SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Stellar performances are pretty much expected from Perry distance standout Braden Yingst.
At Friday’s Shawnee Invitational, Yingst, a junior, not only showcased his distance prowess on the track, but also demonstrated how he could shift to a higher gear when he needed to pass the competition.
In windy conditions on Friday, Yingst won the 1,600 in a time of 4 minutes, 31.97 seconds. He was part of the 800-meter sprint medley that placed second (1:52.38). Yingst ran the 1,600 leg of the distance medley that placed second (12:52.02). Then Yingst wrapped up his busy day by anchoring the 1,600 relay, which placed second (3:48.27).
Yingst’s stellar performances helped lead Perry to a second-place finish in the final team standings for the boys. Shawnee scored 156 points to run away with the boys team title. Perry finished the day with 60 points. Elida (57.50), Allen East (53) and Lima Senior (48) rounded out the top five squads in the eight-team field.
On the girls side, Spencerville edged out Shawnee for the team title, 117-107. Lima Senior (103), Elida (51) and Delphos St. John’s (46) closed out the top five teams.
Yingst said he welcomes the challenge of taking on a full load of events.
“I love doing that for my team. … I love to be able to contribute and to score points,” he said. “If my coaches ask me to do a full load, then I’m all for it. I love competing. This was a fun meet today.”
At last week’s Tiger Invitational at Waynesfield-Goshen High School, Yingst broke both the stadium records and meet records in the 1,600 (4:24.06), 800 (1:57.96) and 3,200 (9:54.44).
Friday, Yingst approached the Shawnee Invitational a little differently, because of the windy conditions.
“Today was a little bit different,” Yingst said. “We knew we weren’t going to push all the way to the max in the mile (1,600). But you have to stay on top of yourself, mentally, to make sure you’re pushing and you don’t fall too far off pace.
“It was definitely a tougher meet (Shawnee Invite), especially when you don’t have someone on your hip to push you. And when you get into the wind, you just have to put your head down and fight through a little bit harder.”
Looking ahead to the postseason tournament, Yingst said he will need to make some decisions.
“Going into the postseason, I probably won’t be running many relays,” Yingst said. “The focus is going to be in the 1,600. Then (my) secondary (event) will be the 800, and then whatever I can do in the 3,200. … I’ve put down some pretty solid times this year (in the 3,200), but the 1,600 and 800 are the primary events.”
This season, Yingst’s best time in the 1,600 is 4:22, while his best performance in the 3,200 is 9:40.
Elida’s Conner Douglass has been striving to improve on his 13-foot personal best in the pole vault.
On Friday, Douglass crushed his all-time mark by a foot, as he won the pole vault with a clearance of 14 feet.
Douglass out-dueled Spencerville’s Dale Smith, who cleared 13-6 to finish second to the Elida junior.
With Friday’s windy conditions, Douglass said he tried to time up his attempts.
“It was a cross headwind. The gusts were really bad,” Douglass said. “I was trying to vault when the wind would die down.”
The Shawnee Invitational pole vault record is 14-2. Douglass did move up to 14-3, but could not get over the bar at that height.
Douglass now ranks third on the all-time list of vaulters at Elida.
The wind wreaked havoc on the long jumpers as well.
Shawnee’s Kayshaun Booher won the long jump Friday with a mark of 20 feet, 7 ½ inches. Booher came into Friday’s invite with an all-time best of a little more than 22 feet.
“I felt like when I jumped, I kind of stopped in mid air and could not go any farther,” Booher said with a grin. “But there is definitely some technique that I have to work on.”
Two years ago, Booher’s best jump was 19-11. Last season was cut short, because of COVID-19.
“As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve gotten stronger,” Booher said.
In the boys shot put, Shawnee’s Shandon Sewell won with a toss of 51-7 ½.
In the girls high jump, Spencerville took the top two spots. Lilyan Goecke won the event with a height of 5-1. Teammate Emme Prine was second with a clearance of 5-0 for the Bearcats.
It was almost a photo-finish in the girls 1,600, as Spencerville’s Lillee Stewart edged out Shawnee’s Lilly Cleaves for the win. Stewart’s winning time was 5:38.54, while Cleaves crossed in 5:38.56.
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