors, however.
Alexis Kandel and Laina Snyder were on the 4×800 and 4×200 teams, while Emily Molnar won the 3,200 was third in the pole vault and was also on the 4×800 team. Kendra Martin helped the 4×200 and 4×400 teams to victory and placed third in the 300 meter hurdles.
“Our times weren’t bad for the first time out,” said Woodruff, who obviously expects much great things and better times down the road. “Switching from indoor to outdoor meets is always a tough transition, and the hand-offs are always something you worry about early in the year, but overall we had some good runs.”
The Lady Knights dominated each of the relay events they won by a wide margin, and looked good in all phases.
That was especially good news to the 4×100 tam ,which because of a faulty hand-off last season in the Regional meet cost them a spot at State.
The nice weather made getting outside and competing against people other than your teammates a fun day for all of the athletes.
“We haven’t been able to get out much, because of the weather, so you never know exactly what to expect once you do get out here to compete,” said Andrew Rose. “We have been out in the weather, and I think overall, for the first time out this season, we are doing pretty well. We just have to keep working and improving on what we’re doing every day.”
As one of the senior leaders on the team, Rose said that setting a good tone early is important, as they continue to strive to go faster, throw longer and jump higher this year.
Getting an opportunity to do so in weather that isn’t freezing colds or rainy was a blessing for an invitational so early in the season that bad weather is almost always a certainty.
“This kind of a day against some great competition always gets the adrenaline going,” said Rose. “I think that we all trust each other to work hard toward our goals, and we will get there.”
The Knights, which are experiencing a lull in numbers, didn’t have the same success as the ladies, finishing fifth in the 10-team field, their 42 points well of the pace of the 128 notched by the host Claymont Mustangs team.
The highlights for the Knights came with Grant Hay winning the pole vault, as expected.
The returning State placer came in at 12 feet and was basically the only guy vaulting the final 20 minutes. His 13-6 effort was off of his height at the end of last year, when he et the school mark at 14-6, but it was a two-foot improvement over what he went last year at the Jeff Arthurs Invite.
“Yeah, if I can just improve two feet like that over my height at the end of last year I’ll be in good shape,” said Hay with a chuckle.
“I’m just happy to get out here and get going. It’s been pretty tough to practice with the weather the way it has been up until now, so having some good weather like this always helps.”
The only other winner for the Knights was the 4×800 relay team, where senior Cully Gordon set a blistering pace on the first two laps, junior Sam Boyd then bolted to a big lead, Max Lehman made it hold up and Matt Miller cruised home to victory, winning easily.