McDERMOTT — Landen Smith was specifically asked about individual accomplishments as part of his role in Northwest’s dominance of the Southern Ohio Conference track and field meet —held on the Mohawks’ home turf of Roy Rogers Field.
But the standout senior Smith, bound to run for Shawnee State University as perhaps Scioto County’s most decorated high school runner in history, sidestepped —sort of —to what the Mohawk men did as a team.
What they did, besides roll to the first league track and field championship in the boys program’s history, was amass a dozen team points shy of a whopping 200.
And, the Mohawks were part of two new SOC meet records —all which led to a celebratory team victory lap on Thursday night on the sparkling Roy Rogers track.
Northwest’s boys amounted 188 team points in capturing the SOC II championship, and its 4x800m relay unit on Tuesday and Smith in the 1,600m run on Thursday are now part of the official league record books.
Smith anchored the 4x800m quartet, which ran the eight-lap relay in eight minutes and 12 seconds —and also consisted of seniors Mason Breech and Josh Shope and junior Kailan Marshall.
They broke the SOC mark by five seconds (8:17), which had stood since 2000 when Minford’s foursome of Aaron Montgomery, Nathan Burchett, Robbie Ramey and Bill Sember set the pace.
On Thursday, as Smith also took Tuesday’s two-mile (3200m) run in 9:49, he came back and set a new conference record in the one-mile run by two seconds —running a 4:27.28 and breaking the 1978 standard set by Bryon Arbaugh (4:29) of Valley.
Smith did answer the question regarding records.
“It’s awesome to break two of those records. It meant everything to me. I set out today ready to get that record (mile). I went out a little slow in the first 800m, then I had to pick it up in the second 800m,” he said. “And we came ready to get that (4x800m). Mason (Breech) ran the race of his life. He really stepped it up and he had a three-second PR (personal record) in a 2:02. That gave me a chance to take it easy (on Tuesday) and that way I could go for the two-mile. Kailan Marshall is a flea. He hangs on in those long distance races. He is a beast. And Josh (Shope), we all know about him. He is great, and I’m glad I’ve had him all these years to run with.”
Of course, with the SOC II boys medalist Smith, it was all about the Mohawks under veteran head coach Dave Frantz as a TEAM —first and foremost.
Northwest would have been a favorite for the 2020 team title, but unfortunately the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled last season’s spring sports.
Smith also won the 800m run in exactly two minutes — as the fellow senior Shope (2:03) was right behind him in that two-lap dash, while Marshall made it runner-up efforts in both the one-mile and two-mile.
Northwest won the 4x200m (Travis Prose, Brycen Carver, Caleb Scoggins, Brayden Campbell) and 4x400m (Gabe Morrell, Breech, Shope, Carver) relays as well, and was runner-up to Minford (Jeffrey Pica, Colin Parker, Devin Parker, Drew Skaggs) in the 4x100m relay.
Caleb Scoggins and Shope were first and third in the 400m dash, and Jay Jenkins and Gabe Morrell captured the championship and runner-up respectively of the 300m hurdles.
“This will be two nights I will remember for the rest of my life. We’ve all been going after this for years. I think we could have gotten it last year, but we came ready and prepared and really put it forward these last two days here,” said Smith. “Everybody here stepped up. Caleb Scoggins had a great 400m. Jay Jenkins won the 300 hurdles and Gabe Morrell hasn’t ran hurdles all year, and then he comes in to SOC and gets fifth (110m) and second (300m). It takes a special kind of man to do that,” said Smith. “Throwers, runners and jumpers, everybody in relays, we didn’t have a bad apple.”
The Mohawks definitely didn’t, as Waverly was the runner-up in the SOC II and overall with 104 points.
Minford finished third overall and in SOC II with 77 points, and was 10 points ahead of fourth-place Wheelersburg (67).
Valley, which competes as a member of the SOC I in track and field, was the smaller schools’ boys champion — scoring 56 total points and bolstered by a sweep of the shot put and discus throw by SOC I boys medalist and senior Ryan Benjamin.
The Indians also won a third event —when junior Bryce Stuart cleared exactly six foot and defeated Green senior standout Ethan Huffman for the high jump championship.
Huffman, on April 20, broke the 39-year-old Green High School boys high jump record by a full foot —as he cleared six-feet four-and-a-half inches almost a month ago.
Two other boys —senior Drew Skaggs of Minford (long jump and 110m high hurdles) and sophomore Alex Boles of Waverly (100m and 200m dashes) —were also double winners with Benjamin.
On the girls side, the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates collectively and senior standout Lauren Jolly individually swept the SOC II’s top honors — as the Lady Pirates put up the most points with 162, compared to 135 for runner-up Waverly and 106 for third-place and host Northwest.
Minford finished fourth with 44 points, as Notre Dame won the SOC I girls championship and took fifth overall with 36.
Jolly, after a runner-up effort in the long jump on Tuesday, made it 3-for-3 in events on Thursday —sweeping both hurdles races (100m and 300m) and clipping Carli Knight of Waverly by 21-hundredths of a second and winning the 200m dash (27.60).
The Lady Pirates also swept the sprint relays and throwing events, as senior Justus Steward in the disc and junior Karley Kouns in the shot secured SOC championships.
Wheelersburg’s Bella Miller, Grace Charles and Josie Nchinda were part of the victorious 4x100m and 4x200m relay squads —as senior Maddie Gill ran the opening leg of the 4x200m and freshman Alyssa Steward did the same for the 4x100m.
Speaking of the senior Knight, she was the champion of the 100m dash —and runner-up to teammate Delaney Tackett in the one-lap 400m dash.
Waverly’s only other win was by junior Olivia Cisco in the 1,600m run, as Minford sophomore Junie Allen was the mile’s runner-up —and champion of the 3,200m and 800m runs.
Northwest senior Haidyn Wamsley, with a long jump one inch shy of exactly 17 feet, prevented Jolly from four events as a champion — as Wamsley completed a jumping sweep by clearing five-foot and four-inches in the high jump.
The Lady Mohawks won the opening event of the SOC meet on Tuesday —when Reagan Lewis, Kodi Burton, Ellie Curtis and Brooke Shope scored the title in the 4x800m relay.
The girls SOC I medalist was Eastern junior Abby Cochenour — who was third in the 1600m and 800m runs, fifth in the 200m dash and sixth in the 100m dash.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
This week will feature the OHSAA’s annual Southeast District meets —with Scioto and Pike County’s Division II teams (Tuesday and Saturday) traveling to Washington Court House, while their Division III clubs (Wednesday and Friday) return right back to Roy Rogers Field.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved