State long jump champ Meechie Johnson returs for boys squad
GALION — The upcoming spring track and field season shows promise for Northmor High School.
The Golden Knights’ boys squad, once again led by Kevin Ruhl, returns a two-time state champion and three members of a state qualifying relay team. Ruhl, entering his fourth season as head coach and 13th year overall, will be assisted by Dee Yunker, Jack Kegley, Dave Kirk and Todd Miracle.
Demetrius ‘Meechie’ Johnson won the state long jump in his freshman season and again last season with a bound of 22 feet, 10¼ inches, while also being a member of the qualifying 4×400-meter relay team. On that squad, he was joined by Alec Moore and Drew Zoll (alternate), who are both back for their junior season. Calvin Komer and James Walker were the other two legs of the relay and graduated last spring. Walker also attended the state meet in the high jump and 300-meter hurdles.
Also lost to graduation for the Knights is Kolton Smith. Smith traveled to the state meet for the 110-hurdles and was a regional qualifier in the 300 hurdles and the high jump. Walker and Smith, as well as Meechie all earned first-team, all-conference for Northmor at the league meet for the now defunct Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Blue Division.
Another key for Northmor is junior pole vaulter Tony Martinez. Martinez was the conference champion last season and a regional qualifier.
Ruhl and the Golden Knights will also be welcoming in some new talent to their squad this season.
Sophomore Gavvin Keen will be running distance events for Northmor and fellow sophomore Conor Becker, fresh off of a third-place finish at the state wrestling meet, is out for track this year. A pair of seniors will look to compete in many events for Northmor as well. Brock Pletcher hasn’t done track since his freshman year, but will be back for one final go at it. Conan Becker, a state runner-up in wrestling, will be stepping away from baseball to do track this year. Junior Anthony Petulla will step up in the hurdle events.
“Our strongest area is the field events,” said Ruhl. “We should also be very competitive in the sprints and hurdles but distance and relay events have to improve from last season for us to be able to compete for a league title.”
When it comes to the first season for the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference, Mount Gilead remains the team to beat.
“Our goal would be to win the league, but it will be tough to do against a very good Mount Gilead team. They return a lot of guys from a great team a year ago. We are also hooping to get several of our guys to the state meet with a chance to compete and give Meechie a chance at a third state title,” wraps the head coach.
For the Lady Knights, it will be the same group of assistant coaches and the familiar leadership of Mark Yaussy, now in year 23.
With the losses to graduation of Selena Cortez (throws and hurdles), Alex Borders (throws) and Kristen Duryea (distance), Northmor returns a lot of talent and experience this spring in hopes of taking down Mount Gilead in the KMAC.
“A nice mixture of youth and experience,” said Yaussy of his team’s strengths. “The girls are working hard and are very enthusiastic. Our team depth is a concern. We hope to try girls out in multiple events to hopefully fill any voids.”
Back for the Lady Knights will be Brooke Bennett (sprints, mid-distance), Cristianna Boggs (sprints), Jessica Duryea and Sam Peters (distance), Julianna DiTullio (long jump, mid-distance) and Hope Miracle (pole vault, sprints). Natalie Bloom (hurdles, sprints), Katy Blunk and Julia Kanagy (distance) and Maleah Houghtby (sprints, hurdles) will all look to make some noise for Northmor in 2018.
“We hope to improve each week. I feel we can be very competitive every week and hope to be able to advance as many athletes as possible to the regional and state meets,” concludes Yaussy.
On Saturday, March 31, the season starts for Northmor at the Cardington Invite. The Knights will host their first quad-meet of the season on April 5.
The 2018 Northmor Lady Golden Knights track and field team
The 2018 Northmor Golden Knights boys track and field team
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