Wayne Invitational Preview by Coach Mike Fernandez
The 25th annual Wayne Invitational kicks off April 29 at 3:30 in Huber Heights, on the campus of Wayne High School, and Premier Athletic Fields/Heidkamp Stadium.
Over 50 plus schools are slated to attend (34 full teams, 20 partial) the 2-day meet. Teams from all over the state will feature some of the best track and field talent that would mirror a mini-state meet.
If you are a fan of distance races, this meet will not disappoint. Day 1 has the distance medley (1200-400-800-1600) relay, and the men's teams that are featured are; Hilliard Davidson, Lakota West, Waynesville, Beavercreek, St. Xavier, Miamisburg, Lebanon and Lancaster. These teams are entered in at 11:00 or under. For the girls, Hilliard Davidson, Beavercreek, Gahanna Lincoln, Lakota East, Mason and Centerville are the top seeds. The meet record for the women's is 11:55, and if the conditions are right, that could be in jeopardy.
The 4x800, which is the last event contested on day one will be highlighted with the girl's race. Top seed Oakwood has the fastest seed time, followed by Hilliard Davidson, Mason, Beavercreek, West Liberty Salem and Minster. In the men's race, Mason is the only team that has broken 8 minutes so far, but will be pushed by Hilliard Davidson, Lancaster, Fairmont, Centerville, Beavercreek, St. Xavier and Lakota West.
Day 2 will feature some of the top sprinters, sprint relays and individual distance races as well. Westerville Central's Justin Braun will be the feature sprinter in the 100 and 200-meter races for the men. Watch out for Jasiah Medley of Piqua, Jake Amburgy of Waynesville, Kendall Dolby of Springfield, Jaden Roberts of Wayne and Fairborn's Patrick Parrish. The women's will have a loaded field in the 100 meter dash, with Azariah Bryant of Lakota East, Moriah Johnson of Westerville Central, Jadyn Haywood and Airreana Clark of Chaminade Julienne, Wayne's Jasmine Kennerson and Piqua's Ayannah Stafford.
In the 400-meter dash, Centerville's Cameron Stevens is the top boy's seed and Joi Bradley of Gahanna Lincoln is the top girl's seed.
In the hurdles, Gahanna Lincolns Camden Bentley is the cream of the crop, coming in at 13.87 in the 100 hurdles. Jonathon Richardson of Springfield is the top men's seed for the 110 High Hurdles.
Bentley is also the top women's seed in the 300 hurdles, while Wayne's Keonte McGowan is the top Men's seed.
McGowan leads the Wayne's shuttle team as the only team to have broken 60 seconds in the race. Gahanna Lincoln is the favorite to win the women's race.
The sprint relays will be fun to watch. In the 4x200 women's, Gahanna Lincoln has gone 1:41.87, while their men's squad is seeded in at 1:28. The 4x100 relay for the women's will see Wayne's 48.22 pushed by Gahanna Lincoln and Mason. In the men's 4x100, it will be Gahanna Lincoln and Wayne again going head to head. Gahanna has a seedtime of 42.50 while Wayne comes in at 42.65.
The women's 4x400 relay will be a 4-way battle with Gahanna Lincoln, Mason, Dublin Jerome and Beavercreek. If Justin Braun runs on the 4x400, then Westerville Central will be the team to beat, but will be tested by Cleveland Glenville, Northmont, Centerville, Wayne, Springfield, Trotwood and St. Xavier.
The 1600-meter run showcases Hilliard Davidson's Lindsay Stull, Turpin's Ella Lambert, Lakota East Kelsi Harris, Oakwood's Bella Butler, Gahanna Lincoln's Alyssa Shope and Springboro's Cara Mooney, all entered at 5:10 and under. For the men's, Connor Ackley, RJ Sagrilla, Nick Pujl and Nate Gilbert of Hilliard Davidson, Springboro Keegan Freyhof, Mason's Alex Deroussel and Brendan Pitcher, Connor Ewert of Beavercreek, Cole Cronk and Kaleb Martin of Lakota West, Dillon Wooten of Fairmont, Calvin Kilgallon of Lebanon, Alex Albers of Minster, and Noah Johnson of Lancaster all come in with seed times of 4:29 and under.
The 3200 meter highlights Centerville Emma Bucher, Oakwood's Grace Hartman, Lakota East Carly Spletzer, Centerville Mia Robillard, Springfield Shawnee's Audrey Disantis, Alyssa Shope of Gahanna Lincoln, and Caitlyn Jones/Alyssa Mason/Dillon Sweetman/and Rachel Michael of Hilliard Davidson, Oakwood's Hannah Moulton, and Beavercreek's Grace Dailey- all are entered in at 11:19 and under.
The men's race boast a lineup of Seth Elking of Miamisburg, Conor Bohrer of St. Xavier, Kaden Harvey of Waynesville, the Agnew brothers from Carroll (Jack and Kevin) and Jake Ethridge of Olentangy Orange. There are 18 entered in at 9:49 and under.
The 800 meter race looks to be a three way battle with Lindsay Stull of Hilliard Davidson, Juliann Williams of Beavercreek and Cara Mooney of Springboro for the girls. In the boy's race, St. Xavier Nathan Mountain and Brady Messer of Mason are the top two seeds.
In the field events, Turpins Gabe Hickman is having a stellar year in the shot put, where his 62-10 toss leads the field, followed closely by Springfield Jokell Brown (56-7.5) and Wayne's Aamil Wagner (55-3). In the discus, Collin Warner of Springboro is the top seed with a 168-10 throw. Butler's Troy Dixon (167-7), Hickman (161-0.5), Cameron McNeil (154-0) Hilliard Darby, Grant Klopfenstein (152-0) of Troy and Wayne's Jerret Shavers (150-1) are the top throwers entered.
In the hammer throw, McNeil of Hilliard Darby is the top seed at 185.
The women's' throws are led by Yvonne Colson of Madeira, whose 136-11 toss in the discus is the best seed. In the shot put, Northmont Alex Boykin is the top seed at 42-7.5
In the hammer throw, Thompson of Springboro is the top seed at 127-8.
Wayne's Brendan Hill, who has cleared 6-7 this season, and was the state finale indoor champion in the winter, will try to match height for height with Western Hills Mykell Beck, who has cleared 6-10 so far this year in the high jump. Springfield Catholic Central's Mallory Mullen (5-8.25) , Lakota West Annika Kinley (5-8) and Lakota East Taylor Whitton (5-5) will battle it out in the girl's field, which has 20 athletes entered in at 5-0 and over.
Wayne's Shamaria Davis (39-4) and Cameron Fancher (43-1) are the top women and men's seed in the triple jump.
Sanai Lynch of Wayne has the best long jump (18-3) for the girls, while TeSean Smoot of Springfield has the best boys jump (22-2).
The pole vault will bring two 15-foot vaulters in Jack DeFrancesco of Hilliard Davidson and Paul Signorelli of Turpin. Grace Conway of Greenville is the top girl's vaulter, clearing 12-0, followed by Tru Buddenburg of Greenon and Wayne's Megan Rybitski (both clearing 11-7). There are seven girls over 11 feet and 9 boys over 13 feet.
Field events begin at 3:30 both days, running events begin at 3:45 both days as well. On Friday, the finals are slated to begin approximately 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth at the stadium, no online presale needed. Please abide by all social distancing protocols.