DOLA – Perry’s Braden Yingst was all about the team at the Northwest Central Conference track and field championships Saturday.
The Commodore junior won three events, the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs, and finished second in the 400 to help push Perry to the team title with 123 points. Hardin Northern took second with 93 points and Waynesfield-Goshen was third with 81.5 points. Coming in fourth was Ridgemont with 76 points, followed by Elgin (54), Upper Scioto Valley (48), Lehman Catholic (41) and Riverside (10).
For his efforts, Yingst shared most valuable athlete with Lehman Catholic’s Cy Starcher who edged Yingst in the 400 meter dash.
Celebrating the team title was something Yingst was looking to accomplish coming into the meet as he decided to race in the 400 meter and 800 meter run in hopes of picking up big team points for the Commodores to secure the championship.
“I knew going in we had a chance at an NWCC title and I knew I had to load up on all four of my events. I threw in the 400 and I usually don’t do that but the team needed it and I knew if I could score points we could win,” Yingst said. “This is definitely big. I was really happy with the outcomes today and now we are moving on to district and that is where stuff begins to matter more. That is where it is survive and advance and ending the season like this on a good note is a good way to go into that.”
Yingst collected the first of his three top place finishes in the 1,600 meter run when he cruised to an easy victory in a time of 4:34.11, five seconds faster than the runner up Joe Parker of Upper Scioto Valley.
After his second place performance in the 400 meters, Yingst raced to his second win in the 800 meter run when he ran a 1:58.81 to set a new NWCC record previously owned by Fairbanks’ Brandt Huston in 2013 with a time of 1:59.43.
Yingst capped off his highly successful day by taking the 3,200 meter run with a time of 9:45.00, shattering the old NWCC record held by Elgin’s Jacob Poling of 10:01.83 in 2019.
The 3,200 meter race was one of the highly anticipated events because it pitted Yingst against outstanding Upper Scioto Valley distance runner Zack Britton, who had skipped the 1,600 meter race, in hopes of beating Yingst.
The two stayed together for much of the race but as they went into the second to last lap, Britton looked to make his move and grabbed a small 15 meter advantage. But the lead was short-lived as Yingst pushed himself to another level and as they entered the third turn on the final lap Yingst had overcome Britton and raised his hand’s in victory after crossing the finish line in first place.
“I know Zack and I knew he was going for a fast 3,200 and he didn’t go in the 1,600 or the 800 so I knew he was going to jump out and I was going to race behind him and I altered it a little bit and got funky while I was running and he ended up putting a 15 meter gap on me with two to go. I don’t know what happened but I just wanted it and the last 400 I just kicked it to get ahead.”
Perry head coach Dan Kirby, who was named the NWCC coach of the year, had high praise for Yingst as well as for the rest of the team and his coaching staff.
“Braden is all about track and cross country 24/7 all the time,” Kirby said. “I am just blessed with a marvelous staff and when I got into this I wanted to model this after what Jim Epperly does at Waynesfield and they are what we wanted to aspire to and our hats off to them and wanted to mention the passing of longtime coach Joe Horn.
“Our boys are a great group of guys who work very hard and it is just the chemistry, the coaches and the kids and the parents are just fantastic. We got senior leadership from Dyonte Parker … and Devares Glenn who is our team captain. It just was an overall team effort.”
Yingst was a big part of the Perry win but the Commodores got plenty of contributions from other athletes.
Perry’s Dyonte Parker won the 110 meter hurdles and teammate James Shorter was second. Devares Glenn was second in the 100 meter dash and Isaiah Cox was third. James Shorter and Parker were second and third, respectively, in the 300 meter hurdles.
Perry finished first in the 800 meter relay.
Hardin Northern finished first in the 1,600 meter relay and Waynesfield-Goshen took top honors in the 3,200 meter relay.
In the field events, held Thursday, Perry’s J.Q. Austin was first in the long jump.
Hardin Northern’s Wesley Newton was first in the pole vault and Ridgemont’s Weston McKinley snared first in the shot put. Upper Scioto Valley’s Drew Stephens was first in the high jump.
Spencer named MVP
Waynesfield-Goshen’s Taylor Spencer had a record setting outing by winning three events and setting a trio of new marks to earn her MVP honors for the meet.
The standout sophomore set new standards in the 3,200 meter run with a time of 11:36.55, easily eclipsing the old mark of Lehman Catholic’s Jenna Zimmerman’s time of 12:22.15 set in 2015.
In the 800 meter run, Spencer also set a new standard of 2:20:48 to win the race and beat the old record set by Riverside’s Katie Kite of 2:28.26 that was set in 2009.
Spencer ran to a meet record time of 5:15.29 in the 1,600, breaking the old mark set by Zimmerman’s time of 5:47.03 back in 2015.
Spencer’s bid for a fourth record may have happened had she not been edged by Lehman Catholic’s Kiersten Franklin in the 400 meter run. Franklin posted a record time of 58.37 and Spencer finished second with a time of 58.74.
“My goals were to just get first in my distance events and then compete in the 400,” Spencer said. “I didn’t get any pr’s in my distance events. I just wanted to get first and save myself for districts.
Spencer added that in the 400 she had never run under 60 seconds and neither had Franklin and said it was awesome but wanted first place to score 40 points.
Like Yingst, Spencer was thinking team first.
“We have been working all season and pushing ourselves, especially since we didn’t get a season last year,” Spencer said. “We really wanted to make our goals higher as a program and the whole process is super fun, and I wouldn’t trade my team for the world.”
Temple Christian’s CeCe Worshman finished first in the 100 meter hurdles.
In the field events held Thursday, Ridgemont’s Amanda Howland was first in the discus, the pole vault and the shot put.
Hardin Northern’s Renee Newton finished first in the long jump.
Lehman Catholic took first in the girls team standings with 144 points followed by Waynesfield-Goshen with 132 and Elgin rounding out the top three with 74 points. Ridgemont was fifth with 56 points, Hardin Northern was sixth with 48, Temple Christian was seventh with 43 points and Perry with 12 points. Riverside was eighth with eight points and Upper Scioto Valley scored six points.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0451.