Mild temperatures, a cool breeze, and cloudy skies all equaled perfect running weather this past Saturday, March 24 for the Muskie track team at the Jerry Neal Panther Invitational at Maysville.
Both boys and girls teams pulled out on top and so did the team overall. With strong leads, the girls finished first with 170 points and the boys with 157, compiling for a team score of 327 points.
I think it was a great start to the season, said senior Carl Wiencek. Were just starting to work out the little kinks.
Wiencek, competing in the 300 hurdles and pole vault, added six points to John Glenns score.
Competing alongside the Muskies were runners from Maysville, who came in second, Rosecrans, Crooksville, Philo, Linsly, and Coshocton.
With field events kicking off the meet, the Muskies stole spots in the top three places in most events. Senior Julie Morgan took second in the high jump, only inches behind her opponent. Morgan scored 13 points for the girls while also participating in the 4x200 and 4x400 meter relays.
It felt really good to just start the season off right, said Morgan.
Also excelling in field events were sophomores Emily Brown and Blake Atkins and junior Grant Slack. Slack and Atkins took first and second in high jump while Slack also grabbed first in long jump. Top spot went to Brown in long jump with a length of 15 feet 3 inches.
Field events did pretty well, said sophomore Sean Whitlow, who threw shot and disc. Im just looking forward to improving in disc and getting into my form.
Scores of field events contributed a decent amount of points to Saturdays win, but it was running events where most shined.
I was one second from beating my personal record, said sophomore Hannah Stewart. I chased this girl the whole race and in the end ended up beating her.
Stewart was a member of the girls 4x800 meter relay that placed second and was also a competitor in the mile.
Relays were in the spotlight that afternoon, which consisted of the boys and girls 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400 meter runs. All of these teams placed either first or second, racking up the teams total points. Some teammates even ran on injuries.
After the relays and the 400 my knee was hurting me pretty bad, said senior Kyle Johnston, but some medicine and ice helped me finish out the meet.
A close finish came with the girls 4x200 race. The battle for the lead switched between the Muskies and Ceramics as senior Megan Heacock rounded the turn to take on the final stretch. As she seemed to gas out, motivation from a Crooksville opponents footsteps behind her gave her the drive to push and finish a mere second faster.
I was dying, said Heacock, but I knew I could do it and pull through for my team.
The winning team consisted of freshman Kelsey Knellinger and seniors Heacock, Julie Morgan, and Ashley Sayre.
Heacock was also a member of the first place finishers in the 4x100 meter relay also including Brown, Sayre, and sophomore Haley Gregory. Both these relays can only get better as the season progresses.
Although the girls were dominating the invitational, the boys were right up there with them.
Junior Woody Jamiel and senior Zak Geiger stole first place finishes to tally more points. Ending with a time of 4:51, Jamiel sped through the mile. The traditional Jerry Neal two mile race was a breeze for Geiger who finished at 10:01.
It was pretty awesome getting a three-peat in the Neal two mile, said Geiger.
Put hurdles in their way and that doesnt stop the Muskies. Senior Nick Smith jumped over obstacles to reach first place in the 300 meter hurdles and third in the 110. Even though he left with a rough turf burn from a finish line trip, Smith contributed 16 points this past Saturday.
Back up on top is another hurdler, Gregory. With fight still left in her after every race, this sophomore finished seconds faster than her opponents to seize first place in the 100 meter hurdles and dash.
Theres no doubt that this years track team has high hopes and big goals for this season.
I was very proud of how we performed, said head coach Doug Joy. I even had some officials tell me we looked in much better shape this year, which I think we are because weve been working a lot harder.
The Muskies also ran against Marietta and Meadowbrook this past Tuesday, March 27 and competed at the Meadowbrook Invitational this Saturday, March 31, but at the time of printing, scores were not available.