Injuries and the Wadsworth Grizzlies are all that have stood between the Nordonia High School boys track and field team and a Suburban League National Conference championship.
That was the story during the regular season, and it was the story once again at the league meet last week.
The Suburban League Meet took place at Boliantz Stadium in Macedonia May 9 and May 11.
Wadsworth won the National Conference crown by producing 144 points. Nordonia finished second with 112 points, while Brecksville-Broadview Heights placed third with 81 points.
"The boys team has battled some injuries all season, and they popped up again during this meet," said Nordonia head coach Scott Barwidi. "We felt really good about how this meet set up and our chances to win. We felt that we could compete with the favorite, Wadsworth.
"When Daniel Banks pulled out of the meet with a cramp in his hamstring, we knew it would be difficult to win. But that did not stop the Knights from competing and showing out."
With Banks sidelined with an injury, Nordonia's Andrew Wahl claimed a conference championship in the 400, posting a winning time of 50.04 seconds in the process. Wahl also finished second in the 200 (22.62 seconds).
Meanwhile, Spencer Coppedge won two conference titles in individual events. He accomplished the feat in the 100 high hurdles (14.72) and the 300 intermediate hurdles (39.54).
Ray Kovalchick was another conference champion, capturing the pole vault title with a height of 13 feet.
Also winning a conference title was the Knights' 800 relay team of Wahl, Bernard Russ, Sam Hopes, and Coppedge. That contingent clocked a time of 1:30.37 to claim the crown.
In addition, Hopes was second in the high jump with a height of 5-10. Nordonia's 1,600 relay squad comprised of Wahl, Bernard, Coppedge, and Banks placed second, recording a time of 3:27.47.
The Knights' 400 relay team registered a third-place finish in 44.29. The members of that squad were Hopes, Russ, Justin Lee, and Tye Evans.
Dominick Stockle claimed fourth place in the long jump, reaching a distance of 20-2.5 in the process. There were also two Knights who finished fifth in individual events. They were Tommy Masteller in the 3,200 (9:55.47) and Jordan Dearth in the high jump (5-6).
Nordonia's 3,200 relay squad also crossed the tape in fifth place (8:26.04). That contingent contained Masteller, Josh Palmentera, James Hayes, and Daniel Moore.
Speaking of Moore, he finished sixth in the 800 with a time of 2:02.72. Evans placed sixth in the 110 high hurdles with an effort of 16.50.
Tommy Koperna notched a sixth-place finish in the pole vault, reaching a height of 12 feet, while Connor Aten was seventh in the discus with a toss of 136-10. Nik O'Connor finished eighth in two individual events, the shot put (42-5) and the discus (124-9).
"Spencer Coppedge and Andrew Wahl led us on the sprint side, along with Ray Kovalchick in the pole vault," said Barwidi. "Solid contributions were added by Sam Hopes and Dominic Stockle, who surprised many people with a fourth-place finish in the long jump."
Nordonia will host its Division I district meet May 17 and 19 at Boliantz. Field events start both days at 3:45 p.m.