Talented Tallmadge track squads looking for big spring

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Tallmadge Blue Devils

The Tallmadge girls track and field team has talented individuals in almost every event.

“We’re going to do well at bigger meets as far as invitationals and relays,” Blue Devils head coach Mike Srodawa said. “I think we’ll definitely hold our own there. Our lack of depth might hurt us in some of the dual meets, though.”

Leading the way for Tallmadge will be juniors Mia Hurst and Allison Harrell. Hurst’s main events are the sprints, while Harrell concentrates on the high jump, hurdles and sprints.

“The fact that Mia was a regional qualifier as a freshman helps. She got some experience there,” said Srodawa, who begins his 23rd season as head coach. “Allison is a former gymnast. She was a regional qualifier and placer at regionals in the high jump her freshman year. She also qualified for indoor states in that event her freshman and sophomore years.”

Other returning athletes to the team include senior Anna Siesel in the pole vault, senior Kelsey Bellman in the distance events and junior Katrina Hunt also in distance.

Also returning are senior Mackenzie Moran (middle distance), senior Vanessa Dao (throws) and junior Esther Layton (throws).

One newcomer to the team who is expected to score major points is junior Ana Crangle in the distance events.

“The fact that Ana has been a two-time state qualifier in cross country is a great thing,” Srodawa said.

Other newcomers to watch are juniors Sam Miles and Megan Reifsnyder; sophomores Kat Carter, Madigan Clum and Julia Onchak; and freshmen Bell Messina, Ella Snyder and Kate Archer.

According to the coach, the Suburban League American Conference will be as tough as usual.

“Revere is going to be pretty good this year, and Highland is always good,” he said. “So are Aurora and Copley. But we’ll be competitive with all those teams, though. It’s just that, in some areas, like the hurdles, we won’t have enough depth.”

The Tallmadge boys team has some serious depth.

“We also have some standout athletes, so we should do well in both dual meets and bigger meets,” said Srodawa, also the boys head coach. “Our standout athletes should have no problem hanging with athletes from Division I schools.”

Pacing the Blue Devils will be senior Tommy Naiman in the distance events, his classmate Dylan Phelps in the sprints, hurdles and jumps and junior Riley Murphy in the high jump.

“With the success Tommy has had the last two years with cross country, he’s definitely the strongest I’ve seen him,” Srodawa said. “He’s put in a lot of work in the offseason.

“Dylan has also worked hard in the offseason over the last year. He’s definitely stronger than he was as a sophomore. We’re looking from good things from him.

“Riley will definitely be one to watch. He’s tall and he’s got the best vertical jump on our team. He was All-State as a freshman.”

Other returning athletes include seniors Dawson Ansley (distance), Eli Zander (throws), Gunther Zehner (throws), Will Hudak (jumps and sprints) and Reid Gibson (pole vault) and juniors Ben Hudak (Will’s brother, jumps and sprints) and Cole Thomas (sprints and hurdles).

Newcomers to watch are sophomores Collin Dixon, Nick Cuva, Gino Spano, Jake Tokash and Angelo Miller and freshmen Colin Adams and Joey Naiman.

The coach said that Highland and Aurora will be the teams to beat in the American Conference.

“I feel that both the boys and girls teams should finish in the top half of the conference and should do well at districts,” he said.

Srodawa’s assistant coaches are John Gergely, Jeremy Huth, Mike Hay, Dave Staszak and Elliot Tedquist.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to open the season at the Newton Falls Tiger Invitational April 3 at 10 a.m.