When you are expected to win, sometimes it can be a challenge to go out and compete and accomplish that goal. But the Woodridge boys track squad didn't have any trouble winning an 11th straight league title.
After a 7-0 dual meet season, Woodridge was expected to fare well at the Portage Trail Conference Championships May 9 and May 11 at Crestwood.
Strong depth enabled Woodridge to win 131-105 over second-place Lodi Cloverleaf. Coventry was third (87 points) followed by Ravenna (77).
"The boys team successfully defended their PTC Title at Crestwood," stated head coach Les Carney.
Woodridge was also expected to challenge at the Bedford Division II District Championships Thursday and Saturday with qualifiers (top four in each event) going to the Austintown Fitch Regional Championships May 24 and May 26.
Carney is taking one meet at a time as sophomores Micah Blair and Marvin Montgomery came through for the Bulldogs in the heated PTC action.
"On the track, Micah (Blair) led the way with two first-place finishes," said the coach. "He won the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs."
"Marvin (Montgomery) grabbed the Dogs' other first-place finish in the 400-meters," added Carney, as Montgomery won his first-ever individual league title.
In the 1,600-meter race, Blair had a dominating run as he won with a clocking of 4 minutes, and 35.45 seconds.
Woodridge went 1-2 in the 3,200-meter race as Blair won with a strong time of 9:53.62 and senior standout Noah Perrin ran second overall with a clocking of 9:55.07.
"Noah returned from illness to take second," pointed out Carney, who should have a big post-season from both distance standouts.
Montgomery has come on strong this spring and captured the 400-meter championship in the PTC Metro with a strong time of 52.02 seconds.
The improving Montgomery beat Cloverleaf's Frank Stepp (52.42) as well as teammate Zach Conroy.
Conroy, a veteran senior for the Bulldogs, ran third overall in the 400-meter race with a time of 53.38 seconds.
"Both Montgomery and Blair also earned first-team all-conference with the winds," noted the coach, who was also pleased with Conroy.
Senior Jaylin Clark came so close to a championship in the 110-meter high hurdles and was edged at the line by Ravenna's talented Denoah Wright.
Wright, who broke the school record for the Ravens in 15.10 seconds in the preliminary heat, was timed at 15.12 seconds to just nip Clark, who crossed in 15.18 seconds.
Clark's runner-up finish was just one of many by the Bulldogs that Carney was excited to see.
Woodridge saw its 3,200-meter relay take second in 8:32.59 behind the running of junior Ryan Kiley, junior Andy Muha, senior Leo Ramsey, and Blair.
The team's 800-meter relay also snagged a runner-up finish with a time of 1:34.60. This cast included senior Dijon White, Conroy, sophomore Carson Lehrer, and senior De'Andre Smith.
Senior Christian Malone was the league runner-up in the high jump as the veteran cleared 5 foot, 8.0 inches.
"Christian got the day started with a second-place finish in the high jump," noted Carney.
Carney also got big points in the long jump as Berkeley Upton finished third overall in the PTC with an effort of 19 feet, 10.25 inches.
Smith sped to a pair of impressive fourth-place finishes in the 100-meter dash and in the 200-meter dash. Jack Willett also grabbed fourth in the 1,600-meter race with a mark of 4:45.71.
In the 100, Smith was fourth with a time of 11.77 seconds. His 200 time was 23.66 seconds, which was just in front of Lehrer, who was fifth in 24.07 ticks.
Woodridge ran fourth in the 1,600-meter relay in 3:41.36 with Montgomery, Kiley, Elliott DeFrange, and Conroy.
Making up the fourth-place 400-meter relay was Aamir Abdullah-Thomas, Lehrer, Dayshawn Garr, and Smith. Their time was 46.38 seconds.
Running fourth and fifth in the open 800-meter race was Kevin Dickon and Kiley, respectively. Dickon crossed in 2:07.59 while Kiley's time was 2:09.24.
In the shot-put competition, Rich Fisher placed fifth for the Bulldogs with a toss of 44-9 feet.
Ben Lahoski and Josh Mally took sixth-place in the long jump and the high jump, respectively. Lahoski was had a long jump of 19-1 feet while Mally cleared 5-4 feet.
Malone added a seventh-place in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.43 seconds) while Angelo Regec was eighth in the discus throw (112-6 feet).
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, email@example.com or @MLeonard_RPC