Dortch leads Falls boys track to historic win over Bears

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Cuyahoga Falls

The last two track seasons have not gone too well for Christian Dortch.

The Cuyahoga Falls junior suffered a season-ending foot injury early in his freshman season. Then last year’s season was wiped out by COVID-19.

“Christian hasn’t run competitively really at all in high school,” Black Tigers head coach Dan Scourfield said. “He showed all kinds of promise as an eighth grader, and he’s finally healthy now.”

Dortch is taking full advantage of his opportunity. He captured first place in two individual events and was the anchor on two relay teams that helped Cuyahoga Falls to an 89-43 season-opening victory April 3 at home over Suburban League National Conference rival North Royalton.

Dortch won both the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.3 seconds and the 200 with a time of 23.9 seconds. He helped both the 400 relay win with a time of 44 and the 800 relay win with a clocking of 1:38.

On Wednesday, Dortch had another sensational day despite the Black Tigers’ 84-53 loss at National Conference rival Twinsburg. He won both the 100 with a time of 11 and the 200 with a time of 22.8.

Dortch also was part of both the second-place 400 relay that finished with a time of 44.9 and the second-place 800 relay that had a time of 1:33.5. Both relays finished a just tenth of a second behind first place.

“Twinsburg has always kind of been the gold standard for sprinting in the National Conference,” said Scourfield. “So we wanted to go out and put our sprinters in a situation and see exactly how competitive they could be, and they were. They competed really well, led by Christian. He was composed all the way through. His 100 and 200 were lightning-fast races. He’s just going to get faster.

“One of the things I really appreciate about Christian is that he has a quiet confidence about him. You hardly ever know he’s even there. He’s not real loud. He’s just such a quiet force.

"He’s a blast to watch and a lot of fun to coach. He is a coach’s dream. Anything I ask him to do, he’s 100 percent coachable. I love having him around. I’m so happy for him that he’s healthy. He wants to get better. He’s a real positive influence on his teammates. He just goes out and does his job.”

According to Scourfield, Dortch can have a memorable postseason come the month of May.

“Obviously, he has to stay healthy,” he said. “I think individually he can go far. I think also, as the relay members become more consistent and confident in each other, I think they can go quite a ways too.”

As for the Cuyahoga Falls girls track and field team, one team member who has taken the season by storm early on is sophomore Ellie Brustoski.

She had three first-place finishes and a third-place finish in leading the Black Tigers to a 72-65 win over North Royalton.

Brustoski captured the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.6, the 300 hurdles with a time of 50 and the high jump with a leap of 4-10. Her pole vault leap was 7.

“We knew what we were getting with Ellie because we saw her as an eighth grader,” said Scourfield, also the girls head coach. “And she pretty much did those things as an eighth grader as far as the hurdles and the high jump. So there wasn’t any surprise to it other than she’s pretty poised. This is her first high school competition because she didn’t get to do anything last year because of COVID. She’s a fun kid and she’s excitable, but she keeps her composure pretty well.”

Brustoski turned in three more first-place finishes despite her team falling 94-43 to Twinsburg. She won the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.6, the 300 hurdles with a time of 50.8 and the high jump with a leap of 5-1.

“The competition in this meet was a little better than the North Royalton meet, and Ellie did the exact same thing. She was unfazed,” Scourfield said. “In the high jump, she really started to put some things together that she struggled with against North Royalton. She worked on it a little bit in practice, and she was able to put it to practice in this meet.”

According to her coach, Brustoski is a team leader to a certain extent.

“She fits right into the group of senior girls, which includes her older sister Emma, that I have,” he said.

Scourfield believes Brustoski’s fine work ethic will allow her to have a very happy postseason.

“As long as she continues to work on the technique part of it,” he said, “I think she can advance out beyond the district level. She has that kind of talent.”