Whitman brings immediate respect to Longhorns track and field
By Ryan Kaczmarski and Joe Ostrica
The name Anjanette Whitman brings with it a demand for respect, whether on the track as a coach, or behind the bench as the Trial Magistrate at the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court.
Whitman has been coaching cross country and track and field for 16 years, and in her first year at Lutheran West High School, along with her husband Keith, she hopes to bring the Longhorns boys and girls teams to a state championship level.
The Longhorns are coming off a 2013 season in which the boys team finished in seventh place in the Patriot Athletic Conference, and the girls finished in second place.
These teams will both be without last year’s standouts in Patrick Hoefner, who is a thrower at Baldwin Wallace University, and Marissa Nuti, who runs middle distance at Shawnee State University.
The key returning letter winners for the Longhorns are Peter Koza (2013 team MVP, sprints) on the boys side, and Olivia Vasiloff (middle distance), Johanna Ragland (throws) and Michaela Bierly (distance).
“The ladies’ team had a strong core of competitors, whose strength we hope to match and improve this season,” Whitman said. “
Key newcomers for the girls team will be MacQuila Norman (sprints), Sarah Ragland (throws) and Anna Maxwell (distance), while Thomas Wetzel (distance) and Steven Weber (sprints) look to boost the boys team.
Lutheran West opened up its competition season with record-breaking performances at the St. Joseph Academy Jaguar Invitational on Saturday.
Johanna Ragland set new meet records in both the shot put and discus at 37.-5.5 and 100-2, respectively. Not only was her shot put mark a new meet record, she also overshadowed her own school record by a foot.
On the track, Bierly broke the 3200m school record that previously stood for 27 years. Her time of 12:15.14 placed her 4th overall. Freshmen MacQuila Norman helped score for the Lady Longhorns in the 400m placing fifth and setting a personal record. The 4x400m ladies earned 6th place overall thanks to the efforts of sophomore Lydia Hessler, sophomore Zaireea Norman, sophomore Claire Gutheil and was anchored by Norman.
Rounding out the Longhorn points were Freshmen Sarah Ragland with a personal record in the shot put placing her sixth, Junior Frankie Howell in the Discus placing 8th and Sophomore Lydia Hessler in the Long Jump placing second.
The Longhorn gentlemen earned their team points in the sprints.
Koza placed fifth in both the 400m and 200m. Junior Nick Knudsen brought in an eigth-place finish in the 100m. Both Koza and Knudsen joined up with Freshmen Steven Weber and Sophomore Hunter Ross int he 4x400m to place third overall.
“This was a great season opener for the team,” Whitman said. “Not only was starting out of the gate with 2 new school records inspiring, the team turned out performances in advance of where they stood in 2013.
“We are looking forward to developing this young group of hardworking athletes into a competitive team at the Conference level and beyond.”
The Fairview High School boys team this season lose team captain and state qualifier Blake Beard from graduation along with distance runner John Miles.
“Both these individuals were big parts in our 4×400, 4×800 and the individual events of the 800 and 1600 meter run,” Warriors head coach Rich Friel said. “Other seniors lost were Brandon Thompson in the Discus, Jon Krabill in the 800 and 4×800, Dave Salamon in the sprints and Mike Wilkinson in the 400, 800, 4×400, and 4×800.
“The boys this season will be led by senior team captain Henry Hvidos,” he continued. “Henry finished second team All-PAC in the long jump and first team All-PAC in the 4×400 Relay.
“Other notable performers are Junior Luke Borsody, who finished forst team All-PAC in the 4×400 and was a notable rotation runner for the 4×800 team, Senior Yannik Tesema (injured last season) has some unfinished goals to attain in the 110 and 300 hurdles along with his brother senior Yohann Tesema in the 400 and 800 runs, sophomore Jacob Seeh in the sprints who finished fourth in the 200m last season. Junior Chris Klotzbach in the Shot and Sprints, sophomores Stephen Cartier, Wil Kruger and Billy Guerry in the distance events.
“The boys are posting 28 athletes this season. We are still looking for good numbers in the throwing events.”
Notable returners for the girls are senior team captain Stephanie Miller in the sprints, sophomore Olivia Howard in the hurdles, team captain Hannah Tesema in the throws, senior Emma McQuate in the distance events and senior Clair Rehor in the sprints and middle distance.
“These athletes will lead us into the 2014 season, with a few fresh faces,” Friel concluded.
With 10 returning letter winners, the Brookside girls track and field team is hoping to do as well as it did last year when the Lady Cardinals placed fourth in the PAC championship meet. One of those returning letter winners is junior Tyller Holley, who competes in sprinting and jumping events. Holley placed in the top five in four different events at the PAC championship last year, including the 100, 200, high jump and the 3,200 relay team.
Other returning letter winners include seniors Katy Ackerman (distance), Allyssa Behrendt (throws), Emilee Gil (distance) and Savannah Pliszka (distance); juniors Cheyenne Danchisen (sprints and pole vault), Olivia Eyring (sprints), Shyanne Pierce (sprints, middle distance) and Holley; and sophomores Katlyn Brooks (sprints) and Isabel Johnson (jumps).
“We have strengths in our sprinters with Tyller Holley, Cheyenne Danchisen and Shyanne Pierce, who are all members of the regional qualifying 4×200 relay team,” Brookside girls head coach Claire DeChant. “Senior thrower Ally Behrendt has steadily increased her throws over the past three years. Senior distance runners Emilee Gil, Katy Ackerman and Savannah Pliszka could bring much needed points. Some very talented freshmen will add greatly to the team dynamics this year.”
Ray Rateno has taken over as the Brookside boys head coach. Rateno, along with the help of new assistant coach Thom Leseicki, will coach the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers.
“We are looking forward to a great season with lots of opportunity to show our capabilities,” DeChant, who works with the throwers, said. “This year we will be attending the Lorain County Invitational and Bedford Relays. We look forward to hosting our invitational again this year with additional teams in attendance.”