The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 16, 2014

Photo finish spurs South to boys title

Riverside (third) top area finisher at PAC Meet

By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — After a day of battling weather that alterred events for the day, the winner of the boys edition of the Premier Athletic Conference track meet came down to the last event of the day.

A third-place finish by the quartet of Robert Parker, Maksim Spasiuk, Kevin Thompson, and Tommy Richmond in the 1600 relay was good enough for the South Rebels to hold off a determined band of Preppers from University School, who won the event, to close out a 2-point victory.

South finished with 107 points to nip the Preppers, who had 105. Riverside was third with 97 points, Chardon fourth with 93, Madison 72, North 68, Geneva 51 and Lakeside 23.

Riverside’s third place finish was an emotional one as the Beavers sendoff coach Dave Denner in his last season as coach.

“I felt we were in good shape most of the day,” the veteran leader said. “I think we were first after the first 8 events, and first after 12. We only had 20 boys here today, and they put on some kind of show. These kids never gave up at any time this season. They battled today and several PR’d during the day. A lot of the credit must go to our coaches, too. We’ve only got 2 head coaches at South and 2 assistants, with 1 unpaid volunteer too. They really prepared the kids to work today, and that kept us close all the way. I’m just so proud of them.”

The sprints and sprint relays keyed the win for the Rebels.

They won both the 400 and 800 relays, besides their third in the finale of the day. Top runners were Parker, who also took second in the 200 dash, Sam Guyett, D. J. Greene, and Andre Smith.

Star Beacon coverage area athletes did well during the rainy day, but county teams just didn’t have the depth to keep up.

Madison’s Aaron Petruccelli won the 200-meter dash, and Patrick Darrough scored in several events to lead the Blue Streaks. Coach Jeremy Verdi was glad to get the meet in.

“It sure rained hard for a while there,” he said. He could have been a bit more talkative had he not been attending to his duties helping to get ribbons and medals into their proper team packets behind the scorers table.

Geneva didn’t have a banner day, but did have a well balanced day at Spire Institute.

Zach Watts repeated his triumph in the pole vault from last weekend’s Karl Pearson Ashtabula County track meet with an effort of 12-6, and Zack Zehe was fifth in the shot put.

Luke Murray did well for the Eagles in the hurdle events by taking second in the 110-meter hurdles and third in the 300-meter event.

Lakeside’s day was paced by the first place finish in the discus by Reggie McHenry, wo won his event handily with a heave of 146-8. Brandon Modic put in a solid third-place effort in the shot put with a toss of 45-4. Caleb Henery took fourth in the 800 as well.

“I’m glad we were able to get inside for at least a little while,” Dragons coach Olajuwon Cooper said. “It’s a beautiful facility that gives the kids a nice place to show what they can do. Reggie really did well today.”

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.