WHEN Columbus East’s boys track team broke an 11-year losing streak to rival Columbus North last April, the Olympians had to overcome the Bull Dogs’ deep and talented distance crew.
East countered with quality of its own in the sprints and picked up enough other points to pull out a 67-65 victory. North’s girls won 93-39.
Tonight’s East boys’ meet at North again could come down to the field events and hurdles since the Olympians are expected to control the sprints with Sean Owens, Chase Banister and Jason Kimmet and the Bull Dogs are expected to do the same in the distance events with Kaden Eaton, Seth Williams, Karson Tays and Andy Carr.
North girls coach Steve Tyler credits the Bull Dogs’ boys and girls track distance dominance to head cross-country coach and assistant track coach Rick Weinheimer.
“Our distance program is always strong, because our cross-country program is always strong,” said Tyler, who is an assistant cross-country coach. “We work with those kids all year long. Coach Weinheimer has done a tremendous job with those kids, and our distance crew has always been really active and strong.”
First-year East boys coach David Miller is hoping his distance runners can reach the level of his sprinters.
“I know North has always had great distance guys,” Miller said. “Their coach does a fantastic job. We work a lot of speed, and I know they work a lot of speed over there, also. I just think we’ve been fortunate to have some really fast guys. That’s kind of always been our strong area, and (head cross-country and assistant track) coach (Ryan) Burke is doing a great job developing the distance guys. Our goal is to get the distance guys right up there with our sprinters, and they’re working hard. I think we’ve improved in distance from last year.”
North’s top sprinter is Taylor Summa, who also is the team’s top discus thrower. East’s top distance runner this spring has been Paul Baker.
On the girls side, the Bull Dogs have a formidable distance crew with Mackenzie Caldwell, Rachael Sollman, Sierra Lax, Caryn Wolfe and Nina Bouthier. North also features standouts in 400-meter runner Gabby Sims, pole vaulter Chelsea Wieland, sprinter-high jumper Kaci Tompkins, sprinter-long jumper Lindsey Britt, thrower Tessa Krempel and hurdler Olivia Malone.
The Olympians’ top girls athlete, high jumper Erin Mack, tore an ACL playing volleyball last weekend and will miss the rest of the season. Mack was East’s only state qualifier last year.
Thrower Sarah Loesch is the Olympians’ top remaining athlete and figures to battle Krempel for shot and discus supremacy.
“Hopefully, we’re healthy enough,” East girls coach Glen Brown said. “We’re just going to see how many points we can score. If we were at full strength, we might be able to give North a good show. We’re just going to see if some of our individuals can match up with some of their individuals.”