Eagles put together season to remember

COLUMBUS — Justin Welch’s goal this season was to win a second straight state championship in the discus.

The Eastwood junior turned his dream into a reality Saturday morning.
Welch threw 196-1 to win the event at Ohio State University. Sandusky Perkins senior Kyle Steinhauer was
second at 186-2.
“It’s nice to win it again,” Welch said. “It’s been my goal all year and to do it is great.”
Welch, who finished third in the shot put Friday, broke his Jesse Owens Stadium record of 188-7 set last
summer.
“I’ve just concentrated on working hard, getting better and doing my best,” Welch said.
He hoped to throw 200 feet for the first time, and break the state record and the state-meet record of
203-7 set in 1999 by Fostoria’s Cory Echelberry.
Welch’s winning throw came on the second attempt in the preliminaries. He fouled on all three of his
throws in the finals when he went for the record.
“I was trying to too hard,” he said. “It’s a little disappointing, but I won and that’s the biggest
thing.”
HURDLES: Eastwood senior Crosby Schemenauer finished fifth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.99.
His regional time of 15.00 was the ninth-fastest of the state qualifiers, but he ran a career-best 14.76
during Friday’s semifinals.
“I’m happy with fifth, given where I was coming in,” he said.
WOW: Eastwood junior Jake Rogers arrived at state as a cheerleader and a name on a file card.
But he wound up being one of the major reasons the Eagles won the state title as he replaced injured
standout Cody Seifert as the anchor runner on the 400 relay team.
The relay finished fifth in 43.13, the second-fastest time in school history. The previous best was 43.03
run a week ago when it won the Lexington regional.
“I was a little bit nervous, but everyone helped me relax,” Rogers said. “It was more mental than
anything else.”
“Jake came through when we needed him. He really stepped it up,” said Eagle sophomore Taylor Depew, who
also ran on the relay.
The Eagles went over every step and every handoff in the relay at their hotel Friday night to make sure
there were no mistakes in the finals Saturday.
Eastwood ran a 43.37 time in the semifinals. The relay time Saturday was even more amazing because
Seifert usually is about a second faster than Rogers.
“We ran well and the handoffs were great,” Depew said.
Rogers saw Seifert pull up injured during the 100 semifinals.
The start of the 100 and the 400 relay are only 30 minutes apart, but Rogers probably only had no more
than 10 minutes to mentally prepare for Friday’s 400 relay semifinal once he changed into his running
uniform.
“As soon as Cody got hurt, I knew I was running,” Rogers said.
Rogers was the alternate for the relay and the names of the relay members are listed on a file card by
each team and given to meet officials.
He also was at the meet to cheer on Schemenauer in the pole vault. Rogers was eighth in the regional and
hopes to quality for state next year. He runs on several sprint relays, although he ran the 400 relay
for just the third time Saturday.
STAFF: White praised assistant coaches Brian Sabo, Nikki Sabo, D.J. Michel, Bob Patterson and Ethan
Downey.
“They give so much to the program,” White said. “They deserve a lot of credit for what they do.”
HISTORY: White’s in his 21st season. But in his first season, the Eagles had just 14 athletes and scored
roughly 17 points in the Suburban Lakes League meet.
Now, Eastwood has about 50 athletes and has won nine straight league titles. It also finished second in
the state in 2003 and 2008.
“The program has come a long way,” White said.
TRADITION: White estimated 25 former Eagles attended the meet Saturday. A large number of team members
also were on hand, even though they didn’t qualify for state.
“This is really special for this year’s team, but it’s also for last year’s team and all of our other
teams,” White said. “We have a great tradition and it’s something everyone who has every been a part of
our program can share in. It was our fate today to win a state championship.”
CELEBRATION: The Eagles coaches and athletes celebrated by trading hugs and handshakes, and then received
their trophy and took a team picture on the awards podium.
After the ceremony, the Eagles took individual pictures with the trophy and enjoyed a victory lap around
the track.