MINFORD — The annual Minford Invitational track and field meet, with 18 teams featured for Friday’s first major meet inside Scioto County’s borders for the first time in two years, was indeed decorated with winners from several of the county’s dozen schools.
With Minford as the host, and a heightened desire to compete in track and field for 2021 given the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s cancellation of the 2020 season, the meet made for increased enthusiasm on the part of the participants and coaches — not only competing in events but taking advantage of the warm weather on Friday for personal-best times.
Of the 17 Southern Ohio Conference schools, only Waverly did not partake at Minford —while Portsmouth, Coal Grove and Rock Hill of the Ohio Valley Conference competed as well, along with nearby squads Raceland (Ky.) and Jackson.
Although the meet is divided into championships for “big schools” and “small schools”, it was Wheelersburg’s girls and Northwest’s boys which took home the overall team titles.
The Lady Pirates posted 146 total points, as they won their second April invitational to open the season —with the other coming at Jackson just 10 days ago.
The Mohawk men did the same thing, as they amassed 123 points at Minford —and were the only boys team on Friday to amount at least 100 points.
There were 14 girls teams and 15 boys teams which scored points, as Coal Grove —both boys (97) and girls (134) —were second in overall points and the champions of both of the “small school” divisions.
The Jackson girls gained 101 points followed by 85 from Northwest and 47 by Rock Hill, while on the boys side Portsmouth posted 87 points for third-place overall —followed by Rock Hill with 64 and Wheelersburg (57) edging out Valley (56) for fifth.
And for the second consecutive meet, with Jackson being the first, both Wheelersburg senior Lauren Jolly for the girls and Northwest senior Caleb Scoggins for the boys captured meet medalist honors.
For Jolly, with championships in both hurdles races and the long jump and a runner-up effort in the 200m dash, she secured 38 individual Pirate points.
The sprinter Scoggins ran the third leg of the Mohawks’ champion 4x400m relay team — and individually finished first in the 200m dash, second in the 400m dash, and third in the 100m dash.
The race of the night, no doubt and under the lights in fact, was the boys two-mile run —projected as a shootout between Northwest’s Landen Smith and Minford’s Dutch Byrd, but also with Northwest’s Kailian Marshall and Portsmouth freshman Charlie Putnam putting up strong challenges as well.
Smith, in nine minutes and 50 seconds and by a razor-thin five seconds, beat out Byrd (9:55) for the championship, but both Smith and Byrd set new school records.
For Byrd, on the home track and at his home meet, broke the Falcons’ former two-mile mark —which was previously 9:59.5 and set by Jon Wooten in 1993.
Besides Smith — who also anchored the Mohawks’ champion 4x800m relay along with Ricky Gambill, Mason Breech and Josh Shope —Northwest’s boys dominated in distance events en route to the overall team championship.
Gabe Morrell won the one-mile, Shope secured the 800m title, and Morrell, Scoggins and Brayden Campbell joined Shope in winning the 4x400m finale.
Portsmouth swept the sprint relays — with Beau Hammond, Chris Duff, Donavan Carr and Dante Hamrick winning the 4x200m and Hammond, Devin McClaurin, Amare Johnson and Omarian Martin taking the 4x100m.
The senior Duff, with a jump of 19-feet four and one-half inches, dialed up the long jump championship.
Valley’s boys had four winners with three in field events, as senior Ryan Benjamin swept the shot put (53-6 1-4) and discus throw (133-11) — while junior Bryce Stuart cleared six-feet even to win the high jump.
Ty Perkins of the Indians, in 43.31 seconds, took home the 300m hurdles title —while Drew Skaggs of Minford in 16.32 seconds claimed the boys high hurdles championship.
The other three individual boys championships belonged to Rock Hill — with Noah Wood winning the 400m and 100m dashes and Hunter Blagg clearing 10 feet to take the pole vault.
Speaking of the pole vault, and setting school records, Northwest senior Haidyn Wamsley did just that —as she was one of only seven girls competitors including Green’s Katelinn Satterfield, but the only one to clear higher than seven feet.
Wamsley vaulted seven feet and six inches — as the standout was a double winner with a leap of five-feet and four-inches in the high jump.
She was also the runner-up to Jolly in two events —the 100m hurdles and the long jump.
Jolly jumped 16-feet six and one-half inches in the long jump, and ran 15.84 in the 100m hurdles and 48.47 in the 300m hurdles.
Wheelersburg was first in the girls 4x100m and second in the 4x200m —with Kylan Darnell, Bella Miller, Grace Charles and Josie Nchinda winning the one-lap relay.
The Lady Pirates placed first and second in both throwing events as well —with Justus Steward (107-04) and Karley Kouns (100-06) going 1-2 in the discus throw, and reversing the order (Kouns 35-11 and Steward 32-3) in the shot put.
Abby Cochenour of Eastern was a double winner —in the 1,600m and 800m runs.
Coal Grove garnered firsts in the 4x800m and 4x200m relays, as Maddie McDaniel won the 100m dash and Elli Holmes had the fastest two-mile time.
Jackson junior sprinter Olivia Kennedy was part of three wins —individually in the 400m and 200m dashes and as the anchor leg of the Ironladies’ triumphant 4x400m relay unit.
For a complete list of results, please see www.baumspage.com.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved