Dylan Phelps, Kelsey Bellman continue to impress for Tallmadge track and field

Roger Gordon
Tallmadge Blue Devils

Dylan Phelps is taking track and field much more seriously than he did two years ago.

The Tallmadge senior is more focused, more driven, more goal-setting than he was as a sophomore.

“Dylan is always willing to put extra time in to perfecting stuff, the hurdles and high jump being very technical events,” Blue Devils head coach Mike Srodawa said. “He’s been solid all year. His times have consistently come down in all of the hurdling events that he’s done.

“We’re trying him in a couple of different events here in the next couple weeks. He’s a very talented athlete. I’m sure that we could probably put him in any event that we want to, and he’d perform at a scoring level.”

Phelps’ latest exploits came April 30 at the Field Relays. He was part of both the winning high jump relay with a leap of 6 feet and the winning 400-meter relay — of which he was the anchor — that had a time of 44.8 seconds. Phelps also captured the 300 hurdles, which was an open event, with a time of 41.3.

“Dylan’s time in the 300 hurdles was one of the fastest times he’s had all season,” said Srodawa. “He’s consistently been over 6 feet in the high jump, and he’s a huge part of our 400 relay team. He had another solid night.”

Overall, Tallmadge finished second in the five-team competition with 69 points. Field won with 73 points.

On May 4 the Blue Devils dominated Barberton on the road 100-28 to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Phelps, who also played football for Tallmadge, is one of the team leaders.

“He’s one of our emotional leaders as far as getting the kids pumped up and that type of thing,” Srodawa said. “That’s a role that he relishes. He’s a pleasure to have on our team. He’s a great kid.”

According to the coach, Phelps could do some damage in the postseason.

“I feel in several events he has an outstanding shot of advancing out of districts to regionals,” he said. “Once you get to regionals, who knows? A lot of funny stuff happens there.”

As for the Tallmadge girls track and field team, senior Kelsey Bellman is having an outstanding season.

At the Field Relays, Bellman, who also ran cross country for Tallmadge, was the Blue Devils’ leadoff runner in the winning 1,600 relay that had a time of 23:30.

“That’s an event we don’t run a lot of, so all the girls were excited about that,” said Srodawa, also the girls head coach. “Kelsey set the pace. There were some pretty good distance teams there, Field especially. Crestwood was there, Norton was there. So to have Kelsey going up against some better competition to start off, that race was good.”

Overall, Tallmadge finished second out of five teams with 56 points. Kent Roosevelt won the title.

In the Blue Devils’ 113-15 victory over Barberton, Bellman was the anchor on Tallmadge’s winning 1,600 relay that had a time of 4:52.8. She was also part of the winning 3,200 relay that had a clocking of 12:24. On top of that, she finished second with a time of 6:25 in the 1,600.

The Blue Devils improved to 4-2 on the season.

“Kelsey has been a solid part of our 1,600 relay team. She’s anchored that,” Srodawa said. “She’s a big part of our 3,200 relay, which has a pretty good shot at advancing out of districts to regionals. Her times have dropped and she’s scored points in the 1,600 and 3,200.

“Kelsey is an extremely hard worker. Overall for the season and for the last four years, she’s been a big part of the team. She’s a vocal leader. The kids listen to her and respond to her. She’s positive all the time.

“She’s extremely team-oriented. It’s not about her, it’s always about the team and what the team needs, which is a good trait. The other kids follow that. She’s always cheering on other people when she’s not in her events.”

Bellman, who plans on studying nursing at the University of Cincinnati, is very strong mentally when it comes to track.

“When she has a bad race, she doesn’t dwell on it,” said Srodawa. “She has the ability to put it out of her mind and move on. That’s a great trait to have.”