GENEVA — The Wayne men’s indoor track team won its second straight Division 1 state indoor track title on March 2 at the 15th OATCCC State indoor Championships, held at the Spire Institute Academy, in Geneva, Ohio.
The Warriors tallied 57 points, outdistancing 2nd place Reynoldsburg (33 points) by 24 points. Last year’s squad scored 44 points to win its first indoor title.
Senior Zarik Brown was a two-time state champion, winning the 400 meter dash (48.77) and 200 meter dash (21.54). Brown also took third in the 60 meter dash, running 6.84 seconds. All three marks were new Wayne High School records as well, breaking all three records held by current assistant coach and 2003 graduate, Jason Craig.
“Zarik had a career day,” said Wayne coach Mike Fernandez. “We thought he could win at least one of the events he ran, based on how he’s done all indoor season. Zarik had it in his mind that he was going to prove something to everyone, and he went out and performed.”
Brown had to run the preliminaries of the 60 meter dash, and then straight to the finals in less than 10 minutes, then after running his 400 race, had less than 50 minutes to run the 200 meter dash.
“Zarik had very little time to recover from each race, which makes his performance that much more impressive,” Fernandez said.
Brown then joined fellow senior Justin Harris, Jerrell Dixon, and Lucas Houk to take 6th in the 4×400 meter relay, running 3:29.20. Brown finished the meet with another blistering 49.0 split to move the relay from 3rd to 1st in their heat.
Senior Lucas Houk had the biggest surprise impact in his 800 meter race. Seeded 12th going into the meet, Lucas ran a new school record time of 1:56.47, placing 2nd overall. The old school record was held by Da’Vontae Beckham 1:57.64.
“Lucas was so determined to compete; he surprised the field and made a huge impact on our team title push. It was the best race Lucas has run to date,” Fernandez noted.
Senior Brian Hill made a huge impact in the field events. Hill placed 3rd in the long jump with a personal best of 22 feet, then took 6th in the triple jump, leaping 41 feet, 11.5 inches.
“Brian was a huge contributor for us today. He’s been playing with the varsity basketball team all season, but showed his talent by scoring 9 points towards our team title,” Fernandez said.
Justin Harris took 5th in a photo finish in the 60 meter hurdles, running 8.17.
“Justin will be the first to tell you it wasn’t a smooth race, but he knows that those were essential points for our team,” Fernandez said. “He’s only competed in three meets this year, so that affected some preparation. He has placed three straight years in a row. That’s something to note.”
Senior Dylan Beaird placed 5th in the weight throw, tossing 64 feet, 0.75 inches. He placed 4th last year. Teammate Reed Feagle took 7th in the shot put, tossing his personal indoor best of 52 feet, 11.25 inches. Junior Jaden Jones, a first time state qualifier placed 14th, throwing 48 feet, 0.25 inches. Sophomore Nathanael Bentz placed 23rd in the weight throw, with a toss of 41 feet, 11.75 inches.
“Dylan and Reed garnered some much needed field points for us. I’m just so proud of how we had a great representation for the throwers this year at the state meet,” Fernandez stated.
The 4×200 meter relay team of Justin Harris, Jerrell Dixon, Alijah Flemming and Jaden Roberts ran a season best time of 1:31.96 to place 8th.
“Alijah put in us position with his outstanding 3rd leg, running a best of 22.2 seconds. His aggressiveness brought us from 4th to 2nd in our heat,” Fernandez noted.
Also competing was Brendan Hill in the high jump, placing 14th with a jump of 6 feet. Senior James Page competed in the triple jump, leaping 38 feet, 8 inches, placing 18th.
“We came into the meet qualifying for 13 of the 16 events,” Fernandez said. “We ended up placing in 12 of those events, winning two events and exceeded our projected place of 38 points (by several Internet projections, including Milesplit running website). Our athletes were poised and ready to compete. There’s no question that being here last year helped our nerves, but credit the preparation of our coaches and athletes to garner a true team win.”
The girls placed 17th overall with 10 points, led by sophomore Samaria Davis, who placed 3rd in the triple jump, leaping a career best of 34 feet. Teammate Sinai Lynch, a freshman, was 6th with a leap of 33 feet, 5.5 inches.
“We’re blessed to always have good triple jumpers, but to have both become first year qualifiers and placers is even better,” Fernandez said.
The 4×200 meter relay team of Ka’Niya McGowan, Kaya Stargel, Jordan Hampton and Davis took 8th place with a time of 1:47.51.
“We we’re ranked 8th going in and came away with a medal and All-State status. These girls deserve it, but with only one senior on the squad (Kaya), I think the future will be bright,” Fernandez added.
Also qualifying for the state meet was Kaniya McGowan in the 60 meter dash (8.025 personal best, placing 15th) and in the 200 meter dash (26.24, placing 16th) and Sanai Lynch in the long jump 20th).
The outdoor track teams begin the year with an out of state competition in Charlotte, North Carolina for the UPS Trojan Invitational on March 23.