John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Shelbyville boys track battled most of the meet, until the last event, the 4x4, which the Rams won. However, they still were four points back of Monticello, 112 to 108, and had to settle for second place.
"It was there for the taking, but we made way too many mistakes to get the win," said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. "Hopefully, we can learn from this and get the sectional crown. I was disappointed for our seniors. They were trying to win their third conference meet in four years. I told everyone that we can each look at each others events and if we just beat one more athlete from another team then that would have been enough to get us over the top."
It was a two-team battle with the rest of the field 20 or more points back. Tolono was 3rd (88), Tuscola 4th (67), followed by Meridian (39.5) and Central A&M (35). Following were Clinton (28), SOV (24), Argenta (19), Warrensburg (13.5), Maroa (13), 12. St. Teresa (11).
"We didn't get off on the right foot in field events and sometimes that carries over to what happens in the meet," Coach Kramer said. "I really feel that was the case today."
Despite coming up short of another OVC team title, the Rams won a handful of individual conference titles. Eli Miller won the 100 (11.32) and 200 (22.63) dash titles. Darin Breeden won the high jump title (6-2).
"Darin Breeden won his second straight Okaw Valley Conference high jump championship with a nice 6-2 jump," Coach Kramer said. "It was great that Darin jumped well. I am really happy for him. He has struggled a little coming off of injury from basketball, but has come on strong lately. Tyler Hendryx couldn't get his steps right and struggled to finish out of the top six. Tyler has tons of ability, but with baseball we just cannot get the time and meets in he needs to be consistent in the event. He was seeded in top six and we could have really used those points."
"In the running events we had some good things happen, but still stubbed our foot a little in some events that would have got us the win," Coach Kramer said.
Miller's twin win in the 100 and 200 were good things.
"One baseball player who had a heck of a night was Eli Miller," Kramer said. "Eli brought home first place finishes in both the 100 and the 200 dashes and did it with ease. Eli really ran relaxed and focused, which is what I like to see in a sprinter. He has some very tough competition at sectionals in the Williamson kid from Neoga, so we will see how that goes. Hopefully, we can get another meet in, but with baseball make-up games that may not be possible."
Drennian Martin, Tyler Hendryx, Myles Foor and Cory Powers won the 4x4 with a sprint to the finish that Powers won.
"Cory Powers redeemed himself a little by running a great anchor leg to hold off Monticello and secure first place." Coach Kramer said. "We ran OK. Drennian didn't have his fastest leg ever, but was close. Myles ran a nice 52 split and baseball player Tyler Hendryx ran a personal best of 54 seconds to help us with the victory. I still say we can go under 3:30, but we are going to have to have everyone run their best on that day."
Shelby also won the 4x8 relay with Jaden Stockdale, Kenton Wilson, Marcus Skinner and Foor (8:38.14). Hatfield went 13-0 in the pole vault in a battle for 1st.
"Really happy for this group," Coach Kramer said. "Other than Myles, this is our "B" team and that just shows you how good our distance crew is. To have three guys out and others step in is amazing. All four ran solid, but Kenton Wilson really stepped up and got us the lead in the second position with a 2:07 split which is his best time ever."
The Rams also got a 2nd and 3rd place performance in the 800 by Powers (1:59.49) and Martin (2:03.30).
"Cory Powers ran a personal best and Drennian Martin held off a Unity runner for third place as the Rams scored big points in the 800," Kramer said. "This kind of got us back on track for a little while. Cory had a personal best and got under 2:00. Drennian overcame a pretty talented freshman for third."
They also got a 3rd place finish in the 400 by Foor (52.58).
"Myles Foor ran a personal best," Kramer said. "Myles was seeded sixth, so it was great to see him step up and get us that place and points. Freshman Preston Henze didn't place, but did have a personal best in 400 by running in the 55 second range."
Neil Yockey (10:05.18) and Alex Matlock (10;14.22) were #3, #4 in the 3200.
"Even though we took two places here, I was hoping for a little higher up from both Neil Yockey and Alex Matlock," Kramer said. "I think we got a little content to stay back with pack and not go after the leader and it probably hurt our times a little. They really need to be under five minutes that first mile and we didn't get it done. So we gave up a few points here. We were seeded second and third coming in."
Jake Keown and Mikel Welton had bronze performances in one of two of their events. Keown was 3rd in the triple jump (38-1) and Welton 3rd in the shot put (45-5).
"Mikel Welton did not get a (discus) throw in bounds," Coach Kramer said. "One thing he needs to learn is that if you don't get your first two throws in you have to get that third one in to make a mark. He might have been able to make a standing throw and get in finals and then he would have gotten three more points. But, freshman Bart Kennell came through and, although he didn't get a point, he did make finals and throw a personal best of 121 ft.
