Twinsburg's Cain looks to make up for lost time

Steve Batko
Twinsburg Tigers

So much more has changed since 2019 in track and field – especially for Twinsburg junior standout Aiden Cain.

As a freshman, Cain could be used in a variety of events and now - even after the 2020 campaign canceled - the Tiger “veteran” is capable of contributing in a wide range of events on the track as head coach Anthony Byrd looks towards the league meet and the post season.

In 2019, Cain was a Division I regional qualifier in the club’s 3,200-meter relay.

Last fall, Cain reached regionals in cross country as an individual qualifier and was 12th overall in the Suburban League.

Now, Cain has adjusted his range in running to a broad length of 400-meters all the way up to 3,200-meters.

Most recently, Cain helped Twinsburg’s 1,600-meter relay to a second-place at the 40th annual Austintown Fitch Optimist Meet.

The relay crossed in a season best of 3-minutes and 30.81 seconds for the runner-up finish that also included junior Logan Doyle, junior Cameron Griffin, and senior anchor Alex Branch.

Sarah Kmet, the girls track and cross country coach who also coaches the distance runners in track, had plenty of positives to say about Cain.

“Aiden has incredible range,’ said Kmet. “He can effectively compete in any distance from 400 meters to 3200 meters. This makes him a very valuable asset to the team.”

Kmet went on with her praise, “Aiden particularly thrives in relays where he is running not just for himself, but for three other teammates as well.”

Just like any versatile track athlete, Cain has some races he prefers.

“My favorite race is between the 1,600-meter race and the 800,” declared Cain. “They both are very fast and short races and amongst the competition I go against, I feel that I stand out the most in those two events.”

Cain started out in some different sports, but ones that honed in on fitness and endurance.

“Cross country and track have been my only sports in high school, but prior to that, I played for Twinsburg AC Soccer and played basketball for fun,” Cain said. “I believe that soccer is the reason why I have my speed and endurance today and I’m able to compete at a high level.”

“My endurance and speed make me the best I possibly can be, including having experience in racing makes it much easier to know how to get out on the field, position, and pace as well,” Cain explained.

As the league meet nears and the district championships follow soon after, Cain is looking to peak and confidence will be a key component.

“One thing I have noticed recently in Aiden is his confidence,” Kmet explained. “In previous seasons, Aiden would tend to overthink races and this tendency sometimes negatively impacted his performance.”

“Aiden has been taking a “best version of myself” attitude into his races and he goes out and competes, which is what I always stress to the kids,” added Kmet.

Cain knows his strengths and his weaknesses, which ironically even with success, can still be present.

“My strengths while on the course are getting myself in good positions and being able to pass and chip away at people during a race as well as my kick at the end to make sure I don’t get passed,” Cain said.

“Running mentally is very tough and I have had lots of trouble with my mentality, however, it’s one of the most important things to have,” said Cain.

You hear it all the time for pitchers in baseball – you just need to trust your “stuff”.

“You just have to get out there and know that your training won’t fail you and that you are one of the best guys out there,” explained Cain.

Cain, who has a time of 2:02 in the open 800-meters this spring, also was clocked at 4:39.6 in winning the 1,600-meter race in a recent dual meet loss to Stow-Munroe Falls.

“Aiden is not getting hung up on mistakes this season, but rather, is using them as a way to improve,” said Kmet. “This is the biggest difference I’ve seen in him this spring.”

Other huge highlights at the Optimist Meet for Twinsburg came in the girls’ sprints.

In fact, points from the sprints spearheaded a Twinsburg third-place at Fitch out of a 30-team field!

Twinsburg’s girls amassed 51.5 points as powerful Chardon won 90-56 over Buchtel. The Tigers beat area strongholds like Stow (42.5), Woodridge (41), and Walsh Jesuit (39.5).

The Tiger’s 800-meter relay fueled a season best time with a runner-up finish to powerful Akron Buchtel (1:44.17).

Crossing with a fast time of 1:45.33, the Tiger relay included junior Akira Johnson, freshman Savannah Swanda, junior Rana Thornton, and sophomore Arriah Gilmer.

Twinsburg’s dangerous 400-meter relay also grabbed a second place at Fitch.

Only Walsh Jesuit (50.31) finished faster than the Tigers, who were clocked at 50.55 seconds with freshman Bree Banach, Swanda, Johnson, and Thornton.

Senior Nighyah Carthen also had a solid meet as she placed third in shot put throw with a toss of 37-11.25 feet and third in the discus toss at 117-6 feet.

With impressive fashion, Twinsburg also shined in the open sprints.

Swanda had a blazing time of 12.74 seconds to take fifth-place in the 100-meter dash.

In the 200-meter dash, Gilmer raced to a fifth-place with a swift clocking of 26.67 seconds.

Against Stow, Twinsburg showed its great depth in the sprints as junior Paris Gosha-Foreman had a win in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.13 seconds.

In addition, junior Sydnee Donegan had a season-best high jump of 4-10 feet against Stow.

For the boys, the 800-meter relay garnered a third-place effort at Fitch in 1:32.60 behind the running of senior Chris Wilson, Doyle, senior Antoine Brown, and Branch. This same crew blazed to a win over Stow with a time of 1:30.52.

Both Griffin and Doyle also had big meets for the Tigers. Griffin took fourth in the 400-meter race in 52.32 seconds and Doyle ran fifth in 52.50 ticks.

Griffin also ran in the 400-meter relay, which raced fourth overall in 44.68 seconds. This group also had Wilson, Brown, and Branch, the anchor runner.

Improving junior thrower Tyson Jacobs also triumphed as he had a season best shot-put heave of 47-7 feet to place seventh overall as youthful Twinsburg placed a solid ninth at Fitch out of 33 schools.

Byrd, who also coaches the throwers in the program along with Gus Crichlow, also saw sophomore Josh Schiopota register a season best effort in the pole vault of 10-6 feet in the meet against Stow.

They weren’t season best marks, but Twinsburg’s girls’ 3,200-meter relay and the 1,600-meter relay crossed in fourth and fifth-place, respectively. Any top five relay finishes at the Optimist Meet is impressive.

Making up the 3,200 relay (10:53.96) was sophomore Cordi Firem, junior Ava Turner, freshman Lauren McClung, and junior anchor Sophie Besett.

Comprising the 1,600-meter relay was Gilmer, freshman Sanayah Ruffin, Thornton, and Besett. Their time was 4:15.68.

Battle-tested senior Nicole Abraham also had a strong time of 50.40 seconds in placing seventh in the 300-meter hurdles.