Small, Thomas lead BW in 2013 indoor track debut at OWU
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
Olivia Small and Leah Thomas picked up where they left off last season as Big Walnut opened its 2013 Girls Indoor Track Season for veteran coach Joe Evener on Sunday, January 27, at the 16-team Ohio Wesleyan University Indoor Meet held in Gordon Field House on the OWU Campus.
Led by Small and Thomas, the Golden Eagle field event competitors made their season debuts with a strong overall performance. Small set school records in capturing the long jump (18 feet, 7 1/2 inches) and the triple jump (35–8). She also placed second in the high jump (5–1/4). Thomas, who had a solid performance in the running events, added a second behind Small in the triple jump (30–9) while Avery Kerns placed fifth in the high jump (4–8 1/4). In the shot put. Hannah Griffith impressed with a throw of 29–2 1/4 to take fifth place.
“I can’t say enough about the success coach (Mike) Ryder and his jumpers had at the meet with two firsts, two seconds and a fifth was just spectacular.” Evener said. “I was also particularly excited about Hannah’s shot put efforts. Having her throw in the 29-foot range this early will benefit the team greatly, not only during the indoor season, but also the outdoor season. The work she and coach (Dora) Riggs have put into getting her technique down pat has already paid off.”
On the track, Thomas turned in a solid effort by placing in three events. She won the 60-meter dash (8.23/8:21 seconds) while anchoring the victorious 4x200 relay team, which included Asia Medlock, Olivia Daggett and Sam Godby, to a winning time of 1 minute, 57.80 seconds. Thomas was also second in the 200 (0:29.52)
Also placing for Big Walnut were the 4x400 relay team of Medlock, Daggett, Godby and Kerns which placed second in 4:45.85; Leah Viertel who placed fourth in the 3,200 (15:32.45); Medlock who was fourth in the 400 meters (1:08.98); and MaKenna Hemming, Sarah Bickel, Madison Bayer and Erin Lanning who finished fourth in the 4x400 (5:41.36).
Rounding out the day for the Golden Eagles were Daggett, sixth in the 400 (1:10.72); Godby, eighth in the 400 (1:13.13); and Hemming, eighth in the 1,600 (6:21.54).
“This was such a good first meet for us in so many ways,” Evener said. “We were able to get 20 girls into this meet, eight of whom are new to the team or new to indoor track. I felt like the work we have put in during December and January really paid off in our first meet of the year.”
Evener praised the performances of his returning upperclassmen.
“Obviously we were led by our three returning upperclassmen Asia, Leah and Olivia. They set the tone for our overall success,” he noted. “Their leadership on the track and in the field will help guide us during February as we get into the heart of our schedule.”
The veteran coach added that the OWU meet was good for newcomers to the Big Walnut program.
“With only 16 teams involved at the meet, I believe it was a good showing and a good opportunity to introduce the sport of indoor track to the newcomers without the overwhelming sensation they might get at the larger meets we will be going to over the next few weeks.”
In the first State Indoor Rankings for 2013, four Golden Eagles are ranked in the top ten in their respective events, including Small who is ranked first in the triple jump, second in the long jump and 10th in the high jump; and Thomas who is ranked ninth in the triple jump.
Big Walnut’s next scheduled meet is Saturday, February 9, at 7 p.m. in the French Field House at The Ohio State University.