Tallmadge boys track and field finishes fifth at district meet

Roger Gordon
Tallmadge's anchor runner Riley Murphy finishes in first place in the boy's 4 x100 relay at the Suburban League American conference Championship Track and Field Meet at Tallmadge High School on Friday May 11, 2021.

Riley Murphy took care of business. It was as simple as that.

The Tallmadge junior captured the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches at the Division I district track and field meet at North Canton Hoover, which was held May 19 and May 21.

In the process, Murphy qualified for the regional meet May 26 and May 28 at Austintown-Fitch. The top four finishers at districts advanced to regionals.

“Riley did really well. It was a business-like performance. He came in and took care of what he needed to,” Blue Devils head coach Mike Srodawa said. “He’s put a lot of work in. He does a lot of work away from track. He studies film of himself jumping. We’ve talked with the people who he’s made contact with, and we’ve got some good information.”

Overall at the district meet, Tallmadge finished fifth out of 14 teams with 63 points.

Hoover won the competition with 80 points. Canton McKinley finished second with 67 points and Massillon Perry and Canton GlenOak tied for third with 65 points.

“I thought the boys finishing fifth was a great accomplishment,” said Srodawa. “That’s a very hard district. I expected that we would get to the finals in the events that we did.”

Murphy also qualified for regionals as part of three relays – the 1,600-meter, the 800 and the 400, the latter two that set school records.

Murphy, Nick Cuva, Jared Newenhisen and Ben Hudak teamed to finish third in the 1,600 relay with a time of 3 minutes, 28.29 seconds.

Murphy, Cuva, Hudak and Collin Dixon combined to finish fourth in the 800 relay with a time of 1:30.83.

Murphy, Dixon, Gino Spano and senior Dylan Phelps joined forces to place fourth in the 400 relay with a clocking of 43.64.

“We’re still experimenting with the 1,600 relay,” Srodawa said. “We’ve got six guys who are all really good runners as far the 400 goes. We’re just finding the right combination now.

“We expected the 800 relay to finish where it did. We knew both the 800 and 400 relays would have to run fast, which they did, but I knew that they were both capable of making it out to regionals. They were super-excited. Both relays broke the school record for the second time this season by almost a half-second each.”

Phelps also qualified for the regional meet by finishing second in the high jump with a leap of 6-4, third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.78 and fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.56.

“Dylan has just been continuing what he’s been doing all season long,” Srodawa said. “He’s had a great year.”

Senior Tommy Naiman qualified for regionals in the 1,600 with a second-place clocking of 4:22.43.

“Tommy ran a great race,” said the coach. “We expected a top-four finish from him going in.”

Also advancing to regionals was senior Eli Zander, who finished third in the shot put with a throw of 49-7.5.

“I think individually both Riley and Dylan in the high jump have a good chance of qualifying for state,” Srodawa said. “The same is true of Tommy in the 1,600. With the relays, you never know. If we can make the finals, we’ve got a shot.