Nya Bussey ignited what promises to be a big postseason for the Twinsburg girls track and field team.
Bussey helped the girls capture a team crown, while the Tiger boys were successful, placing third in the National Conference at the Suburban League Championships, which concluded Thursday at Stow-Munroe Falls.
Headed to Ohio State University, Bussey captured both sprint titles as well as a pair of relay victories as the four-event winner also set two meet record events in the process at the league meet.
In girls' action, Twinsburg was dominant in winning the team title by outscoring runner-up Wadsworth 148-110.
"The girls team clinched the Suburban League championship as they won nine of 17 events, and finished second in five events," said girls coach Sarah Kmet.
Twinsburg's boys, coached by Dalanda Jackson, finished third out of a rugged eight-team field.
Nordonia won the team crown in the crowded boys standings with 129 points, followed by Hudson 120.50, and Twinsburg (111).
Boys senior Brad Yates set a new school record in the pole vault with an amazing effort of 14-feet, 9 inches. It was a school mark that was set back in 2012 of 14-7 feet by Christian Moermond.
Yates captured a league crown in the pole vault while the boys were crowned champs in five other events.
"Assistant pole vault coach Roger Buell has worked tirelessly with his vaulters and Brad's dedication and hard work showed," said Jackson. "It's so exciting to watch Brad vault."
In the 200-meter dash, Bussey broke the league meet record with a mark of 24.85 seconds. Alyssa Willis also excelled as she was the runner-up at 25.70.
"Bussey ran a season best in the 200 and Willis had a personal record," said Jackson, who coaches the sprinters in the program.
The other girls meet record came in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1-minute, 39.35 seconds.
Comprising the relay was Willis, Mariah Myles, Bussey, and senior anchor Nia Robinson, who is headed to Cornell University.
"It amazes me every time; I watch them run as fast as they are running because there is rarely a team pushing them," Jackson said. "They finished an astonishing five seconds before the second-place team."
"Willis kicked it off, breaking the stagger on two teams, Myles created more separation, Bussey opened the gap even further, and Robinson helped them snag the meet record."
Bussey and Willis ran a strong 1-2 finish in the 100-meter dash. Bussey had a time of 12.12 seconds and runner-up Willis crossed in 12.44 ticks, having one of her best races.
In addition, Bussey also ran in the winning 1,600-meter relay that was clocked at 4:00.50 and included Myles, senior Julia Henderson, and Robinson.
Having a sensational meet for the boys was sophomore sprinter Marvahun Johnson.
With a blazing PR time of 22.25 seconds, Johnson nailed down the title in the 200-meter dash. Johnson also captured the 100-meter dash in 11.18 seconds.
"Marvahun has overcome so many obstacles as last year ended early due to a lingering injury he sustained during football season," said Jackson. "That just added fuel to the intense fire that burns in Marvahun's eyes. He rehabbed and his work ethic is unmatched."
Upstart 400-meter boys' standout Darren Robinson showed why he may have a breakthrough postseason.
Robinson gained an impressive title in the 400 with a PR of 49.71 seconds.
"Darren did not run his freshman year and once he found his niche, Darren was laser focused and I watched him become fearless," said Jackson, who called Robinson the most improved sprinter.
Senior Adam Mays captured his first-ever league championship as he won with his best high jump ever at 6-4 feet.
Also placing the highest in the league meet was senior teammate Nate McCoy, who reached 6-0 feet in the high jump, which was third.
"High jump coach Chuck Glover worked diligently in the off season with his high jumpers and it's paying off as Adam had a personal record and deserved that win," said Jackson.
Twinsburg's 400-meter relay team won a crown with a time of 43.57 seconds. This group had Dominick Glenn, Gilbert Campbell, Brett Callow, and Johnson.
"Dominick is new to track this year and runs like a seasoned veteran, Gilbert ran a strong leg, Brett kept the momentum going for Marvahun," said Jackson. "Chemistry is building between the boys."
"Callow ran as a distance runner last year with Coach Kmet, and this year, he came to me and said he thinks he is a sprinter," she went on. "My thoughts were that he could be a good 400 runner because of his speed and endurance, but he has proven to be an all-around great sprinter from 100-meters to the 400."
Another huge title for the girls came by Alyssa Deeds who ran a season best time of 11:27.10 to triumph in the 3,200-meter run.
"Alyssa ran a very smart 3,200-meters to take the win," offered Kmet, praising some of the distance runners she coaches in the program.
Twinsburg's girls also had a big-time 1-2 effort in the open 400-meter race. Robinson blazed to victory with a time of 56.05 seconds while Myles had a superb race and was second at 57.84 seconds.
"Robinson claimed her victory running a season best and Myles finished second running a personal record," noted Jackson. "Assistant sprint coach Derek McKinley and I tell these girls repeatedly, we don't care who gets first or second, just get 18 points, and they all executed that on Thursday effortlessly."
