Twinsburg track goes big in early season meets

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Twinsburg Tigers

Twinsburg boys and girls track squads competed in the season opener and there were some eye-opening performances by a young cast of athletes.

Senior Nighyah Carthen tossed the shot put 40-feet and 7.5 inches for the Tigers.

That was huge for Twinsburg, which opened the season at Nordonia with some outstanding efforts.

“This is an incredibly impressive opening throw by Nighyah and ranks her as one of the best in the area,” said girls coach Sarah Kmet.

Along with veteran performers the boys and girls teams both have a solid mix, but is a bit on the young side.

Tiger boys head coach Anthony Byrd coaches the throwers so he was thrilled to see Carthen’s effort, plus the boy throwers perform well, and the rest of the boys’ marks against a quality foe in Nordonia.

“The coaching staff felt we were prepared and would compete against a very good Nordonia team, and we competed well,” said Byrd.

Twinsburg did not get results for all the Tigers at Nordonia as some were partial results, but the coach sees a lot of promise with the girls’ young classes.

“There is lots of promise in both our freshmen and sophomore class — both of these grade levels have never competed at the high school level,” said Kmet, as the Nordonia girls won 72.5-64.5.

“Freshmen Savannah Swanda and Bree Banach and sophomore Arriah Gilmer showed enormous potential and are meshing well with our junior class leaders Sophie Besett, Akira Johnson and Rana Thornton,” said Kmet.

The winning girls 3,200-meter relay team was clocked at 11:14.86 and included Katie Vasiliauskas, Ava Tuner, Lauren McClung, and Cordi Firem.

“Senior Katie Vasiliauskas put the 3,200-meter relay in the early lead for the eventual win and ran away with the victory in the (open 3,200 race),” said Kmet.

Vasiliauskas crossed in 12:34.24 to nail down the 3,200-meter victory.

“Junior Ava Turner and sophomore Cordi Firem also picked up points for us in the distance events,” added Kmet. Turner ran second in the 1,600 (6:18.24).

Carthen also won the discus throw with a toss of 103-5.25 feet.

In the 100-meter dash, Johnson won in 12.91 seconds while Swanda ran a 13.05 race, and Thornton was third in 13.43 seconds.

The 800-meter relay won in 1:49.93 with Banach, Swanda, Johnson, and Thornton.

In the 200 for the Tigers was Gilmer capturing first in 27.67 seconds, followed by Swanda in 27.85 ticks, Thornton and Besett at 28.11 ticks; plus Banach, who crossed in 28.67. Senior Logan Pride had the fastest open 400 time of 1:07.57.

Nicole Abraham led the Lady Tigers in the hurdles as she was second in the 100 hurdles in 18.96 seconds and was timed at 58.22 in the 300.

The winning 1,600-meter relay crossed in 4:43.45 behind the running of Gilmer, Johnson, Sanaya Ruffin, and Devan Wilson.

On spring break last week, Twinsburg had quite a few athletes missing for both teams.

Byrd also saw some good performances as the boys lost 92-45 to a strong Nordonia unit March 31. The boys had big wins over the Knights in several events.

“We competed well in the running events, but our youth and inexperience in our relay teams and the field events of pole vault, long jump, and high jump, it showed,” explained Byrd.

“Seniors Alex Branch (who ran first in the 100) and Antoine Brown (first in the 200), and junior Aiden Cain (first in the 3,200) led us in scoring in running events,” added Byrd.

Brown, who also runs in sprint relays, won the 200-meter dash in 23.40 seconds.

Promising Sam Wales-McGrath blazed to victory in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4:47.37. He also ran third in the 800 (2:14.90).

Byrd indicated that Wales-McGrath is a talented freshman while Kmet also raved about his debut.

“Sam Wales-McGrath easily won his first high school race in the 1,600,” said Kmet, who coaches the distance runners. “I am very excited to see what Sam can do when tested with competition.”

Distance standout Aiden Cain had a big meet.

“Aiden Cain ran an excellent lead-off leg of the 3,200-meter relay to give us a huge lead good enough for the eventual win and he also solo’d an impressive 10:18 in the 3,200 for the win,” said Kmet.

Rangy and strong junior thrower Tyson Jacobs fared well.

Jacobs saw his shot put throw travel longer than anyone with a heave of 44-11.5 feet. He also was third in the discus with a toss of 101.1.5 feet.

Freshman Dom Genova was second in the discus at 117-2.75 feet. Byrd had plenty of praise for both throwers – Jacobs and Genova.

Twinsburg’s 3,200-meter relay won with a time of 9:06.75 as Aiden Bennage, Haridu Peiris, and Max Howard teamed up.

“Sophomore Aiden Bennage had a really nice day and made it clear that he will be a valuable contributor the next three years,” said Kmet.

A speedy Branch sped to victory in the 100-meter dash in 11.52 ticks.

Travis Smith placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 18.99 seconds, plus Chris Wilson and Logan Doyle had times of 11.69 and 11.79, respectively, in the 100. Wilson was third in the 200 (24.18).

Another contribution from the girls team was junior Ciera Tragis, who had a discus toss of 82-1.5 feet.

“It felt great to see our athletes be able to go out and compete in a track meet after sitting out last season,” stressed Byrd. “To see the smiles and the determined demeanor on many of the athletes’ faces as they competed is all any coach could hope for.”

“The nice thing about track is there is a short turn around before the next track meet (Wednesday vs. Cuyahoga Falls) and after a loss like this, athletes will push themselves more, train harder, and be more determined going forward,” added Byrd.