Tigers expect success, despite losing talent to graduation
GALION — It’s cold and there is snow on the ground, which must mean it’s track and field season.
The runners, throwers and jumpers for the Galion Tigers have been hard at work preparing for the season ahead with many of the student athletes vying for another chance at a trip to the state meet.
Galion will once again be coached by Todd Roston, who is assisted by Colby Bright, Brent Tyrrell and Jeff Court (throws), John Anich (distance), Michael and Colton Moore (high jump and sprints) and Jamie Valentine (hurdles). Roston is entering his sixth season as the leader of the Tigers.
Last season was, literally, a banner year for the Tigers. However, the team has some big spikes to fill looking ahead to the 2018 season.
On the boys side, Colin McCullough walked the stage and received his diploma last spring but before doing so, he would place in all four events that he competed in at the state meet and was crowned state champion in the 300-meter hurdles (37.77). McCullough also placed third in the 110-hurdles (14.61) and was a member of the sixth-place finishing 4×400-meter relay team (3:23.48) and ninth overall 4×200 squad (1:41.55).
Other notable athletes gone from the Tigers are Caleb Ivy, who was part of the 4×2 team alongside McCullough as well as Takoda Crisman and brother Harrison. Brett May, the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division champion in the shot put (47’4”) also graduated last spring.
Galion won the MOAC Red championship last season, while earning runner-up status at the regional and district meet.
Harrison Ivy, Takoda and Tanner Crisman and Mason Weldon return for their senior season for the blue and orange.
Ivy, as previously mentioned, was part of two, state-placing relay teams last spring and is the current school record holder in the 400-meter dash, as well as a first-team all-conference member. Harrison also qualified for the state meet in the 400. Takoda was part of the Galion state crew last year as well and earned league honors in four events last spring. Brother Tanner placed in the MOAC meet in four events and Weldon was the runner-up behind May in the shot put at last year’s league meet.
Juniors Colbey Fox, Gage Lackey and Noah Atkinson will also be back for another season for Galion.
Fox was part of the 4×400 team at state and earned all-conference first-team in his sophomore season. Lackey placed in the high jump at the MOAC meet and will be back to jump and compete in hurdles. Atkinson will be throwing again after placing at the league meet in the discus in 2017.
Sophomore Braxton Tate also returns to the track after successful cross country and swimming seasons. Tate was a league placer in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter events a season ago.
Other runners and jumpers hoping to make an impact for Roston’s squad are: distance runner Nate Eckert, Isaiah Alsip (hurdles and relays), Kalib Griffin (sprints and relays) and Elias Middleton (relays and high jump).
“We have a lot experience,” said Roston of the boy’s team. “We have several runners with state meet experience, while our three sprint relays should be very strong again this year. We do, however, lack depth. We will need to stay healthy because we do not have the depth on the sprint side that we’ve had in the past.”
On the Lady Tigers’ side of things, some notable names will be back in the field events for their final season for Galion.
Despite losing Kylie Redman, who was part of the state qualifying 4×100-meter relay team, and distance runners Megan Zier and Lauren Huggins to graduation, the Lady Tigers look to make an impact behind seniors Marisa Gwinner and Bri Streib.
Gwinner, who was a part of the 4×100 team with Redman, Jalyn Oswald and Kerrigan Myers, returns for year four after another trip to state last year in the high jump. Although a fourth-place finish (5 feet, 6 inches) wasn’t what Gwinner was hoping for, she will look towards a repeat trip this spring. Marisa owns three school records at Galion and she also won the MOAC Red in the high and long jump events last year.
Streib is the school record holder in the discus ands boasts a resume that includes qualifying for the regional event twice in the shot put and discus.
Joining Gwinner and Streib as key returnees to the Galion roster will be: Oswald (sprints), Mia Branamm (pole vault and relays), Sari Conner (distance), Anna Court (throws), Myers (hurdles, jumps, relays), Brooklyn Cosey (hurdles) and Airyona Nickels (distance). Conner, Court, Cosey and Nickels all had success en route to placing in the MOAC meet in 2017.
Other tracksters to keep an eye on for Galion are: Murisa Windbigler, Nicole Thomas, Kat Talbott, Mara Windbigler, Sam Comer, Mya Steele, Kayla Hardy and Brooklyn Gates.
“Field events again should be our strength this season. We have several potential regional and state qualifiers in those events,” Roston said. “Depth in the sprinting events should be much improved this year while we need to develop some depth in the mid-distance and distance events as the season progresses.”
The season is set to begin for Galion with a trip to Colonel Crawford for a tri-meet with the Eagles and the Crestline Bulldogs. On Tuesday, April 3, the Tigers will host their first home meet when they welcome the Ontario Warriors and the Lexington Minutemen to Heise Park.