Grabbing another championship was senior Bria Griffin, who won the 100-meter hurdles with a sensational time of 16.45 seconds. She also ran sixth in the 300-meter hurdles in 50.53.
"As usual, the sprinters competed with the heart of a lion and displayed jaw dropping performances," said Jackson, who also coaches the hurdlers in the program. "For the girls, two athletes made it back to compete in the finals for every sprint and hurdle event."
"Bria ran a personal record in securing her first conference victory."
Fresh off a school record effort at the recent Optimist Meet, Trisha Singh won a league crown in the long jump with a leap of 17-5 feet.
"Trisha had an outstanding jump to take the long jump win," offered Kmet.
The Lady Tigers won the 400-meter relay behind two veterans and two impressive freshmen with a season best of 48.78 seconds.
Making up the relay was senior Brionna McDonald, Rana Thornton, Akira Johnson and Willis.
"Brionna always puts us in a good position as the lead leg, while freshmen Rana and Akira always hold their own on the second and third leg, and Alyssa, who ran a convincing anchor leg," said Jackson.
Heading to Mount Union, Henderson was the runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles with an outstanding personal best time of 46.92 seconds.
Another impressive runner-up finish came by Nighyah Carthen, who had a toss of 34-9 feet, which easily beat her seed mark.
"Nighyah continues to round into form," said Kmet.
Senior Ryan Adkins was a runner-up in the competitive boys' 3,200-meter race as he was clocked at 9:39.32.
Adkins also had a strong race in the 1,600-meter run as he was third in 4:24.32.
"Ryan had a solid day, running a season best in the 1,600 and coming back after a weather delay to finish second in the 3,200," said Kmet.
Jackson liked how the Tiger's 800-meter relay ran second, crossing in 1:29.86 with Glenn, Ty Yarbrough, Robinson, and Johnson.
Twinsburg has a slew of threats at the Nordonia Division I District meet is set for May 15 and May 17. The Austintown Fitch regional meet is May 22 and May 24.
"As coaches we understand that as we advance throughout postseason, conquering the task will be more difficult, but daily, we speak life into each of our athletes we work with, boys and girls, telling them how much we believe in them and how they are the best," said Jackson.
Rebecca Mold ran her best race in the 1,600-meter run for the Lady Tigers as she was fourth in 5:24.88.
"I thought Rebecca dropped a nice PR to finish fourth in the 1,600," remarked Kmet.
Running fourth was the girls' 3,200-meter relay with a strong time of 9:59.33. This cast had Angela DeFabio, Katie Vasiliauskas, Deeds, and Mold.
In boys' action, Cade Laverdiere ran fourth in the 110-meter high hurdles with a PR of 16.55 seconds.
Arty Jindra garnered a fifth-place effort in the 300-meter hurdles in 42.76 seconds.
"I was truly impressed by Cade's performance," Jackson said. "We still need to clean up his technique and get him to commit to three-stepping the hurdles; once that happens, he has the potential to make noise."
"Arty (Jindra) always gives every race his all," added Jackson.
Adkins also ran in the sixth-place 3,200-meter relay team which had a swift clocking of 8:22.24.
Joining Adkins in the 3,200-meter relay was Aiden Cain, Mitchell Suder, and Jon Szydlowski.
McCoy also placed sixth in the long jump with a great effort of 19-5 feet.
"With the guidance of assistant long jump coaches Danee Pickney and Derek McKinley, I wasn't surprised by either of Nate's performances (in the jumps)," said Jackson. "He is a pleasure to have as an athlete, and he's going to missed."
Running sixth was the boys 1,600-meter relay (3:35.53) with Yarbrough, Callow, Alex Branch, and Robinson.
With an excellent toss of 42-6 feet, Tyson Jacobs easily got a PR to score in the shot put throw.
Jackson had praise for throws coach Anthony Byrd and Jacobs is proof of the strides the young throwers are making.
"It can be tough when you have a lot of young athletes because there is so much for them to learn, but freshman Tyson Jacobs is off to a great start; he's been steadily improving all season."
Campbell scored in the 100-meter dash (11.65), Szydlowski did so in the 800-meter race (2:05.42), and Antoine Brown scored in the 200 (23.93).
"Gilbert (Campbell) exudes great leadership and wants his team to be successful more than anyone I know," said Jackson.
Cain had a great race in the 1,600-meters (4:34.52) while Jason Buell reached 11-0 feet in the pole vault, Jacob Schapel had a strong shot-put throw (34-6.5 feet), and Matt Belak led the Tigers in the discus toss (113-8).
Also scoring for the Lady Tigers in the 800-meter race was DeFabio, who ran seventh in 2:28.32 and Mold, who was eighth in 2:29.35.
Senior Taryn Vander Weit scored with a strong pole vault mark of 9-0 feet.