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Hicks, Haiss lead Comets to state track
Hicks, Haiss lead Comets to state track
By TONY LANGE
Propelled by the field events, the Solon Comets boys' track and field team was able to bring home a championship from last Friday's Division I Youngstown Regional meet.
With 67 team points, the Comets beat runner-up Cleveland Glenville, which scored 42 points. During the five field events, which included discus, high jump, long jump, shot put and pole vault, the Comets outscored Glenville, 28-0. The Kenston Bombers finished 17th overall with 15 points.
Meanwhile, the Lady Comets placed fourth at the regional meet with 38 points, behind Shaker Heights, with 51 points, Austintown-Fitch, 46, and North Canton Hoover, 38. The West Geauga Lady Wolverines finished ninth with 28 points, and the Lady Bombers finished 24th with nine points.
There were 17 events at the meet, including eight individual running events, four relays and the five field events. There were 16 competitors in each event with the top eight advancing to the finals and the top four qualifying for the Division I state meet, which begins June 3 at 4:45 p.m. at Ohio State University's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
At the regional meet, the triumphant Comets were led by senior AJ Hicks, who won the discus and shot put, scoring 20 points for Solon. Last year, Hicks placed third in both of those events at regionals.
"It felt pretty good, because I was able to contribute a lot of points to my team, and I think we were the first Solon team in Solon history to win the regional meet," he said.
Hicks threw the discus 181 feet, 7 inches, beating his nearest competitor by nearly 10 feet. He is ranked fourth in that event at the state meet.
"Discus didn't feel too well for some reason. I wasn't in rhythm. But I threw a 181 on my first throw, and that pretty much won it," he said.
In the shot put, Hicks threw 64 feet, 4.75 inches, beating his nearest competitor by more than 8 feet. He is ranked second in that event at the state meet.
"Well, I'm happy, because my coach and I have really been working on getting the first throw in without fouling, and that's what I did, I got my first throw in, and then I fouled my next four," he said.
Hicks, who will compete for his third straight year at the state meet, said you can't expect to cope at the state meet and have to arrive prepared. "I will have more adrenaline at this meet than at regionals or districts, so I'm expecting to throw a little bit farther," he said. "I've been there a couple times before, so the nerves aren't going to get me. It's going to be pressure thrown at me, and me trying to put pressure at other throwers."
Joining Hicks at the state meet will be junior Karl Pierce, who cleared 14 feet, 4 inches for a runner-up finish in the pole vault. He is ranked seventh at the state meet.
The Comets had three other runner-up finishes.
In the 200-meter dash, senior Matt Thompson took second with a time of 21.94 and is ranked sixth at the state meet.
In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Khoury Crenshaw finished second with a 10.84 and is ranked second at the state meet.
And in the 110-meter hurdles, junior Rod Jackson placed second with a 14.39 and is ranked third at the state meet.
Solon also will send its four-by-800-meter relay team down to Columbus. Zack Zimmers, Max Haiss, Eric Hansen and Paul Arters finished fourth at the regional meet with an 8:00.00.
Meanwhile, the Lady Comets will be sending five girls to Columbus to compete in two individual events and one relay.
Triumphant in the 1,600-meter run, sophomore Therese Haiss ran a 5:01.21 to win the event by 0.81 second. She is ranked ninth at the state meet.
Also triumphant, the Lady Comets' four-by-200-meter relay team of Tinisee Kandakai, London McNair, Jelvon Butler and Paige Yeager won with a 1:41.17. They are ranked fifth at the state meet.
Yeager, a junior, also qualified for the state meet in the 300 hurdles with her third-place regional finish at 44.53. She is ranked ninth at the state meet.
For the Lady Wolverines, sophomore Chantel Richardson won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 2 inches. She is ranked third at the state meet in that event. She also advanced in the 100-meter hurdles with her 14.35 runner-up finish. She is ranked second at the state meet in that event.
Also extending the Lady Wolverines' season is senior Kelly Williams, who ran a 2:17.10 in the 800 meters for a runner-up regional finish.
For Kenston, senior Kim Gallavan will represent the Lady Bombers down in Columbus in the discus. She finished third at the regional meet with a throw of 130 feet, 9 inches, which bettered her district performance by more than 20 feet. She is ranked fifth at the state meet.
There are 16 competitors in each event at the state meet. The top eight will step up to the winners' podium.
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