By Ryan Kaczmarski
As the halfway point of the high school track and field season draws near, the invitational relay events are heating up. Friday night, the Lakewood Ranger relays featured seven Cleveland-area schools, including Westshore’s Lakewood, Bay and Westlake high schools.
North Royalton High School took top honors on the girls side of the tournament, with Lakewood placing second. Westlake and Bay finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
On the boys side, Westlake took top honors, with Lakewood finishing in third place and Bay finishing in fifth place.
Many of the schools were without the complete rosters on Friday due to spring break vacations, but the coaches were able to give mid-season reports.
The Bay boys team went into the weekend 1-2 in dual meets, and lost the last two meets by one point each.
“We’re doing pretty well,” said Bay boys head coach Ron Rutt. “We have a pretty deep team this year, but the last couple of meets we’ve been missing quite a few kids on spring break. We have yet to have a full team for any of our meets.
“I’m pretty excited to get everyone together for the second half of the season and see what we can do.”
The Rockets have been a strong distace running team in the past few seasons, but Rutt sees this year being different.
“This year I feel we have a pretty good balance between out sprints and distance teams, and event our field events,” he said. “We really are a pretty deep and well-rounded team.”
The Bay girls team has a dual-meet record of 2-1, and the Ranger relays is only the second invitational they have run this year.
“We’ve only done the Avon Lake invitational, and we took fourth in that, which is pretty good,” said Bay girls head coach Kirsten Millet. “WE finished only six points behind Avon Lake in that, so I was pleased.
“Actually, coming Monday, will be the first time we will have our entire team together,” she added. “Half of my team was on vacation, and some other kids were serving a suspention.”
Millet sees Amelia Strickler going deep into the state tournament in the throwing events for Bay this season.
“She doing phenominal,” she said. “So far this season, this is the best she’s done ever at this point (into a season). I can see her going to state actually in both (the shot put and discus).”
The Westlake boys team is 4-0 in dual meets, and has had point-scorers from all classes.
“Our seniors have stepped up a lot, and our sophomores are making big contributions for us,” said Westlake boys head coach Jacob Schober. “We have defeinte strengths in the hurdle events right now, and we’ve had pretty good sprinters over the last few years.
“We lack a little depth in the distance events, but we have some young guys there who are scoring points for us,” He added. ”So far, I’ve been pretty pleased with how we are doing.”
Schober has the expectation of his team doing better than last year in the Southwestern Conference, and finishing in the top three.
“A lot of things will have to go our way,” he said. “We’l l have to stay healthy, which we didn’t last year.”
The Westlake girls team was 3-0 in dual meets heading into Friday.
“I think we are a little bit ahead of schedule,” said Westlake girls head coach Travis Haselswerdt. “We’re pretty happy with the times, distances and heights the girls are getting.
“I think our strengths have been the relays, the 4×200 and 4×800 (meter) we’re pretty strong in,” he added. “I hope to finish top three (in the SWC). We don’t have a lot of superstars, but many really good athletes.”
RANGER RELAY TEAM RESULTS:
1. North Royalton, 104
2. Lakewood, 102
3. St. Joseph Academy, 82
1. Westlake, 126
2. North Royalton, 112
3. Lakewood, 74