Taking a Trip to Tiffin

The first stop of the indoor season for me was the Tiffin U High School Open #1. It was admittedly my first time being to the D2 athletic powerhouse for a track meet of any kind, I can say with full honesty it was an outstanding event space. If you are in the Northwest looking for an opportunity to compete and want to bring your family to watch then Tiffin is the place to be, the venue has ample warm up space and freedom to move throughout the facility plus full set of built in grandstands that make the experience feel even more grand then the December 10th date would normally allow. While I was not alone in being there for the first time the results had a mix of athletes and teams we have known about already along with some making great journeys to compete at the meet.

Let's begin in the girls' field events. To begin I would like to just say that the level of competition was tremendous but through it all athletes were kind with one another and gave the feel early in the day of a combined practice as it is too early yet to be cynical. In the High jump there were three athletes who cleared five foot and the winner, Lillian Hodge, went five two to take the event. An excellent place to be in early season as one would assume these performances are not happening from a full approach just yet. The long jump might have found the ability to top the wow factor as both Doyle Aly and Mara Pearson went beyond seventeen feet going 17-4.25 and 17-4.5 respectively. Now we are early in the results here but one thing should jump out, two of the three names thus far are from Kentucky. The meet had much more than Northwest Ohio flavor. In the pole vault the bar seemed to be glued to the standards as you had to be over 11 foot clean to be in the top eight of this very deep girls pole vault field. At the end of the competition there was only one who made it over the twelve-foot barrier and that was Pickerington Norths' Lainey Mack. The senior is looking to make an improvement on her 5th place finish at outdoor state this past year where she jumped here outdoor PR of 12' 4", it is fair to say that only two weeks into the season she is setting herself up well and nothing can replace the mental growth of a tough competition like Saturday was. The shot put had one very clear standout and it was Rileigh Scarvelli of Avon Lake who won the meet with a put of 43' 6.25". Again it is so impressive what these athletes are accomplishing in the earliest portions of this season. The weight throw was an impressive event on both sides, with the female champion Anna Barber of Elmwood went 46-7.75 which is first in the state of Ohio and first in the nation! Super exciting to see for the Rutgers commit, someone who is actually from Northwest Ohio at this talented meet.

On the boys' side for the field events it was an enjoyable day with equally talented athletes competing with each other. There may be something to be said about male athletes being multi-sport athletes as I personally feel that indoor boys' results are more impacted from names missing than the girls side, never the less the boys who show bring their tops and in many cases impress all who witness. Let's start with Key'Shawn Garrett of Wayne who went 6' in the high jump to take the win. What a program that Wayne has, not just in talent but competitive drive with what looked to be nearly a full team and having people in every event they could muster enjoying the day and pushing themselves and their teammates to be the best they can be. It is never a surprise to see Wayne's athletes have good days on the track and in the field as no one shows up more ready to compete. The boys pole vault was similar to the girls with a slew of talented athletes in a fight to stay alive. The out of towners from Kaizen Pole Vault, a club based in Kentucky, brought arguably the nation's best vaulter in Stewart Wyatt who last year went over 17 feet on multiple occasions. While he did not open his year with such a performance (which is normal and actually to be expected of top tier athletes) he did muster a 15-6 showing after waiting for three hours after warm ups to actually jump, this performance was good enough to win the meet ahead of Edwards Daniel and teammate Bryner Jordan who went 15' and 14' respectively. The performance of the day for the boys was conveniently in the weight throw the same as the girls. This time however the talent was not home grown as Kellen Kimes came down from Hart Michigan and threw the heavy ball out to a distance of 71' 3.5", a performance that had all of the Tiffin collegiate throwers stop to watch in appreciation and respect. The throw from the senior Kimes was good enough to be number one in the country at the current stage. If any college coaches are reading this, recruit this young man! He was a pleasure to speak with and respectful to meet officials, competitors, and his dad who coached from cage side view. Definitely deserving of opportunities at the next level.

The running events were pedestrian in comparison to what the audience saw from the field events but that does not take away from the competition and effort that all athletes put forth and the handful of athletes who really popped off for early season racing. In the 60m Hurdles Ric'Keya White ran 9.17 twice and Doyle Aly went 9.21 in the prelims starting the day in a very impressive fashion. Then as the day was winding down Maddy Merritt and Trinity Bibbs went low 26s in the 200 which on a flat 200m track is truly MOVING and they should be commended for such performances so early in the year. On the boys side the most impressive race was Nadir Langston, Junior from Hamilton Township, in the 60m hurdles as he went 8.37 which is currently top 15 nationally on the early season.

As the year develops we can be sure to see more athletes tops drop into the really impressive ranges that they always do but for a second weekend meet you can't help but to smile at the state of track and field at the current moment as there are some very passionate kids out there who are giving it their all and seeing the results pay off. I would like to as I wrap this up give a shout of to John Hay and Ponitz CTC who were in large number and tremendous competitors. As the meet was nearly done a group of some 20 John Hay girls came to the infield and began to warm up for the 4x4 (Even though only one team ended up seeing a result), an outstanding showing of regimentation and effort when most of the meet had cooled to a light apathy or headed for the door. Keep it going John Hay and Ponitz CTC, the results are on the horizon!