Bulldog boys track team already racking hardware

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Stow-Munroe Falls Bulldogs

Stow’s boys track and field team is getting a lot accomplished in a short period of time.

The Bulldogs have collected some hardware already this season, but it’s how Stow is getting it all done that is so stirring.

Besides being threats in a variety of events, the Bulldogs have also managed meets well in the early season, and Stow is also creating strong depth in more than just a few events.

“Overall, our balance and being able to score points in all three areas - sprints, distance, and field events - was what allowed us to win the meet,” expressed Stow head coach J.K. LeSeure, after Saturday’s Nordonia Knight Relays.

The Bulldogs seized the team title at the Knight Relays by outscoring a cast of teams from the Suburban League.

Edging league rival Nordonia 105-95 was a huge victory for Stow, which also beat powerful University School (92), plus league foe Brecksville (74).

Capturing the 110-meter high hurdles race was Jo Barry, who cruised to victory in 15.67 seconds.

Another Bulldog standout, Xavier Preston, crossed first in the 100-meter dash and won easily in 11.04 seconds.

“Jo and Xavier had great wins in the two open events and scored big points for us there,” declared LeSeure.

One of the featured events was the 800-meter relay – both Stow and Nordonia are threats in the Suburban League this spring, plus a good University School crew was in the event as well.

Nordonia edged the Bulldogs in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1-minute and 30.33 seconds. The Dogs crossed in 1:31.58.

“I think every time we race Nordonia in the 800-meter relay, it’s going to be a must-see event,” pointed out LeSeure. “We both have a great relay. We didn’t execute perfectly on Saturday and anytime that happens, Nordonia’s going to make you pay.”

Stow’s relay had Mykal Azar, Preston, Barry, and Clayton Mosher. That should be a foursome to contend with as the season goes on.

Another gifted quartet led Stow to victory in the 800-meter sprint medley (1:35.55). This was Azar, Mosher, Preston, and Bryce Turner.

Nailing down a long jump championship for the Bulldogs was Mosher, who helped Stow to first place with the best jump of the meet at 22-feet and 4.25 inches.

It was nearly Mosher’s best leap as the Bulldogs are loaded with good long jumpers.

“Clayton has been long jumping very well all year and was the state runner-up indoors,” explained LeSeure. “He’s been very consistent and has continued to make steady progress.”

“He has worked very hard both with his long jump technique and to improve his overall speed,” added the coach. “That has helped his long Jump and made him a great contributor in the sprints as well.”

Versatile Stephen Mangira helped the Bulldogs’ long jump crew as he was fourth at Nordonia with an effort of 19-7.5 feet. Vance Sheppert also had a leap of 17-3 feet.

Stow’s 6,400-meter relay captured a title at Nordonia with a time of 19:15.28.

The Bulldogs also easily won the distance medley posting a clocking of 11:21.45.

“The 6,400-meter relay and the DMR (distance medley relay) did go well for us,” said LeSeure. “Looking at the history of this meet, we felt like we’d do well if we ran like we felt we could. We did run solidly and were able to compete strongly.”

“Both Seth Macura and Zach Shawala doubled to run both relays, so a big part of our success was to manage the events to ensure they were set to come back and race well in the DMR.”

“That’s a big double for this early in the season and they executed extremely well,” proclaimed LeSeure.

Joining the talents of Macura and Shawala in the DMR was Henry Brosch and Tyler Whited.

Running with Shawala and Macura in the 6,400-meter relay was Micah Bentley and Connor Scarberry.

Collecting a second-place, Stow’s discus throw relay was led by Mangira, who had a strong toss of 116-7 feet, which was fourth overall.

Support for Mangira came from sixth-place Luke Streharsky, who had a best throw of 112-2 feet, and Courtney Reynolds, who added a throw of 101-4 feet.

Stow’s shot put relay finished third and was led by Darius Collier’s outstanding throw of 41-7.5 feet. He was fifth overall while Reynolds was seventh at 38-6.5 feet, and Mangira added a toss of 33-9.

“We had four throwers make up our 3-person relays for each throwing event and all four had a personal best throw in either shot or discus,” said a jubilant LeSeure. “This kind of performance put us in a great position and they scored well in both events.”

Behind a great high jump, Preston enabled Stow to win the high jump relay. Preston cleared 6-2.25 feet for second behind Nordonia’s Matt Hayes, who reached 6-4.

“Xavier hasn't competed in the high jump since the indoor season last year so this was his first time out this year and two-inch PR is a good way to start out,” commented LeSeure.

Joining Preston in the high jump was Sheppert and Bryce Turner, who both reached 5-6 feet.

Adding a third-place was the Bulldog’s 400-meter relay with a time of 44.83 seconds, just behind Nordonia (44.27) and winner University School, which ran its best race in 43.71 seconds.

Comprising the 400-meter relay was Azar, Brian Turner, Dustin Horner, and Ben Weber.

Pacing the Bulldogs in the pole vault was Luke Cimera, who had a strong effort of 10-0 feet. Erik Polisena also scored at 8-0 feet.

In upcoming Suburban League National Conference action, Stow (2-0) hosts Nordonia April 21, travels to Twinsburg April 27, and is at Hudson April 29. All meets start at 4 p.m