Tiger track teams get back into big meet form

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Twinsburg Tigers

For the first time this spring, the Twinsburg boys and girls track teams competed in a big-meet atmosphere and for good measure, the Tigers did so with great success.

Twinsburg’s girls team finished fifth overall out of 13 schools with 57 points at Saturday’s 32nd annual Tom Fesko Medina Relays at Ken Dukes Stadium.

Powerful Medina won the team crown for the girls with 121.5 points to beat strong teams from Brunswick (84.5), Boardman (76) and Avon Lake (74.5).

In a loaded boys’ field of 15 teams, Twinsburg placed 10th overall. Solon won over Austintown-Fitch, Medina, Brunswick, Cleveland St. Ignatius, Boardman, and Lakewood St. Edward.

Girls head coach Sarah Kmet was pleased with the weeks’ action as was boys’ head coach Anthony Byrd.

“The cooperative weather this week was much appreciated and we were rewarded with some nice performances,” said Kmet.

Freshman Savannah Swanda continues to impress for the Lady Tigers and in the sprint events – an area where Twinsburg is loaded with talent.

Swanda was the runner-up at Medina in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.01 seconds. Only Medina standout Rachael Smith had a faster time (12.63).

Racing to a second-place in the 800-meter sprint medley to Medina, Twinsburg posted a time of 1-minurte and 52.52 seconds.

This quartet included junior Akira Johnson, Swanda, freshman Marissa Henderson, and junior Sophie Besett.

Johnson also ran a big 200-meter dash race as she was third in 27.06 seconds, only losing to Medina’s Smith (26.09) and Solon senior Destiny Nash (27.00).

“Our sprinters picked up major points for us in the sprint medley, Swanda in the 100-meters, and Johnson in the 200-meters,” said Kmet. “Despite a dropped baton in the 400-meter relay at Medina, our short relays are quickly improving based on their performances against Cuyahoga Falls.”

That group includes freshman Bree Banach, Swanda, Johnson, and junior Rana Thornton.

“Katie Vasiliauskas picked up six points for us at Medina in the 3,200-meter race and although it was not the result we were looking for, she ran a smart, confident race that served as a valuable learning experience,” said Kmet.

Vasiliauskas ran third overall in the 3,200 race at Medina. She was clocked at 12:20.96.

“We also had nice 800-meter debuts from (freshman) Caroline Boskelly in the 3,200 relay and Sophie Besett in the distance medley,” said Kmet.

Twinsburg’s throwers excelled once again, led by senior Nighyah Carthen.

“Our trio of throwers, Carthen, junior Ciera Tragis, and sophomore Sophie Adick, finished first in the discus and third in the shot put,” noted Kmet. “Carthen placed second overall (individually) in the discus and fourth in the shot, making her the top overall thrower of the meet.”

Twinsburg won the discus relay, led by Carthen (108-feet and 11 inches), Adick (84-2), and Tragis (76-10).

Pacing Twinsburg in its third-place shot put effort was Carthen (39-0), Adick (29-10), and Tragis (27-9).

The boys team also had some strong efforts at Medina.

The boys 800-meter sprint medley team placed third at Medina with an outstanding time of 1:37.72 behind the running of seniors Chris Wilson, Alex Branch, and Antoine Brown, along with junior anchor Logan Doyle.

Running fifth for the boys was the distance medley crew (11:20.10) with junior Aiden Cain, junior Ryan Mulenga, sophomore Aiden Bennage, and Sam Wales-McGrath.

The 400-meter relay ran seventh in a strong field with a time of 44.20 seconds. Making up this relay was Wilson, Brown, Doyle and Branch.

Kmet, who also coaches the distance runners for the boys, was excited about Wales-McGrath.

“Sam (Wales-McGrath) debuted as one of the fastest freshmen in school history over 3,200 meters this week,” said the coach. “His 10:05 at Medina was smart and tactical and showed a level of composure you don’t typically see in young runners.”

