PDT Sports Writer
OAK HILL - Waverly's track teams haven't had many opportunities to compete with the rest of the SOC this season. Competing in meets other than conference invitationals, stacking up against the other SOC teams doesn't happen that often.
At the SOC meet on Tuesday at Oak Hill, Waverly got reacquainted with its conference brethren - and the top of the leaderboard.
With a close win in the 3200-meter relay final and solid showings in some preliminary races, the Tigers eked out a one-point advantage with 46 points after day one of the boys meet of the SOC championships. South Webster is right behind the Tigers at 45. Wheelersburg is third with 34.
In the girls meet, Courtnie Merritt's continued dominance in the long jump and high jump propelled Valley to 43 points, and a 22-point edge heading into today's finals.
Waverly may have the lead over South Webster, but it could just have easily been the Jeeps ahead if it wasn't for Curtis Husk. The anchor leg of the Tigers' 3200-meter relay team, Husk stormed to the lead in the final stretch and held off the South Webster runner to take first place. It was the second straight year the Tigers won the event.
“That was our best race of the year and I'm glad we've saved that for now,” said Waverly coach Byron Green. “We surprised them last year. We got them this year. We've been sneaking up on them. It starts us out pretty well.”
So do the team's performance in the 100-meter dash preliminaries. Anthony Tackett's qualifying time of 11.5 and Corey Bryant's 11.9, first and third respectively, sets up the Tigers pretty well for today, Green said.
Because Waverly competes at the Washington Court House district meet, the Tigers compete against other teams in their district, not allowing them many chances to see the SOC.
“We like to get a few meets with our league, but we look at (the SOC meet) as a stepping stone for our district,” Green said.
Valley's Brock Williams and South Webster's Derek Patterson tied for the top time in the 200-meter dash with a 23.5. Patterson usually runs the 3200-meter relay, but South Webster coach John Grimm held Patterson out for the 200. The calculated move paid off as the Jeeps finished five seconds behind Waverly in the relay.
“We put a freshman in (Patterson's leg) and we ran the best time of the year, so I'm tickled to death,” Grimm said.
Minford's Michael Miller took the top qualifying time in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.6. Minutes earlier, Miller won the high jump with a height of 6-2.
“I've never gotten that high before. It feels good to (get a personal record),” Miller said.
“You have to keep calm and save as much energy as you can and try to do as best as you can.”
In other field events, Tackett won the long jump with a distance of 21-3.5. There was a battle for the shot put title as Valley's Aaron Crabtree bested Wheelersburg's Nick Warner by a fourth of an inch, throwing 51-3 to Warner's 51-2.25.
“When you get that close, it just depends on where people mark it,” Crabtree said. “It was very good competition today and it brought the best out of other people.”
The discus wasn't as close as Warner threw 153-8, almost 20 feet more than South Webster's Evan DeCamp.
In the girls events, Merritt blew away the competition again in the long jump, posting a distance of 16-5. Eastern Pike's Desi Ison was second with 15-7.25. Merritt followed that up with a 5-3 in the high jump. Oak Hill's Annah Ruff was second with a 5-1. Merritt said the reason for her success is simple.
“I love jumping in general,” she said. “As a kid, I was always jumping off my coffee table. It's etched into me.”
Between victories, Merritt also found time to get the top qualifying time in the 200-meter dash, posting a time of 27.2. Along with Merritt, other Lady Indians such as Beth Martin and Cassie Holcomb in field events and Vanessa Smith in the 200, have given Valley a chance to maintain its lead.
“It's about where we expected to be,” said Valley coach Ellen Shope. “We like the times we turned in.”
In other final events, Waverly won the 3200-meter relay in 10:45. Minford was five seconds behind, followed by Valley in third.
West's Bethany Redoutey won the discus with a distance of 99-6 and the shot put with a 33-7.5. The Senators are tied for third with Waverly with 20 points. Wheelersburg is second with 21.
In other track events, Wheelersburg's Amber Bussa will start from the No. 1 position after a time of 17.1 in the 100 meter hurdles. Northwest's Kaylee Bapst grabbed the top spot in the 100-meter dash finals with a time of 13.5, .2 seconds faster than Oak Hill's Kayla Davis.
The final day of the meet will begin at 6 p.m. at Oak Hill starting with the boys' 110-meter hurdle finals.
JEFF TAEPKE can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
South Webster 45
Western Pike 5
Oak Hill 4
Notre Dame 4
Long Jump - Tackett (WA) 21-3 1/2, Conley (WA) 20-0 1/2, Lower (SW) 20-0; High Jump - Miller (MF) 6-2, Lower (SW) 6-1, Shaw (WA) 6-0; Discus - Crabtree (V) 51-3, Warner (WB) 51-2 3/4, Campbell (WB) 50-11 3/4; 3200-meter relay - Waverly 8:27, South Webster 8:28, Wheelersburg 8:35.
110-meter hurdles - Miller (MF) 16.6, Williams (WA) 16.8, Pyles (WB) 17.4; 100-meter dash - Tackett (WA) 11.5, Bryant (WA) 11.9, Pyles (WB) 12.0; 200-meter dash - B. Williams (V) 23.5, Patterson (SW) 23.5, Bryant (WA) 23.7.
Eastern Pike 18
Oak Hill 16
Long Jump - Merritt (V) 16-5, Ison (EP) 15-7 1/4, Bussa (WB) 15-3; High Jump - Merritt (V) 5-3, Ruff (OH) 5-1, Spradlin (WA) 5-0; Shot Put - Redoutey (W) 33-7 1/2, Depuy (ND) 30-10, Larrigan (WB) 29-5 3/4; Discus - Redoutey (W) 99-6, Martin (V) 92-11, Depuy (ND) 89-10; 3200-meter relay - Waverly 10:45, Minford 10:50, Valley 11:20.
100-meter hurdles - Bussa (WB) 17.1, Spradlin (WA) 17.4, Bauer (SW) 17.9; 100-meter dash - Bapst (NW) 13.5, Davis (OH) 13.7, Moore (SW) 13.8; 200-meter dash - Merritt (V) 27.2, Davis (OH) 27.9, Ison (EP) 28.0.