Team effort leads Eastwood boys track to regional title (6-1-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Sunday, 02 June 2013 01:12
Eastwood's Devin Snowden (left) hugs teammate Derek Snowden (middle) as Gabe Fredricks (right) takes a breather after the boys 4x400 meter relays during the District II regional track and field championships. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
LEXINGTON — There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how well Eastwood’s boys track and field team ran Saturday.
But in a single word, coach Brian Sabo summed up his team’s day as “perfect.”
The Eagles won their third Division II regional championship in the last six years at Lexington High School.
Eastwood won three events and scored in nine events overall to total 55 points. Sandusky Perkins was second with 44 and Van Wert was third with 43.   MEET RESULTS PHOTO GALLERY
Eagle sophomore Devin Snowden won the 300 hurdles in 38.86, and the Eagles’ 400 and 1,600 relay teams also won.
The 400 team of senior Isaiah Conkle, Devin Snowden, sophomore Brennan Seifert and junior Steven Bruning won in 43.29.
The 1,600 team of senior Gabe Fredericks, junior Joey Salinas, senior Derek Snowden and  Devin Snowden won in 3:20.91.
The top four finishers in each event qualified for next weekend’s state meet at Ohio State University.
The Eagles’ other individual state qualifiers were Conkle, who was third in the 100; and sophomore Tim Hoodlebrink, who was second in the 800.
“Our goal coming into today was to take care of ourselves and it turned out to be a perfect day,” Sabo said. “Our guys wanted it more than they could breathe. That’s what we’ve talked about all year and to see it show up in this type of atmosphere is great.
“We wanted to take care of ourselves and get as many people down to Columbus, and we’ll finish where we finish. It was just about us, just about the team, each other. They wanted it that bad. It was a want I haven’t seen all year and we’ve seen a lot of great things from our guys all year in practices and meets. ”
The Eagles qualified for the regional in 11 events and scored in all but two. Eastwood’s point total was its most at a regional since 2009 when it won with 72 1/2.
Eastwood also had 79 points in winning the regional title in 2008, The Eagles were state champions in 2009 and 2010.
The Eagles fared well in the first two events Saturday as senior Blake Kohring was eighth in the 110 hurdles in 15.45 and Conkle was third in the 100 in 10.97.
Kohring has been running on an injured foot for the last seven weeks, Sabo said, adding the foot might be broken.
“We have great team spirit and that kept us going today,” Devin Snowden said. “Blake and Isaiah got us going and we fed off that energy.”
The Eagles clinched the regional title with their win in the 1,600 relay, the final event.
Devin Snowden out-dueled Elida’s runner on the final leg down the stretch to win by 13 one-hundreths of a second. Van Wert was fourth in 3:22.34.
“Elida pushed us to run our best,” Devin Snowden said.
Eastwood held a 45-40 lead over Van Wert entering the 1,600 relay and needed to finish at least fourth to win the title. Perkins didn’t qualify for the 1,600 relay final. Eastwood’s time was a season best.
“We were counting points, but when I saw the look on our guys faces, I knew I didn’t have to say anything,” Sabo said. “You could tell they were focused and ready.”
Eastwood’s 400 relay had its best time of the season, beating its previous best of 43.38.
“Words can’t explain how happy I am for this group of guys,” Conkle said. “I’d rather take a relay team down to state than qualify as an individual because it’s so much more fun to have your teammates with you at state.”
“We’ve been coming together piece by piece each week, and today it finally paid off,” Bruning said.
Conkle ran well in his races.
The 100 was won by Columbus Ready senior Taron Slone in 10.80
“I’ve been getting better and each week in the 100,” Conkle said. “I can ran well today and I hope I can do that next week.”
Conkle missed a state berth in the 200, despite running a time of 22.04 — his second-best ever. Slone also won the 200 in 21.49.
“I did my best, but the four guys in front of me are incredible athletes,” Conkle said. “I didn’t make the top four, but I can’t complain with the day we had as a team.”
Hoodlebrink had a time of 1:54.13 for second in the 800 to finish behind defending state champion and Van Vert senior Jared Fleming, who in 1:53.88.
Fleming passed Hoodlebrink in the final 15 meters, but Hoodlebrink still had his best time of the season.
“(Hoodlebrink) was impressive,” Sabo said. “We knew he was capable of that. He kept pushing and looked like an elite distance runner.”
Snowden won the 300 hurdles at the finish, edging Columbus Independence senior Shyiem Pace in a season-best time of 38.90.
“I knew I had a chance to win and I went hard to the end, but I didn’t know if I had won because it was so close,” Snowden said.
Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2013 09:31

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