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Track athletes keep setting their sights higher
Track athletes keep setting their sights higher
By STEVE NOVAK
Ever since the compact disc replaced the old vinyl record, the term "breaking a record" no longer applies to smashing a 33 revolutions-per-minute album collection of instrumental tunes.
However, there is still another meaning for breaking a record. There are more than a few instances of it happening to the track and field records of area high schools.
Almost every season, some athletes come along who run faster, jump higher and throw farther than their predecessors. With several weeks remaining before the state finals, there are other athletes who are close to a record, and who still have time to get their names in the school record books.
At Orange High School, Amanda Schmauder has jumped her way into the school record book. Schmauder, who was a state qualifier last season, has the girls' pole vault record at 10 feet.
Orange coach Nick Genovese said she has higher aspirations for the rest of the season. "Her goal is to jump 10 feet, six inches," he said. "She's been working very hard to achieve that."
Genovese said he also has some promising young runners in several relays. At the Mayfield Invitational, Orange's foursome of Tanesha Reed, Adah Zhang, Ayana Cheston and Amber Young won the four-by-100-meter shuttle relay with a time of 1:09. Zhang, Young and Cheston are sophomores and Reed is a junior.
On the boys' side for Orange, coach Niah Harvey said that although Michael Martin doesn't have the school records, he has turned in competitive times in both the 800 meters in 1:58 and the 1,600 meters in 4:27. Martin, a junior, won the 1,600 meters at the Mayfield Invitational with a time of 4:31.
At Chagrin Falls, the boys' four-by-200-meter relay team nailed a school record of 1:33.8 in a meet against James A. Garfield High School. The four members of the relay team are Ryan Takacs, Matt Digel, Jack Spilman and Ricky Kochert.
Chagrin Falls coach Dave Kirk said the mark eclipses the old mark by less than one-tenth of a second, set five years ago by Dan Callahan, Brandon Lombardy, Jeff McClurg and Brian Robiskie, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns last month.
At Gilmour Academy, there are several new additions to the book that holds the school marks. Bart Merkel, a junior, set the school record this season with a time of 9:32.08.
Gilmour Coach James Chappelle said another record was added to the books this season when Preston Hoge ran a 39.5 in the 300-meter hurdles.
Gilmour senior and 2008 state qualifier Tim Vala also set a record for the Lancers this year with a heave of 169 feet in the discus.
Chappelle also said that although it's not a school record, senior Tom Hallal has posted the best time among Division III schools this year with a 49.8 clocking in the 400-meter dash.
For the Gilmour girls' team, there have been four school records set this season. In the four-by-200 meters, the relay team of Bekka Simko, Allie Dahlhausen, Grace Brennan and Candace Longino-Thomas set a mark with 1:43. Longino-Thomas turned in an individual school record with a 24.19 in the 200 meters. Gilmour girls' coach Jeff Klein said this is also the fastest 200-meter time recorded this year for Division III girls' teams.
Also for Gilmour, Bekka Simko set the school record for the 800 meters last month with a time of 2:14. In the 3,200 meters, the Lancers' Melanie Frank set a school mark when she crossed the tape in 11 minutes and 31 seconds.
Chris Ickes, the boys' coach at Kenston High School, said one of his team's best chances for a record this year will come from the throwing arm of Kyle Spisak. He is in third place on the Kenston charts for the discus, and this occured earlier this season with a toss of 163 feet, 3 inches. The Kenston record in the discus was set in 2003 with a throw of 170 feet, 4 inches by Justin Rodhe.
Chris Farroni, the boys' head coach at Hawken, said that one of his relay team's is "very close" to setting a school mark. So far this year, the four-by-200-meter relay team has a best time of 1:31.9. The school record is 1:31.37 set in 2005. Farroni said he's leaning on the optimistic side in his belief that his current relay team will post a faster time before the season is completed.
Farroni said another candidate to possibly get his name in Hawken's record book is senior Tyler Nichols. In the 110-meter hurdles, Nichols has a best time of 14.95 seconds this year. The school mark is 14.7 seconds.
Solon track coach Dan Iwan said that two records have fallen this season for the Comets. One was the 3,200 meters when senior Jeremy Schiele ran a 9:32. The new entry in the record book didn't have to be changed that much, because Schiele had the old mark, which Iwan said was about four seconds slower.
Another repeater in the Solon books was Chadd Pierce. A senior, Pierce had set a school mark of 15 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault earlier in the season. But this month he increased the mark with a vault of 15 feet, 7 inches. In another field event, Solon sophomore A.J. Hicks is is already only 10 feet away from the school discus record of 167 feet.
Comet high jumper Caden Joshua is another sophomore who is already knocking on the door of a school mark. His best jump this season is 6 feet, 6 inches, which is just one inch short of the school record of 6 fee, 7 inches, set in 2006.
West Geauga girls' coach Mike Taurasi is another coach who has one of his relay teams running very close to a school mark. In the four-by-100-meter relay, the Wolverines' best time of 51.2 seconds is just about one-half of a second short of the school mark. The foursome in this year's relay team are Kori Chapic, Irena Yakubenko, Stephanie Brinning and Elle Javorek.
University School Coach Peter Zappas said that senior Justin Chappel derives a lot of his long jumping talent from his speed. Just in case anyone wants to contest Zappas' theory, Chappel has the numbers to back it up. He holds the school record in both the 100- and 200-meter dash. His time in the 100 meters is 10.84 seconds, along with a 21.93 seconds clocking in the 200 meters.
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