GALION — Some familiar faces return for Galion’s high school track teams under the leadership once again of Todd Roston and Colby Bright, assisted by Brent Tyrrell and Jeff Court (throwers), John Anich and Jamie Tate (distance), Colton Moore (high jumps and sprints), Jaime Valentine (hurdles) and Darin Bright (sprints and long jump).
After a 2018 that saw the Lady Tigers finish as the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference champions, and third at regionals and 11th at state, the Galion girls team will be without some well-decorated talent lost to graduation.
Marisa Gwinner and Bri Streib are now competing at Tiffin University. Gwinner was the state runner-up in the high jump while Streib snagged sixth place in Columbus last spring. Mia Branam (pole vaulter) also graduated last year.
But, with the losses comes the returnees. Kerrigan Myers, who qualified for the state meet in four of events in 2018, is back for her junior year after beginning the season with an indoor state title in the high jump and a trip to nationals in the hurdles. Joining Myers is junior Brooklyn Cosey and senior Jalyn Oswald. Also back are junior Anna Court, looking to fill the void left behind by Streib in the shot put and discuss after placing in the conference meet in her sophomore season.
Other key returnees are: Sari Conner (senior), a regional qualifier in the 800; Airyona Nickels (junior). in the distance events. Brooklyn Gates (sophomore) in the distance event and an MOAC meet placer in the 3200; Samantha Comer (sophomore) in the sprints, hurdles, and field events. She was a regional placer in the 100-hurdles; Nicole Thomas (junior) in the pole vault as is sophomore Kayla Hardy in the pole vault after placing in the MOAC meet; and Kaitlin Bailey (sophomore) in the sprints. She placed in the 400 at the MOAC meet/
Also looking to contribute are senior Kasidee Sinclair (throws) and freshmen Zaynah Tate and Ava Smith.
”Field events again should be our strength,” said Roston. “We have several potential regional and state qualifiers in the field events and we also have three of the four 4×100 members back from the team that was 7th at the state meet. Overall, team depth is a concern and we just need to stay healthy throughout the season.
“We have a very solid of group of girls returning. With the addition of the newcomers to the team, I think we should have a solid team. Hopefully, the girls improve each week and by the end of the season we can make a nice run in the postseason. The league will, once again, be very competitive. Shelby, Ontario and River Valley will be a very tough challenge for us.”
Galion’s boys team, which won the MOAC title a year ago, also need to replace some talent. Takoda and Tanner Crisman, Harrison Ivy and Mason Weldon have since graduated and just one state placer remains for the relatively young Tigers.
Colbey Fox will look to put a stamp on the end of his career for Galion after beginning the indoor season with a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash at the state indoor meet. Fox was a part of a state-qualifying 4×400 relay squad last season.
Gage Lackey is getting back from an injury sustained during basketball season, and is looking to provide some senior leadership in the hurdles and high jump, where he placed in the MOAC meet a year ago. Also back is senior thrower Noah Atkinson, who placed in both the shot put and the discus in the conference meet.
Braxton Tate will spearhead the distance runners and looks to follow up last season’s successes in the 1600 and 3200. He also has enjoyed solid cross country and swimming season.
Other returners for the boys squad are: Isaiah Alsip (junior), an MOAC placer in the hurdles and relays; Kalib Griffin (junior), an MOAC placer in two relays; Jacob Williams (sophomore) first-team all-MOAC in 4×400-relay; Gage Vanderkooi (sophomore) in the vault and hurdles; Trevor O’Brien (junior) in the vault and hurdles; Ben Alstadt (junior) in the pole vault; Colton Yost (junior) an MOAC placer in the hurdles and Brayden Eckels (sophomore) in jumps and sprints.
As far as the new kids to the scene, Hanif Donaldson looks to continue his high school career where his middle school career left off, as a very good long jumper and in the sprints.
Joining expecting to contribute are senior Jack McElligott in the high jump, sprints; senior Ethan Jones in the throwing events; senior Mikey Stover in the distance events; sophomore Wilson Frankhouse in the sprints and newcomers Carter Valentine Jorden Borders, Jon Strickler and Clayton Yost.
“Our strength definitely comes from our experience and our sprint relays,” Roston said. “We have several runners with state meet experience. The sprint relays should be very strong again this yea. We’ll need some of the younger sprinters and jumpers to develop and be ready to contribute at the conference meet.“
“(We) need to develop depth in the distance races and find another pole vaulter,” he added. “We need to continue to work hard in practice and improve in the all the field events. The league will be very strong again this year. Shelby is one of the best teams in the state, so they will be the favorite in the league race. River Valley, Ontario and Pleasant are well coached and always have strong teams. It should be a very competitive league.”
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