HAMLER – To say it was a somber, emotional week around Evergreen High School would be a huge understatement with the tragic passing of Athletic Director TJ Rupp.
Saturday, the Evergreen girls track team honored him the best they knew how with a spirited performance to take first place in the highly competitive Patrick Henry Joe Tussing Invitational.
“We talked during the week and obviously Tuesday (a tri-meet win over Archbold and Patrick Henry) was a very emotional night for us,” said Viking coach Jared Walker. “Then we talked during the week that we had a chance of finishing high in the standings at PH. So yes they were very emotional and motivated. Then as the meet went on we started telling them that we were scoring a lot of points and they seemed even more motivated.”
Junior Bailie Sutter and senior Alyssa Noe were the leaders of a pack that scored 80 total points to outdistance second place St. Marys Memorial by 11 points. Patrick Henry finished third with 64.5.
Sutter blew past the competition by over a second and a half to win the 300m hurdles. Teammate Amelia Kennedy placed third in that race.
Then the lengthy junior keyed wins in the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relay events.
The 4×200 team of Sutter, Noe, Kennedy and Asia Gensch nosed out Montpelier by six one-hundreths of a second for first.
The 4×400 wasn’t even close as Gensch, Kennedy, Savannah VanOstrand and Sutter finished over eight seconds ahead of second place Montpelier.
“We had a number of girls who ran well, ” explained Walker. “Our relays were obviously good but the 4×400 was really good.”
Noe sprinted past Lakota’s Qiara Palos by half a tenth of a second to win the 100m, and placed second in the 200m and 400m to Toledo Start’s Kepathwa Gibson.
Sutter placed fifth in the 100m, and Gensch sixth in the 400m.
VanOstrand also scored in two other events, placing fifth in the 800m and sixth, one spot behind teammate Sarah Schwan in the 1600m. Schwan also got a fifth in the 3200m.
Kennedy took third in the 100m hurdles and the Evergreen 4×800 team of VanOstrand, Nicole and Naomi Brand, and Trinity Welch finished fifth.
On the boys side, Patrick Henry took first with 116 points to easily place ahead of second place Montpelier.
For the Vikings, the highly touted 100 meter between Donny Johnson of PH and Hunter VanWert of Evergreen finished in a dead heat with a time of 11.09 in the windy conditions.
Jon Milliken and Shane Ruetz finished fifth and sixth in the 110m hurdles.
Jace Jenkins and Jack Worline finished fourth and fifth in the discus.
“This sets a bar for us,” stated Walker. “This meet is a very tough meet. It’s (a) meet with very competitive schools. Patrick Henry has some very solid athletes. We will definitely find out where we are in the next couple of weeks with the invites (at Hicksville and Bryan) that we are in.”
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org