Twinsburg track primed to make its postseason run

Steve Batko
Twinsburg Tigers

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the depth and talent in the Suburban League National Conference will make for some interesting scoring for Twinsburg and the rest of the teams in the Suburban League Championships.

Tiger boys head coach Anthony Byrd and girls head coach Sarah Kmet realize that points will be tough to come by in both team standings at the Suburban League Championships May 12 and 13 at Nordonia.

Still considered the defending champions, Twinsburg’s girls squad won the last contested league crown in 2019.

While the Lady Tigers are expected to net a ton of points in the open sprint races and sprint relays, the league is loaded with talent.

Byrd’s boys’ squad is also expected to fare quite well in the sprint relays.

Besides the club’s gifted array of young sprinters, the Twinsburg girls look to score well in the throwing events, paced by a veteran: Senior Nighyah Carthen.

Carthen is expected to score well in both the shot put and discus throws.

“Nighyah’s strengths are that she is determined, extremely competitive, and eager to learn and is extremely coachable,” said Byrd, who is in his sixth season overall and coaches the entire program’s throwers along with veteran assistant coach Gus Crichlow.

“She (Carthen) sets goals for herself and works hard to achieve those goals,” said Byrd.

Twinsburg’s sprinters will score early and often in the league meet.

The sprinters include the junior trio of Akira Johnson, Rana Thornton and Paris Gosha-Foreman, plus young talent in sophomore Arriah Gilmer and freshmen Savannah Swanda, Bree Banach and Marissa Henderson.

As for the young talent, Swanda will especially be a threat in her league championship debut.

Both coaches have big decisions and where to position their athletes from an event standpoint in the league as well as prepping for the Division I District Championships at Nordonia High May 19 and May 21.

A talented girls’ 800-meter relay is a major threat with Johnson, Swanda, Thornton, and Gilmer.

The 400 relay is also dangerous with Banach, Swanda, Johnson, and Thornton.

Veteran Sophie Besett can also help, but more so in the longer sprints, such as in the open 400 and 800-meters and in as many as two or three few relay races.

Johnson, Thornton and Besett have big-meet experience for the Tiger girls.

Senior Katie Vailiauskas, a John Carroll commit, headlines the distance crew.

Two other seniors – Nicole Abraham and Kara Pruett – could also make an impact for the Lady Tigers in the hurdle races and in the pole vault competition, respectively.

Abraham could score well in the 300 hurdles while Pruett has shown improvement.

In the long jump, junior Sydnee Donegan is a team leader while freshman Sanayah Ruffin can be used in relays or open races, along with sophomore Cordi Firem, junior Ava Turner, and freshman Lauren McClung.

Twinsburg’s boys are expected to score well in the print relays.

The Tigers have gifted sprinters like seniors Alex Branch, Chris Wilson, and Antoine Brown, along with juniors Logan Doyle and Cameron Griffin, and promising freshman Steve Cammack, who can also compete in the high jump as well.

Byrd’s 800-meter relay is a threat after placing third at the Austintown Fitch Optimist Meet and has had fast times in this region with athletes like Wilson, Doyle, Brown, and Branch.

The 1,600-meter relay was runner-up at Fitch and could include Doyle, Griffin, Cain, and possibly Branch and sophomore Ryan Mulenga. The group of Doyle, Griffin, Cain and Branch was runner-up at Fitch. One or two of these runners could score in the open 400-meters as well.

Aiden Cain could possibly contend for points in some challenging open races of the longer variety, including the 800-meters, along with exciting youngster Sam Wales-McGrath who will make his post season debut.

Other possible scorers to watch out for the young Tiger boys include junior thrower Tyson Jacobs, sophomore Josh Schiopota in the pole vault, and junior Josh Mikulka, in what promises to be a loaded hurdles field.