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Lions are runners-up in own relays
Lions are runners-up in own relays
By TONY LANGE
Orange's boys and girls track teams captured runner-up performances during their own relay meet last Friday.
The boys team won six of the 14 events with two third-place relays to score 85 points, which only Stow bested with 122 points. Holy Name followed with 72 points, Kirtland, 61, Kenston, 47, and West Geauga, 39.
The Lady Lions won just one event, while taking second in four relays and third in five. They scored 88 points, which was second to Stow's 128 points. Kenston scored 77 points, West Geauga, 66, Kirtland, 41, Holy Name, 21, and Rhodes, 2.
Orange girls head coach Mark Genovese said he was very pleased with the Lady Lions' performances.
"We've got some girls that are dealing with things like some sickness and injuries, but we were able to overcome some things, and we did the best we could, and the kids ran hard," he said. "I told them to just go out and do your best, and I believe we did that."
Winning the only relay of the day for the Lady Lions, Shelby Willis and Daisha Henderson combined efforts in the high jump at 9 feet, 4 inches.
With second- and third-place relays adding up, Genovese said, the Lady Lions are a very balanced team this season.
"One of the things that I'm extremely proud of is the points that we get, they're coming from everywhere," he said. "They're coming from distance, they're coming from middle distance, sprints, jumps, throws, and this is a really good thing. It's great when you have kids scoring from all events."
Returning as Orange's most experienced runners this season, Brianna Johnson, a junior, was a regional qualifier last season in the 100-meter dash, and Ayana Hodges and Shamable Crawford, both sophomores, were state medalists on the Lady Lions' eighth-place four-by-400 relay at the Division II meet.
Johnson ran a 12.44 at regionals, while the relay with Hodges and Crawford clocked a 3:59.64 at the state meet.
Last Friday, the Lady Lions' sprinters posted runner-up performances in the four-by-100, four-by-200, four-by-400 and sprint medley relays.
Johnson, King, Willis and Alex Pazarro clocked a 52.8 in the four-by-100.
Mariah Baez, King, Crawford and Hodges ran a 1:50.7 in the four-by-200.
Liz Kaplan, Crawford, Baez and Katie Jarrett finished in 4:30.7 in the four-by-400.
And Johnson, Willis, Baez and Hodges clocked a 1:55.1 in the sprint medley.
In the boys competition, the Lions also cleaned up several sprint events, despite being disqualified in the four-by-100 relay.
Orange's final-exchange runners were about 4 inches away from completing the baton hand-off before running out of the zone and failing to complete the race, head coach Nghia Harvey said.
"I think the four-by-100 is going to be one of our strongest relays this year," he said. "There was a bad exchange from my three and four runners, so that's one of the things we need to go back and practice before we move on, but you know relays are so finicky -- just a little drop of a baton or a miss, and you're done even at the district level. But I think the team has a really good chance of making it to states, and, even as they continue to get faster, I think they have plenty of room for improvement. They can be down in the 42-second range this season."
The Lions did win the high jump, pole vault, four-by-200, shuttle hurdles, sprint medley and four-by-100 weight relays.
Charles Parks and Ophir Paz combined efforts in the high jump to win with 11 feet, 4 inches. Will Carter, who is the Lions' No. 1 high jumper, did not compete in that event.
Simon Sugarman and Brad Cahn combined efforts to clear 21 feet, 6 inches to win the pole vault relay.
Parks, Colton Kaufman, Melvin Lawson and Will Carter ran a 1:32.1 in the four-by-200.
Levente Berry, Malcolm Harris, Marcus Henderson and Carter clocked a 1:02.62 in the shuttle hurdles.
Kaufman, Harris, Lawson and Carter finished with a 1:37.7 in the sprint medley. Those four guys are all juniors and members of Orange's four-by-100 team that Harvey said has a good shot at qualifying for the state meet.
"As we go on, we're going to increase our physical stamina to prepare the boys for a little more rigorous activity coming up. I know for certain the relays need more work on their exchanges," he said. "Some of those guys are still a little bit raw. I think three of those four guys still need to get in better shape."
Up next, the Lions run at the Brush Invitational Friday before competing at the Chagrin Valley Conference championship next week.
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