Nordonia boys' sprinters show their caliber at Walsh

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Nordonia Knights

Scott Barwidi realizes that his boys 800-meter relay has the potential to do some damage this spring.

The veteran Knight track and field head coach saw the relay as well as other boys and girls performers excel in a big meet setting.

Against a wealth of talent and some very good teams, Nordonia scored in some key events competing at the Walsh Jesuit John Hasenstab Warrior Relays Saturday.

Among some of the top threats for Nordonia this spring, the boys’ 800-meter relay had a big victory at Walsh.

“We have thought for some time that our 800-meter team will be one of our very best relays this season,” said Barwidi.

Comprising the relay is junior standout Matt Hayes, senior Marvahun Johnson, junior Ryan Kinch, and senior anchor runner Jonathan Banks.

There are loads of experience in the 800-meter relay and it’s a group with a nice up-side.

“This relay still has some more work to do in its progression, but we are excited about what the relay can do,” explained Barwidi.

At Walsh, the relay grabbed first place with a clocking of 1:30.08, Nordonia beat a talented young relay from Solon (1:30.64) and Cleveland Benedictine.

Going up against some strong teams in boys competition Nordonia held its own, placing fifth overall in Walsh’s 15-team field.

Powerful Solon beat Walsh for team honors 120-104 while University School was third (80), followed by Massillon Perry (76.5) and Nordonia (65).

The Knights did finish ahead of league power Stow-Munroe Falls (62.5), plus Medina Highland (59), Brecksville (48), and Bedford (45).

Nordonia’s girls placed eighth out of 15 schools with 56 points in a loaded field won by Highland (124).

“I thought we did about what we expected at Walsh – we wanted to lighten the load a bit because it’s such a big meet, and we were pleased,” commented Barwidi on his boys and girl’s teams.

Hayes has another outstanding meet as he snagged a pair of individual titles at Walsh.

In the 200-meter dash, Hayes beat a strong field of sprinters to speed his way to victory with a time of 22.58 seconds. He beat Walsh’s Dom Grguric (22.84), Solon standout Matt Myers, Maple Heights’ Nushawn Grant, and Stow’s Jo Barry.

Thanks to a blazing time of 22.53 ticks, Hayes also won the preliminary heat in impressive fashion.

Hayes helped Nordonia to a first-place in the high jump relay by winning individual honors with a jump of 6-0 feet. Also in the Knights’ crew was senior Ridwan Umar and junior Josh Tokert, who both tied for seventh overall at 5-feet and 6.0 inches.

“Matt had a really good day,” offered Barwidi. “He has got some very good speed and we’ll see where he can go for us this season - he can do a lot of things for us.”

The Knights also nailed down a title in the 1,600-meter relay as this group posted a time of 3:30.66 with a quartet of Banks, sophomore Matt Cooper, junior Daylon Brown, and Kinch.

“We are excited about our 1,600-meter relay as well – this is one of the relays we knew would be good and we had a runner out of that relay at Walsh,” noted the coach. “We have some younger kids, but we have a nice mix and Banks got us out with an early lead.”

With a time of 52.21 seconds, Banks raced to a third-place in the 400-meter dash.

There were plenty of highlights for Nordonia girls team.

Senior Taniah Thomas was the runner-up at Walsh with a second-place effort of 5-0 feet.

Howland standout Madison Sisler captured the high jump crown with a jump of 5-2 feet, but Thomas beat a host of jumpers from clubs in the two divisions of the Suburban League.

“Taniah had a really good meet for us and this week she reached 5-feet in both meets,” said Barwidi, alluding to the Knights’ recent battle against league rival Hudson.

“She (Thomas) has been working through an early injury this season,” he added. “I think Taniah has a good opportunity to have a good end of the season.”

Junior Emily Eterovich continues to impress in the pole vault as the girls were runners-up.

Eterovich was third overall in the pole vault with an effort of 10-6 feet. Juniors Maddy Soder (8-0) and Riley Marxen (7-0) also helped the team place second.

The boys pole vault crew also scored, led by senior Alex Hungerford, who was sixth with an effort of 12-0 feet. Junior Bryan Russ reached 10-6 feet.

“We had some PRs this week in the pole vault by both of our teams and I think we are progressing very well in the pole vault,” explained Barwidi.

Senior Hallie Majoros ran third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.63 seconds for the Knights.

Alexis Hives had a fourth-place race in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles as the sophomore was timed at 17.36 seconds.

Led by seniors Divine Godspower-Odiong and DeeDee Adkins, Nordonia scored in the discus and the shot put relay events.

Godspower-Odiong had a third-place effort of 114-feet in the discus competition. Adkins added a throw of 82-4 feet and sophomore Olivia Leepart had a toss of 70-8 feet.

Helping Thomas in the girls’ high jump scoring was sophomore Loris Jensen and Majoros.

In the shot put toss, Godspower-Odiong placed fourth with a throw of 33-8.5 feet and Adkins was fifth at 32-2.5 feet. Leepart also contributed a throw of 23-6.5 feet.

Sophomore Vegas Roganish ran fifth in the 400 race with a time of 1:03.75.

Senior Shane Robinson led the Knights’ scoring in the boys long jump as he had a leap of 18-10.25 feet. Senior Ian Davis led the boys in the shot put with a throw of 39-1 feet. Sophomore Johnathan Lynn had a discus toss of 106-1 feet.

The boys’ 6,400-meter relay ran fifth (20;12.42 with sophomore Nathan Gerhart, junior Eddie Orzel, junior Jacob Colbert, and senior Evan White. The fifth-place 3,200 relay was fifth in 9:01.07 with senior Nathan Lahrmer, junior Alex Bye, Colbert, and senior Robert Wolf.

Jahdon Wimbush, a junior, scored in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.64 seconds.

In the sprint medley race, Nordonia was fifth in 1:42.05 with Russ, sophomore Logan Villamagna, senior Zack Liederbach, and Johnson.

Nordonia had a disappointing league loss in girls’ action to a strong Hudson squad as the Explorer’s superb distance running was hard to overcome in a tough 69-68 loss April 14.

Hudson’s 1,600-meter relay team won the final event when the relay of Sydney Gallagher, Brenna Beucler, Emma Hannan, and Victoria Liesen crossed first.

“We don’t like losing, but our progress is the biggest focus for us,” said Barwidi. “We are seeing that progress and we are moving in the right direction.”

Majoros had a blazing time of 49.59 seconds to win the 300-meter hurdles against Hudson.

Junior Rachel Dudich won the 100-meter dash in 13.36 seconds and Majoros was second in 13.48 ticks.

“Hallie (Majoros) is in her first year of track and is picking up things quickly,” said the coach. “She is tough and very competitive.”

Barwidi also praised the progress of senior Autumn Westbrooks and junior Analeise Artino in various relays and open races.

In the boys battle against powerful Hudson, the Knights fell 81-56. Hayes crossed first in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.98 ticks and won the 300 race in 40.88 seconds.