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Comets claim district track title
Comets claim district track title
By TONY LANGE
Solon's Rod Jackson overcame several hurdles last Friday -- literally.
After winning the 110-meter hurdles in 14.42 seconds at the 16-team Division I Nordonia District track meet, Jackson nearly tumbled during his 300 hurdles race, Solon head coach Dan Iwan said.
A 38.77 preliminary time gave Jackson the Boliantz Stadium record and the top seed going into the finals. With the top four runners advancing to regionals, he was basically a shoo-in.
"To be honest with you, he kind of messed up in the 300 hurdles, and this is actually pretty impressive," Iwan said. "He got to the second hurdle, and, jeez, he almost had to stop completely, because his timing was off. His steps were off. He went from being in first place down to being in eighth place. And then on the fourth hurdle, he almost fell. So half the race is over, and he's in eighth place. And we're talking about a kid who is the best hurdler in the district," he said.
"And I said, 'Oh, boy.' This is terrible luck, and I was ready to say, 'Oh, well, it wasn't in the cards,' but he came back, and he ran the last four hurdles exceptionally well. He put himself in a tough position, but he was really able to come from last place all the way to second place."
As a senior, it would have been a shame for him not to advance, Iwan said.
Jackson holds the school record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.9 seconds.
Perhaps even more impressive, however, was Khoury Crenshaw's sprint performances, as he was the Comets' only double-event winner.
Crenshaw won the 100-meter dash in 10.55 seconds and the 200 dash in 21.48 seconds, with both of those times breaking Boliantz Stadium records and his own school records.
"He was unbelievable," Iwan said. "It was just really impressive to see what he did."
Crenshaw and Jackson also teamed with Darian Hicks and Kollyn Crenshaw to win the four-by-100 relay in 42.61 seconds.
Individually, Hicks finished as runner-up in the long jump, leaping 23 feet, 1 3/4 inches, and he finished fourth in the 100 dash in 11.24 seconds to qualify for regionals.
In the long jump, Hicks is just the third athlete in Solon history to distance 23 feet or farther. He joins Grant Carter, 23 feet, 4 1/2 inches in 1997, and Drew Carter, 23 feet, 9 1/2 inches in 1999, in that respect.
"It's a great place to jump, I will say that," Iwan said. "It's a great pit, but he was poised to cross over into the 23s. He was close a few times, so he finally did it, and that's one of the best jumps in our school history. I think, at some point in his career, he'll walk out of here with the long-jump record."
In the pole-vault competition, Kyle Peterson was triumphant for the Comets with his mark of 13 feet, 6 inches. His teammate Karl Pierce cleared 13 feet for third place.
"They did great. It was a little windy the day that they vaulted, so I didn't really know what to expect," Iwan said. "To our kids' credit, Kyle and Karl, they were able to deal with the situation, and it was a pretty good field. When you have to vault 13 feet to make it out of districts, that's a pretty good field."
Solon's fourth individual champion was Reggie Jagers, who threw the discus 170 feet, 5 inches. He is second behind AJ Hicks in Solon history.
Jagers and his younger brother Phil also went three, four in the shot put to advance to regionals with marks of 48 feet, 6 1/4 inches and 48 feet, 5 3/4 inches.
"In the discus, he's exceptional," Iwan said of Reggie Jagers. "He has the ability to throw in the 190s. There's no doubt about it. It's just a matter of you've got to do it at the right time. Throwing in the 180s, 190s in practice is one thing. Doing it when all eyes are on you and you're down to your last throw in Austintown, that's when you need it."
In the 1,600 run, Kevin Blank ran a 4:20.08 to finish fourth and secure a spot at the regional competition.
"That's just an unbelievable time, considering that he's a sophomore, but more unbelievable was that that was fourth place in our district," Iwan said. "A 4:20 usually makes it down to Columbus, no questions asked, but our district is particularly strong in the distance races, and he was able to run a great race. He's already real good, and I think he can be real special."
The Comets compete at the Austintown Fitch regional on May 23 and 25.
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