By Dan Gilles
Fairview track coach Rich Friel talked about how his teams always treat the Fairview Warrior Relays – which was held for the 34th time this past Friday – like it’s a big deal.
The Warrior boys were able to make their home event even more memorable when they outscored the four other Division II teams in the field to take first place with 59 points.
The Warriors outscored Patriot Athletic Conference rivals Firelands (second, 51), Brookside (third, 36) and Wellington (fourth, 6) to take the crown, and even outscored former Southwestern Conference foe Olmsted Falls (41 points) to finish fourth in the overall race.
“We were a little tired because we had a meet on Wednesday, but we had some nice performances (Friday) because some kids were stepping up,” Friel said. “Rory Juhn was going for 6-foot-6.25, which would have been a new school record had he made it. He wound up going 6-4, so we were pleased about that.
“Our 4×800 (relay) was doing well (second behind Midpark), and we’ve got some younger kids who stepped up. Overall, we were just being solid. The competition here today was something we really needed. We really haven’t been challenged yet this year until today, and from now until the conference meet, we’ll be challenged like this each time out.”
Juhn helped Fairview win the high jump relay with an overall leap of 17-1. He teamed up with Connor Bailey and John Kabil for the win, which was the only one of the meet for the Warriors.
The Warriors’ 3200 relay time of 8:31 was just four seconds slower than Midpark’s winning time of 8:27. It was one of two runner-up finishes for the boys, along with the shot put.
The shot putters threw a combined toss of 126-1, but it wasn’t enough to beat Brookside’s trio, which combined for a 127-foot throw.
The boys also had a chance to affect the overall team race, as North Ridgeville went into the final event – the 1600 relay – with a four-point advantage over Avon.
The Eagles won the 1600, but a late charge from Ridgeville’s anchor runner Paul Sonego helped the Rangers nip the Warriors by just five-tenths of a second for second place.
Thanks to the finish, Ridgeville held off Avon, 94-92, to claim the overall boys team title.
Friel singled out a few other runners for their performances.
“Blake Beard ran a 2:04 split – but that’s unconfirmed – in the 4×8,” Friel said. “He also came back and ran that quarter in the distance medley, and he also ran the anchor for our 4×4 team. He’s really been having a good day.
“We also had some other seniors step up – Brian Ott, who’s had some injuries but really stepped up for us today, Chris Gilmore and James Rowland, who were also with my 4×4 team last year … In fact, this is only Chris’ second meet of the year, so we’ve been juggling him around a little bit.
“Also, a young runner for us ran the 12 in the distance medley, Mike Wilkinson, and ran well, and John Kabil ran a 56, and he’s only a sophomore for us. Like I said, we’ve got a lot of kids in that 400-800 range that can go a mile or down to a 2 or a 4. We have a young sprint group, but we’ve got a group that can show some promise as the season goes on and over the next couple of years.”
Chris Zriscek, David Flick, Chris Fox and Mike Gib gave Olmsted Falls its lone individual victory when they won the shuttle hurdles in 1:02.94.
The Lady Bulldogs fared better than their male counterparts last Friday, finishing with 71 points – good enough for second place overall. However, Avon’s girls lapped the field with 122 points to claim the team title.
Olmsted Falls won three individual events on the girls side – the sprint medley, the shuttle hurdles and the 1600 relay.
Taylor Ledwell, Danielle Augustin, Alexis Meketa and Allison Duber won the sprint medley with a time of 1:55.15, which was three seconds faster than Avon.
Emma Whitney, Erin Hundley, Vicky Wilkins and Augustin won the shuttle hurdles in 1:13.3, which was just under a second faster than North Ridgeville.
Kate Ferster, Erin Hodley, Meketa and Duber claimed the final event of the day – the 1600 – with a time of 4:11, which was two seconds faster than Avon.
The Fairview girls did not fare as well as the boys, finishing behind Division II champion Firelands (60) and Brookside (32) with 31 points. They did not win any individual events. However, Friel still singled out some runners.
“My one-half-miler on the girls side had the flu today, but she made it to school in time and was able to get in one event for us,” he said. “She was supposed to run in three events, but she just couldn’t do it. She only competed in the distance medley (which finished third with a time of 15:16).
“A lot of girls have had to step up because of our numbers. We only got 20 girls, and our depth has been a major concern of ours. We have a handful of girls that have been spread thin during the day. We’re hoping that that group will stick together and the ones who were with us last year will come back out. That’s where we’re at right now.”