Wales-McGrath placed fifth overall at Medina in the 3,200 race.

Branch scored in the 100-meter dash as he was eighth in 11.51 ticks. The 1,600 relay (3:40.79) was seventh behind the efforts of Brown, Cain, Doyle, and Branch. Wilson led Twinsburg in the long jump at 19-1 feet (13th).

Junior Tyson Jacobs led the team in the discus (112-1 feet) and helped Twinsburg score in the shot put relay with a 10th-place throw of 43-7 feet. Freshman Don Genova (33-6) and junior Jack Morley (32-3) also contributed.

In other girls’ action at Medina, Twinsburg’s 1,600-meter relay was fifth and had a time of 4:21.71 with sophomore Arriah Gilmer, Thornton, Boskelly and Besett.

Senior Nicole Abraham scored in the 100-meter hurdles (19.05).

Tiger coaches were happy to see the girls’ pole vault relay score thanks to the efforts of sophomore Jillian Sayoc and senior Kara Pruett, who tied for 11th at 7-0 feet.

Twinsburg’s high jump relay scored with junior Sydnee Donegan (fourth overall at 4-10 feet), sophomore Gabrielle Levy (16th at 4-3), and freshman Jadyn James.

Another score for the Tigers came in the long jump relay with Gilmer (13th at 14-2.75 feet), Donegan (19th at 13-5.75), and sophomore Dakota Kinney (25th at 12-8).

The 6,400-meter relay scored with a time of 25:14.16 (eighth) with Vasiliauskas, junior Ava Turner, sophomore Cordi Firem, and junior Jessica Abrams. The distance medley crew also scored (14:55.97) with Turner, Firem, Besett, and Abrams.

In a league dual meet, Twinsburg’s boys defeated Cuyahoga Falls 81-56 April 7 at home and the Tiger girls team won 97-40. Both clubs moved to 1-1.

For the boys, junior Josh Mikulka won the 110-meter high hurdles (16.2) and the 300 hurdles (44.2), Jacobs won the shot put (43-0.2.5), Doyle captured the 400 race (54.1), and Cain won the 800-meters (2:03.9).

The relays swept for the boys as the 800-meter team won in 1:32.2 with Wilson, Brown, Doyle and Branch. The same crew won the 400 relay in 44.80 ticks.

Also winning for the boys as the 1,600-meter relay (3:43.3) of Cain, senior Mason Dickson, Bennage and Mulenga.

“We got big personal bests out of Bennage, Koren Goss, Haridu Peiris and Mulenga this week alone - all are underclassmen, so the future is bright,” said Kmet. “Aiden Cain has the greatest range on the team and can compete in anything from 400 meters to 3,200 meters. His speed and endurance are real assets to the team.”

The victorious 3,200-meter relay was timed at 9:13.2 with Wales-McGrath, Dickson, sophomore Max Howard and Trevor Dow.

In girls’ action against Falls, Carthen won the discus with a fabulous throw of 125-0.75 feet and won the shot put with an effort of 39-0 feet. Gilmer and Pruett were winners in the long jump and pole vault (distances were not available at press time).

Johnson and Swanda raced to a 1-2 finish in the 200-meter dash. Johnson crossed in 25.9 ticks and Swanda, in 26.1.

Swanda and Johnson ran 1-2 in the 100-meter dash with times of 12.50 and 12.60, respectively. They also ran in the winning 800 relay (1:47.4) with Banach and Thornton and the first-place 400 relay (51.2) with Banach and Thornton.

The 3,200-meter relay won with Vasiliauskas, Firem, Lauren McClung, and Isabel Dickson.

In the open 400 race, Besett won in 63.9 ticks and Boskelly was second (67.0). Vasiliauskas and Turner ran 1-2 in the 800 with times of 2:33.3 and 2:53.9, respectively.

Abrams won the 3,200-meter race in 14:36.5 and the team’s 1,600-meter relay won in 4:24.2 with Gilmer, Thornton, Sanaya Ruffin, and Besett.