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Young guns run well for Woodridge boys track squad

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: May 7, 2017 12:00 AM

As Woodridge prepares for the league meet and the post season, the coaching staff had an opportunity to look at the team's youth in the Massillon Perry 9th and 10th Grade Invitational.

Head coach Les Carney saw a slew of impressive performances from some of his top sophomores and freshman in the program in the April 28 meet.

"The Bulldogs had several strong performances, including many season bests or personal bests," said Carney.

Carney liked the results he saw in the field events as well as the track.

"In the long jump, (freshman) Berkeley Upton had a personal best of 17 feet, and 5 inches," said the coach.

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Another freshman, Evan Wagner, had his performance catch Carney's attention.

"Evan Wagner and Reece Mercer both ran a personal best in the 300 hurdles," said Carney.

Wagner ran eighth overall in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.18 seconds.

Mercer, another gifted freshman, registered a time of 50.5 seconds in the 300 hurdles.

Freshman Micah Blair had a huge runner-up finish in the 3,200-meter race in Massillon. Blair was timed at 10 minutes, and 12.78 seconds.

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"Micah ran a personal best to grab second in the 3,200 meters," said Carney. "Sam Dutt and Henry Leffler-Buetel also had PR's (personal records) in the event."

Dutt, another freshman, was clocked at 10:34.83 (9th) while Leffler-Buetel smashed his previous PR as the sophomore had a time of 11:26.54.

"Andy Muha, Greg Muha, Elliott DeFrange, Ryan Kiley, and Brayden Whitted all ran well," said the Bulldogs' coach.

On the last event in the final regular season league meet -- the Bulldogs won the first part of the league championship by going undefeated in the dual meet campaign with a 69-59 league dual win over Lodi Cloverleaf April 25 at home.

The team's 1,600-meter relay team won over the Colts to clinch the win.

Carney is looking next to the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division Championships May 10 and 12 at Crestwood.

Defending co-champion Coventry is a possible challenger in the point standings along with Lodi Cloverleaf and Streetsboro.

"Our 1,600-meter relay team sealed the team victory with a win," said Carney.

Making up that relay for the Bulldogs was junior Dijon White, junior Zach Conroy, senior Ryan Palm, and senior Max Starvaggi.

There will be other events Woodridge should excel in the PTC Championships besides the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter teams.

Other possible strong threats in the PTC meet will be senior Jacob Mally (110-meter high hurdles, high jump, 300 hurdles), who could score big points.

For Woodridge, others who should score well are Starvaggi (relays, 800-meter race), Palm (distance and relays), junior Noah Perrin (distance and relays), senior Steven Neveadomi (pole vault), senior King Alfred Sanders (relays, sprints, and long jump), and senior Yousef Elkurd (distance and relays).

Senior Sharif Howard (hurdles, relays), Dijon White (sprints, relays) and Jiah Bowers (throws) are battle tested while Blair makes his debut in the PTC Championships.

Prior to the league meet, Woodridge hosted the Woodridge Wrap Up May 6 and will run at the Stars of Track and Field May 8.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC

Twitter:@MLeonard_RPC


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