WAPAKONETA – Sometimes getting away from the “norm” can be a good thing.
At Friday’s Wapakoneta Redskin Relays, several area track-and-field teams got away from the normal slate of events they were accustomed to, as every event on Friday was a relay.
Shawnee longtime distance coach and cross-country head coach Russ Holly, said it was a time for the athletes to find different ways to contribute.
“Basically, when I look at these relay meets, they give you a chance to compare of how you are in different events with the other teams,” Holly said. “Some nights you can stretch them a little bit, and they run more than what they’re used to running. … So, it’s a good conditioning meet.”
In Friday’s final team standings, the Shawnee boys edged out Marysville for first place, 90-83. Bellefontaine finished third (57), while Anna (48) and New Haven, Ind. (47) rounded out the top five squads in the nine-team field.
On the girls side, Anna grabbed the gold, edging out Marysville, 86.5-83. Ottawa-Glandorf finished third (55), while Shawnee (54) and Defiance (34) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
One of the key contributors for Shawnee on Friday was junior distance runner Isaiah Johns.
Johns was an integral part of the 6,400-meter relay Friday that finished third behind two very strong teams – Marysville (first, 19:18.01) and New Haven (second, 19:24.13). Shawnee’s combined time was 19:50.88.
In the 6,400 relay, each runner (four total) ran a 1,600. Johns also was part of the 3,200 relay (second, 8:48.31), 1,600 relay (second, 3:31.93) and the 3,200-distance medley (second, 8:41.56).
“There was room for improvement, but it wasn’t too bad of a day,” Johns said about Friday’s performances. “I’m definitely improving all of my times. We’re halfway through the year, and we have WBLs (Western Buckeye League Championships) coming up soon. So, my focus right now is getting into shape and having the best outcome for that meet (WBLs) – and also from that meet on (into the postseason).”
Johns is not sure what events he will be competing in, when the postseason tournament begins in late May.
“My main events are the 1,600 and 800. The 3,200 is up in the air right now,” Johns said.
Johns feels like he is on track for a strong second half of the season. So far this spring, his personal best in the 800 is two minutes, five seconds, while his best time in the 1,600 is 4:37.
In the pole vault, Elida junior Conner Douglass led the Bulldogs with a height of 11 feet, 6 inches – short of his all-time best of 13 feet. Bellefontaine’s Ethan Yoder had the best vault, as he cleared 12-6.
However, Douglass also competed in the 440-meter shuttle hurdles and the long jump on Friday. In the long jump, Douglass’ best mark was 17-6 ½.
“I ran the hurdles at this meet one time,” Douglass said with a smile. “So, this is the first time of running the hurdles since my freshman year.”
Douglass feels confident that he can keep improving in the pole vault.
“It’s all technique stuff, really,” Douglass said. “… Also getting on some bigger poles, too. Hopefully, I can get to 13-6, 14-feet, and some higher heights by the end of the year.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.