Only three events were scored in the first day of action of the Suburban League Track and Field Championships, but host Stow-Munroe Falls was positioned in first place.
Obviously, it was a small sampling of the two-day event that spanned across Tuesday and Thursday in the SL National Conference, but it was a great start for the Bulldogs.
"We had a great first day of the league meet and performed as we expected or better almost across the board," said Bulldog head coach J.K. LeSeure.
Host Stow had strong efforts in events they were supposed to shine in as well as some surprises.
Early on, the Bulldogs set the tone.
"The high point of the day came early with the 3,200-meter relay team of Matt Duffy, Seth Macura, Patrick Bunnell, and Jason Anzaldi improving their season best by almost 15 seconds to take second place in the final," said LeSeure, who also coaches cross country.
"All four members ran personal best splits by several seconds with Jason (Anzaldi) having the fastest leg with a monster 1:57 anchor performance," added the coach.
The relay ran second in the finals in 8 minutes, 11.68 seconds as coming into the meet, five other relays had faster seed times.
Talented Kyle Sommer also had some big races for the Bulldogs.
"Kyle [earned] the top seed in the 400 meters and [ran] within (one-tenth) of a second of the new school record in the 200 meters to make the finals," said LeSeure.
Sommer won the preliminary heat in the open 400-meter race with a blazing time of 50.06 seconds and won the prelims in the 200-meter dash with a fast time of 22.29 seconds.
LeSeure was pumped up after Joe Gresser reached the finals in the 110-meter high hurdles.
Gresser raced to sixth in the 110 high prelims with a superb clocking of 17.37 seconds.
Senior Adrian Woliver was expected to excel in a couple of events and he didn't falter.
Woliver finished second overall in the discus throw as he posted a season-best throw of 166 feet, 2 inches as Brecksville's Tanner Watson broke his own league record with a heave of 188 feet. Brother Chad Woliver also scored in the finals of the discus with a throw of 129-2.
Another final saw Stow's Clayton Mosher place fourth overall in the long jump with a leap of 20-4.
In addition, Joe Barry had a strong meet as he advanced to the finals in the 300-meter hurdles in 42.45 seconds.
Stow also had another great showing at the May 4 Austintown Fitch Optimist Meet — the site of the Division I Regional Championships May 22 and May 24.
Out of 31 schools at the 39th annual Optimist Meet, Stow placed third overall!
Twinsburg won team honors 65.5-64 over Bedford and over Stow (62). The Bulldogs finished ahead of Wadsworth (45.5), Crestview (42), Massillon (42), and Lakewood St. Edward (40), among other clubs.
Last spring, Stow was seventh overall at Fitch. The locals nearly doubled their point total this year.
"We had a very solid day at the Optimist Relays," said LeSeure. "The conditions favored fast times for our distance runners and that really showed with outstanding performances is all four distance events."
That being said, Sommer had some of the top finishes for the Bulldogs in the short races on the track.
Sommer won the championship in the 400-meters in 50.58 seconds at Fitch's Falcon Stadium and took second in the 200 in 22.77 seconds.
"We ran well and placed well in the sprints, but the conditions weren't as favorable for fast sprint times as the entire fields' performances were a little slow," explained the coach.
"Kyle again led our sprinters with a 400-meter win and another strong showing in the 200," he added.
"Cole Shawala started off with a personal best 3,200-meter run," said LeSeure. Shawala was clocked at 10:02.70, which is over a nine-second improvement over 2018.
"Then Macura ran a personal best leg of the 3,200-meter relay with the other three athletes running at or close to season bests," he added. "Patrick Bunnell ran a big personal best 1,600 meters shortly after the 3,200 relay, and Jason Anzaldi ran another great open 800 race to finish second."
Anzaldi was clocked at 2:02 in the 800 for runner-up honors. The 3,200-meter relay ran second in 8:26 with Duffy, Macura, Bunnell, and Anzaldi. Bunnell's time was 4:38.76 in the 1,600.
Adrian Woliver was the runner-up in the shot put with a throw of 56-3 1/. He was fourth in the discus at 151-11.
"I thought Adrian performed to his usual outstanding results in the throws," said LeSeure.
Woliver also ran sixth in the 100-meter dash in 11.715.
Before returning to Fitch for the regionals, Stow athletes must fare well enough in the Nordonia Division I District Championships May 15 and 17.