LUCKEY – Now that Eastwood’s boys have won their first state track and field championship, they’re
already looking forward to winning it again.
Maybe next season.
The Eagles – although they were a senior-dominated team – still have a terrific nucleus returning for
next season, including All-Ohio finishers Justin Welch and Cody Seifert, and three-quarters of their
All-Ohio relay team.
The Eagles won the Division II state championship June 7 at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
"The kids know what we have back," said Eastwood coach Gary White, who will be in his 21st
season next spring.
Welch, who will be a senior in the fall, will be aiming for this third straight state championship in the
discus and he’s coming off a third-place finish in the shot put as well. Welch ranks fifth in the nation
this season with a best throw of 198-6.
"Being a three-time state champion will fuel him and that will fuel someone else next to him,"
Seifert is hoping to be healthy after suffering injured hamstrings in both legs this season.
He returned in time to quality for state in the 100 and the 400 relay, but reinjured one of the
hamstrings during the state semifinals in the 100. He wasn’t able to complete the race or run in the 400
Seifert, who placed third in the state in the 200 and fourth in the 100 as a sophomore in 2007, was
leading his 100 heat by a wide margin when he pulled up halfway through the race.
The Eagles hope Nick Twining – the team’s best middle distance runner – will be healthy. He qualified for
the regional in the 800, but was unable to run because of a foot injury. He had a chance to qualify for
state this season and could be a state-placer next season. He’ll be a junior in the fall.
"(Seifert and Twining) are already talking to me how their non-participation is going to fuel them
next year," White said. "When you get that kind of desire out of a couple kids, it flows
through to the others. That’s how it starts new and kids get excited about the next season."
In addition, Seifert, Taylor Depew and Jake Rogers will return in the 400 relay. The Eagles were fifth at
state with the state with the second-fastest time in school history, even though Seifert didn’t run.
Depew will be a junior next season, while Rogers will be senior.
Rogers also could quality for state in the pole vault after finishing eighth in the regional. The top
four finishers in the regional advance to state.
The top eight finishers at state score points and earn All-Ohio honors.
So the Eagles – if everything goes well again and they remain healthy – could be close to the 40-point
mark at state next season. The Eagles won their state title with 42 points.
"Our kids know they’re capable of winning state now that they’ve done it," said White, whose
team also won district and regional titles this season.
Eastwood has been knocking on the door of a state title the last seven seasons, finishing second in 2003
"Winning state is very rewarding," White said. "Unfortunately, that state title is what
people look at and pay attention to, that one meet and they attach a ton of significance to that one
meet. I’m glad we won the state title for that reason alone.
"People will look at our program a little bit differently now. We know how good we’ve been, we know
how close we’ve been and we know how good of teams we’ve had. But now, people all around the area will
Winning the state championship became Eastwood’s goal as soon as it finished second in the state last
year. Sandusky Perkins won with 48, while the Eagles were second with 39.5 and returned all but one of
the key performers from that team.
"It’s ironic because after Perkins won it last year, their coach hugged me and said we could do it,
too," White said. "But to actually do it is very surreal. It’s just hard to believe.
"In the day of the Internet, our kids were smart enough to see who had what coming back and they
knew we could score quite a few points. We didn’t have to tell them about it. They worked hard to win
Eastwood also will be going for its 10th straight Suburban Lakes League championship next season.
The Eagles will return just three league individual league champions – Welch in the discus, and the shot
put and Twining in the 800. Rogers was second in the pole vault.
"The league will be a different kind of meet for us next year," White said. "It’ll be
exciting and fun not to have things so sure. We won’t have the dominant people and we may not win as
many events. "But there are kids waiting for their turn and there are kids who ran well who didn’t
get a chance to perform at the district level. They’re ready to prove themselves."
Eagles to be honored
Eastwood’s state championship boys track and field team will be honored Thursday night in Pemberville.
Members of the team will meet at the fire hall at 6:15 and then will walk to the American Legion hall at
6:30. The Eastwood band also will take part.
A ceremony honoring the team will be held at the legion hall.
The public is invited to attend.