Elite field at GlenOak humbles Twinsburg track teams

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Twinsburg Tigers

It was sudden, but its overall strength was like jumping into a cold lake this time of year.

That was how the Twinsburg track and field program felt after competing in the difficult GlenOak Second Sole Eagle Elite meet.

For the program’s young athletes, it was a wake-up call for an early season meet, as the action in Canton was more like a district or regional field of teams.

A loaded meet for both the boys and girls teams, the Tiger girls finished seventh out of 21 teams.

The Tiger boys netted 17 points against a deep field that included team champion New Philadelphia, Mentor, Copley, Strongsville, Medina, Cleveland St. Ignatius, and North Canton Hoover.

In the rugged girls’ field, Mentor won with 115 points, followed by Medina 78.3, Massillon Jackson 55.25, Hudson 51, Euclid 47, Salem 41, Twinsburg 37.3, Lexington 36.25, and Shaker Heights (36).

“It was truly an elite field and we probably won’t see a field this deep until regionals,” said Tiger girls head coach Sarah Kmet.

Twinsburg’s girls had a solid meet while the youthful boys continue to make strides under boy’s head coach Anthony Byrd.

“Freshman Savannah Swanda and sophomore Arriah Gilmer continue to impress in their debut seasons as each scored points for us in the 100 and 200 meters, respectively,” remarked Kmet.

The Tigers remain strong in the sprint relays and open sprint races.

“Our sprint relays also continue to be strong,” offered Kmet.

Gilmer had a fast finish in a heated 200-meter dash race as she ran fourth with a time of 26.81 seconds.

Swanda raced to a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.82 seconds. Freshman Bree Banach ran seventh in the 200 in 27.71 ticks.

Twinsburg’s 400-meter relay remains a threat as the crew raced to a runner-up finish to powerful Euclid (50.29) with a time of 50.32 seconds.

Comprising the 400 relay was Banach, Swanda, junior Akira Johnson, and junior Rana Thornton.

The 800-meter relay ram fourth in a loaded field with a time of 1:48.57 behind the efforts of Gilmer, Swanda, Johnson, and Thornton, who is the anchor runner on both of the 400 and 800-meter relays.

Kmet was also impressed with veteran thrower Nighyah Carthen.

“Once again, Nighyah continues to rack up points for us in the field,” pointed out Kmet.

Carthen, a senior, was a runner-up at GlenOak in the discus throw with a heave of 117-feet and 9.0 inches. She placed fourth overall in the shot put with a throw of 36-4.25 feet.

Among the Tiger’s boys leaders in the GlenOak meet was junior Josh Mikulka, who was a double placer.

Mikulka crossed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a clocking of 43.75 seconds. He raced to a fifth-place effort in the boys’ 110-meter high hurdles. His time was 16.43 seconds.

“It was another week of practice and our young athletes got better and became more experienced,” stressed Byrd. “The more practice time our veteran and young athletes spend together the more cohesive our team becomes.”

Junior Logan Doyle scored in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.37 seconds.

In addition, the 800-meter relay scored with a time of 1:33.32 with senior Chris Wilson, freshman Steve Carmack, Doyle, and senior anchor Alex Branch.

To the delight of Byrd, the Tiger’s 1,600-meter relay ran a strong sixth-place in 3:35.35 behind the running of Doyle, junior Aiden Cain, sophomore Ryan Mulenga, and Branch.

Kmet, who coaches the distance runners, had praise to deal out.

“Aiden Cain ran a really nice 800-meter race in a personal best time of 2:02.20,” noted the coach. “I am confident Aiden will be under 2-minutes come postseason.”

Cain placed sixth overall in the 800-meter race.

“Sam Wales-McGrath continues his stellar rookie season and his 4:37 in the 1,600-meters ranks him the third best among freshmen in Ohio,” said Kmet.

Kmet commented on the girls’ distance running.

“It was a tough day for the girls’ distance crew, although we did have several season bests,” said the coach. “Senior Katie Vasiliauskas ran a nice 1,600 in 5:35 and junior Sophie Besett just missed scoring in the 800 (2:27.30).”

Senior Kara Pruett scored in the pole vault as she had an effort of 7-0 feet.

Twinsburg’s girls squad posted a league road win (70-67) at North Royalton while the boys were big 84-53 winners over the Bears April 14.

Boys’ highlights include a victory by Commack in the high jump with a superb effort of 6-0 feet.

In addition, Mikulka had a double win in the hurdles with a 44.1-second 300 race and a time of 16.77 ticks in the 110 highs.

Branch won the 100-meter dash in 11.0 seconds and junior Tyson Jacobs was double winner in the throws. Jacobs had a shot put toss of 43-7.5 feet and a 120-9-foot effort in the discus.

All season Byrd has talked about how the Tigers boys have picked up their teammates when they need to. Marks and times are improving.

“Our athletes just continue to work and their times continue to improve with each week as it should be,” commented Byrd.

With a blazing time of 26.7 seconds, Gilmer had a huge 200-meter dash race for the Lady Tigers.

Carthen had winning throws of 37-5 feet in the shot put and 118-9 feet in the discus.