"Mikel kind of made amends for what happened in the discus by placing third (shot put), which was well ahead of his seed entering the competition," Kramer said. "We had a little bit bad luck in the fact he actually had same distance as second place finisher, but they take second best throws in that case and he was awarded third. It was that kind of night. Garrett Ferguson had a nice night as he made the finals in shot put also but just missed placing. I am excited with our young throwers.
"Jake Keown was seeded in top six in this event (long jump) and he just couldn't get it done," Coach Kramer said. "It was a little disappointing that we couldn't get a decent jump. Jake didn't jump well here last year at sectionals, so I am hoping it was just the track. We host sectionals and he jumps better here. Much like what Mikel Welton did in shot put, Jake did in triple jump. He placed third and was well above his seed place coming in. It was great to see him rebound from long jump and get us those points."
Hatfield was close to a fourth straight pole vault championship, but he was edged out.
"He finished second on misses at a lower height even though both vaulters cleared 13-0," Kramer said. "Luke had a little bit of bad luck. The pole vault was late starting and he got pulled over to the 4 x 1 just as he was ready to vault 13-6. When he came back he was pretty exhausted from race and even though he was tired he still almost made the height. It was just another example of some things that didn't go our way. Freshman Sebastian Smith had trouble with his steps but if he makes 10 ft which he has before he would have gotten a point for us. So we gave up more points in the vault then we should have."
Kramer cited some things that hurt.
"We were running well in 4 x 200 when we didn't make an exchange in our zone and got DQ'd," Kramer said. "We probably would have gotten fourth or fifth which would have given us some important points. It was another case where this was first time we had these kids in a race because of all the conflicts with baseball. This was first meet these guys ran so I cannot be too upset with them. Hopefully, we can get those hand offs down before sectionals and run a good race."
The 1600 was a disappointment for Kramer.
"Cory (Powers) was not focused to do well and it showed," Kramer said. "We did have a positive though, as Neil Yockey moved up four places the last lap and secured a fourth place finish for some points. We really should have scored well over ten points in this event and only got four."
A&M was led by sprinter Jason Pokalsey. Pokalsey won the quarter (51.33) and was 2nd to Miller in the 200 (23.43). Trent Chepan (139-6.5) and Ryan Houser (132-11.5) also got points with a 2nd and 3rd in the discus, respectively.
SOV's best performances were for 4th and 5th places.
OVC Boys Meet
Team scores: 1. Monticello 112, 2. Shelbyville 108, 3. Tolono 88, 4. Tuscola 67, 5. Meridian 39.5, 6. Central A&M 35, 7. Clinton 28, 8. Sullivan-Okaw Valley 24, 9. Argenta 19, 10. Warrensburg 13.5, 11. Maroa 13, 12. St. Teresa 11
Shelby, CAM, SOV results: 100 dash-1. Miller (SH) 11.32, 6. Pokalsey (CAM) 11.78; 200 dash-1. Miller (SH) 22.63, 2. Pokalsey (CAM) 23.43; 400 dash-1. Pokalsey (CAM) 51.33, 3. Foor (SH) 52.58; 800 run-2. Powers (SH) 1:59.49, 3. Martin (SH) 2:03.30; 1600 run-4. Yockey (SH) 4:46.51; 3200 run-3. Yockey (SH) 10:05.18, 4. Matlock (SH) 10:14.22; 110 hurdles-5. Kibler (SOV) 17.51; 300 hurdles-4. Kibler (SOV) 44.51; 4x1 relay- 4. Shelby (Breeden, Cameron, Jackson, Patch) 45.84, 6. SOV (Ryherd, Kibler, Vail, Davis) 46.83; 4x2 relay- 4. SOV (Ryherd, Davis, Vail, Davis) 1:37.68; 4x4 relay-1. Shelby (Martin, Hendryx, Foor, Powers) 3:34.21; 4x8 relay- Shelby (Stockdale, Wilson, Skinner, Foor) 8:38.14; High jump-1. Breeden (SH) 6-2; Pole vault - Hatfield (SH) 13-0, 5. Simms (CAM) 11-0; Long jump-5. Vail (SOV) 18.75; Triple jump-3. Keown (SH) 38-1, 5. Shields (SOV) 36-2; Shot put-3. Welton (SH) 45-5, 4. Schlieker (SOV) 43-9; Discus-2. Chepan (CAM) 139-6.5, 3. Houser (CAM) 132-11.5, 6. Schlieker (SOV) 127-5