WAPAKONETA — With less than three weeks until the Western Buckeye League Championships, the Wapakoneta track-and-field program has its eyes set firmly on the prize.
At Friday’s Wapakoneta Redskin Relays at Harmon Field, Wapakoneta looked primed as the girls team won the title, and the boys’ finished second in the final team standings.
Wapakoneta’s girls squad defeated second-place Defiance 96-59. Ottawa-Glandorf was a close third place with 55 points. Pandora-Gilboa finished fourth (50), while Shawnee (38) rounded out the top five teams. There were nine squads at the invite.
On the boys side, it came down to the last event, the 1,600-meter relay, to decide the team title as New Haven (Ind.) slipped past Wapakoneta in the final team score, 75-69. Anna finished third (57), Shawnee was fourth (46.33) and St. Marys came in fifth (46).
“We put some new girls in some of the relays,” Wapakoneta girls coach Mark Law said. “We’re just trying to find a good lineup with the league coming around, with Celina and O-G out there. … We’re hoping to give them a run this year for the league title. So, right now we’re trying to find where our best mix is. Hopefully, with the warmer weather, we can start running a little faster.”
Wapakoneta junior Sidney Sutton set a new school record in the pole vault Friday, clearing 11 feet, 9 inches. Sutton also was an integral part of the winning 1,600 relay (Allie Zofkie, Claire Burton and Olivia Kentner; 4:15.41), and the victorious 3,200 relay (Michaelia Fisher, Burton and Zofkie; 10:17.64).
Last season, Sutton’s best vault was 10-9. During the offseason, Sutton was totally committed on taking it to the next level.
“Last year, I played basketball. This year, I decided not to play,” Sutton said. “(During the winter) I was going to ONU (Ohio Northern University) on like Tuesday. On Thursday, I would go to (the University of) Findlay. And on Sunday I would pole vault. So, I was vaulting like three times a week. Then, I was also doing some indoor meets on Saturdays.”
Sutton said she has learned to balance doing three or four events at every meet.
“The 400 (meters) is kind of hard, because it’s toward the beginning when I have to vault,” she said. “But, like during regionals, we don’t pole vault until Friday and we have finals for the 4 x 8 (3,200 relay) on Wednesday. My legs are tired. But, when I get one vault in, then I’m OK.”
Added Law about Sutton, “I think this year, she’s going to have an opportunity to have four golds (at WBL Championships) – one in the 4 x 8, the 4 x 4; and in the open 400, where she’s the returning champ. And also in the pole vault, with the way she’s vaulting, I think she can win it.”
Wapakoneta also won the distance medley (Emma Kentner, Mackenzie Courter and Fisher) and the 800 sprint medley (Kalie Lenhart, Emily Ruppert, Abbie Gesler and Olivia Kentner).
For the Wapakoneta boys team, the goal was to get a lot of athletes involved on Friday night.
“We want to get everyone involved, especially since we only had two home meets this year,” Wapakoneta boys coach Mark Cook said. “Our sprint relays really ran well today, and our distance kids are starting to come along too. So, I’m happy with that. We’re having a good year. … We’re getting there.”
The Wapakoneta boys won the 800 relay (Nate Elsass, Cameron Lauck, Levi Martin and Riley Worthen; 1:32.02) and the 400 relay (Elsass, Lauck, Martin and Riley; 44.04).
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.