GALION — The Galion Tigers track and field teams have seen a great deal of success since head coach Todd Roston took over the helm. Roston, now entering his fifth season in Galion has led his student athletes to either a conference championship or runner-up in all four seasons as the Tigers head coach.
Of course Roston, who previously was an assistant coach at Colonel Crawford and head coach in Crestline for seven years, does not do it alone. It takes a village to fine tune the Galion track machine.
The head coach also deals with the relay teams and pole vaulters. Assisting Roston for his fifth year will be Galion alum, Colby Bright. Bright is in charge of the sprinters, relays and long jumpers. Bright and Roston will also have Kyle Strauch coaching alongside them in the relays and sprints. Michael Moore coaches the middle distance runners and high jumpers and will be assisted by Colton Moore. John Anich coaches the distance runners, Jaime Valentine coaches the hurdlers and Brent Tyrrell and Jeff Court are in charge of the throwers.
Galion’s boys squad will be without a lot of important elements from prior year’s teams. Since Roston’s arrival, the boys have won two conference titles and finished as runner-ups twice.
Drake Barnett has graduated and left behind his name next to five school records and was three-time All-Ohio. Houston Blair earned All-Ohio honors twice and Moore, now assisting the jumpers, was an All-Ohio high jumper. Jacob Fryer is another All-Ohioan gone from last year’s 4 x 100-meter relay team. Other key components gone from a season ago are: Jacob Staiger- shot put; Gavin Ratcliff- discus; and Khennter Hughes- long jump and sprints.
“We lost a lot of points from last years conference and regional championship team,” explains Roston. “We have a lot of depth though in the sprints but need to develop some depth in the jumps and distance events.”
Returning for the Tigers this season are: Caleb Ivy- All-Ohio in the 4 x 200-meter relay; Colin McCullough- All-Ohio in the 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 200 relay, MOAC champion in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles; Harrison Ivy- back from injury; Zhamir Anderson- jumps and mid-distance; Takoda Crisman- sprints and high jump; Kelby Knight- pole vault; Tanner Crisman- pole vault and sprints; Colbey Fox- sprints; Spencer Guinther- distance; Noah Atkinson- throws; Brett May- throws; Mason Weldon- throws; and Steven Hoffman- high jump.
Other prospects to look out for for the Tigers are: Braxton Tate- distance; Isaiah Alsip- hurdles; Evan Barker- sprints; Trevor O’Brien- hurdles, pole vault; and Mario Williams- mid-distance.
“As long as we stay healthy, I think that we can compete for a conference championship and take a large group of athletes to Columbus for the state meet,” states the head coach, confidently.
The Galion Lady Tigers have won three consecutive conference championships and one runner-up since Roston took over coaching responsibilities.
Like the boys team, the girls lost some key components to graduation, three to be exact.
Taylor Valentine was a state qualifier in the hurdles last season and was a top scorer for the squad in her four years. Dani Court was the MOAC champion in the discus in 2016 and placed at state. Court is the school’s record holder in the event. Sydney Hunt had a state runner-up and championship to her name. Hunt also qualified for state in the long jump as well as the 4 x 100 relay, as the third leg in the team that won the state title and finished runner-up the following season.
Marisa Gwinner and Bri Streib headline a group of returning Lady Tigers in 2017.
“Field events should again be very strong led by Marisa and Bri. We have some good freshmen coming in that should provide depth as well,” says Roston. “The mid-distance and distance crew are all returning to build on last year’s performances.”
Gwinner was a state placer in the high jump and a state qualifier in the long jump and already holds several school records entering her junior season. Streib was a regional placer in shot put last season and a district placer in the discus. Other returning athletes for Galion are: Kylie Redman- sprints; Jalyn Oswald- jumps and sprints; Brooke Gallant- sprints; Megan Zier- mid-distance; Callie Wildenthaler- mid-distance; Ashlie Sallee- mid-distance; Sari Conner- distance; Lauren Huggins-mid-distance; and Morgan Gregory- sprints.
Top prospects for the Lady Tigers include: Kerrigan Myers- pole vault, hurdles and high jump; Brooklyn Cosey- hurdles and long jump; Anna Court- throws; Airoyna Nickles- mid-distance; and Teresa House- distance.
“We have very little depth in the sprints and need to find some young sprinters to help with the relays. We need to improve in the sprints throughout the year so that we can compete for a fourth-straight league championship,” adds Roston. “The Lady Tigers will have a loaded freshmen and sophomore squad and we’ll need those young ladies to grow up quickly and contribute at the varsity level.”
A very talented Colonel Crawford Eagles squad will be first up for the Galion track team this season. The Eagles will meet up with the Tigers on Tue. March 28 at Heise Park for a dual-meet. From there, Galion will take part in the Bucyrus Elks Invitational on Sat. April 1.