PANDORA-GILBOA’S BRYCE BASINGER wins the boys 200-meter dash at Friday’s Blanchard Valley Conference track meet. Basinger was named the boys Most Outstanding Performer. (Photo by Matthias Leguire / for The Courier)

By ANDY WOLF
STAFF WRITER

Liberty-Benton’s boys track and field team did it again with its usual strength in numbers.

The Eagles ran their streak of winning the Blanchard Valley Conference boys title to 18 in a row on Friday night by racking up 1371/2 points.

Pandora-Gilboa finished runner-up with 991/2 points for its highest finish since 2010.

Van Buren (90), Cory-Rawson (78) and Hopewell-Loudon (70) rounded out the top five.

Pandora-Gilboa sophomore Bryce Basinger was named boys athlete of the meet after winning all four of his events. He swept the 100-meter dash (11.25) and the 200 (22.93) while winning the long jump (20-113/4) and anchoring the 400 relay (44.48).

Liberty-Benton only notched three event wins but relied on the strength of its depth.

The Eagles double-placed in nine of the 13 individual events and had a trio of top-three relay finishes. The only event they didn’t score in was a disqualification in the 800 relay.

L-B’s three event wins included Michael Kotey in the pole vault (14-0), Keith Sansalone in the 1,600 (4:44.23) and Brycen Abbot in the 300 (41.31).

“This whole season we were working up to this meet,” Kotey said. “We knew it was going to be tough competition, down to the wire.

“We knew we had to compete at our best. We just put everything together at the right moment to seal the deal here.”

Kotey noted the team was feeling confident in defending their string of titles based on the averages and projections of how the meet could go.

He did his share by tying his pole vault personal record (PR) at 14-0 on his second attempt. His teammate Brennan Michael was second at 13-6.

“It was really relieving because I knew it was going to be tough competition,” Kotey said of the win. “I knew they were capable of getting higher heights.”

On his 14-foot vault, Kotey simply corrected his mistakes from his failed first attempt.

“We moved the standards up because I was vaulting a bit more shallow because I was going up more off the pole,” Kotey said.

While Kotey is an experienced pole vaulter and Division III state-qualifier last season, Abbott is anything but a hurdler.

Friday’s win in the 300 hurdles came in his first time hurdling in a high school meet.

“The stage was pretty good because it gave me a little bit of an adrenaline boost,” Abbott said. “The hurdles is kind of like long jump, kind of the same motion, just a little lower.”

Getting the win was, of course, a pleasant surprise.

“I knew that coach (Jack) Quisno said I could come out second, maybe third,” Abbott said. “He wanted me to run around a 43 or 44 (second time). I ran a 41 which definitely shocked me.

“It shocked him.”

P-G’s Basinger knew exactly what he was capable of.

“It was a great day; I knew what I could do coming out,” Basinger said. “I just had to execute and get it done.”

Basinger wasn’t threatened in either of his sprints wins: by 31-hundreths in the 100 and 28-hundreths in the 200.

He paired with Riley Larcom, Travis Maag and Sam Burkholder in winning the 400 relay.

Basinger set his goals for Friday’s meet as simple as winning all four of his events.

The goals weren’t too lofty for someone who had never competed in a conference before, having missed his freshman season with a hip flexor injury.

“It didn’t surprise me too much because eighth grade I ran pretty well,” Basinger said. “I figured I could do some good things sophomore year.”

Maag added a win for the Rockets in the 110 hurdles (15.77).

Cory-Rawson’s boys team also had a strong showing with five event wins. The Hornets also closed the meet with a bang by edging out Liberty-Benton (3:32.91) to win the 1,600 relay in 3:32.70.

The same quartet of Patrick Dearwester, Zakk Stiles, Deontae Davis and Hunter Bixler also won the 800 relay 1:32.92.

“It feels really nice to have such a small school and place at bigger meets like this, to really make a name for ourselves,” Bixler, the anchor said.

“It’s the best; I’m just running with my brothers,” Davis said. “I’m very comfortable. Less pressure, more chemistry when you’re running with everyone you know.”

Bixler and Davis each added wins in the 400 (51.42) and the 800 (2:06.75), respectively.

Bixler, a junior, felt “a lot of pressure” in having to defend his 400 title. He achieved that and his goal of 52 seconds or less.

Davis was relieved to find out he wasn’t disqualified and made sure to apologize after a slight bump in passing McComb’s Justin Rode (2nd, 2:07.09) down the home stretch.

C-R’s Hunter Rader won the high jump (6-3) in a jump-off against McComb’s Ryan Montague.

Hopewell-Loudon’s Caden Crawford came away with a pair of victories, one in the 3,200 relay (8:31.03) and the other in the 3,200 (10:30.39.)

Crawford, a sophomore, was happy to represent his school in its last BVC meet before moving to the Sandusky Bay Conference next season.

He and teammates Jordan Foster, Carter Ritchey and Trey Masterson shaved 13 seconds off their seed time for a new PR.

“I’ve got to give props to them; they pushed it when we needed them, too,” Crawford said. “We all ran great and I couldn’t thank them enough.”

Van Buren’s Tyler Arbaugh nearly had two wins in both throwing events, winning the discus (162-8) but losing out on the tiebreaker in the shot put to Arcadia’s John Hill.

Both thrower’s put up a best of 49-41/2 but Hill’s second-best throw was in the 47-range to Arbaugh’s 46.

While Arbaugh is never satisfied with his marks, he didn’t want to PR in risk of peaking too soon.

“I don’t get too excited after meets; I always want to know what’s next,” he said.

Boys TEAM STANDINGS

1, Liberty-Benton 118½. 2, Pandora-Gilboa 95½. 3, Van Buren 84. 4, Cory-Rawson 68. 5, Arlington 59. 6, McComb 53. 7, Hopewell-Loudon 51. 8, Arcadia 20. 9, Riverdale 12. 10, Leipsic 11. 11, North Baltimore 8. 12, Vanlue 5.

AREA Boys FINISHES

SHOT — 1, Hill (Arc) 49-4½. 2, Arbaugh (VB) 49-4½. 3, Schlaeppi (VB) 44-8½. 4, Rath (L-B) 42-11. 5, Hovest (P-G) 42-2¾. 6, Brown (L-B) 42-½. 7, Spangler (Leip) 41-10¼. 8, Mathias (Arc) 41-8.

DISCUS — 1, Arbaugh (VB) 162-8. 2, Schlaeppi (VB) 147-10. 3, Bateson (Arl) 141-2. 4, Cohee (Arc) 133-4. 5, Hill (Arc) 132-3. 6, Pierre (L-B) 132-3. 7, Cook (H-L) 123-0. 8, Hovest (P-G) 121-2.

HJ — 1, Rader (C-R) 6-3. 2, Montague (McC) 6-2. 3, Williams (Arl) 5-8. 4, Schroeder 5-6. t-5, Dillon (L-B) 5-6. t-5, Norton (P-G) 5-6. 7, Cook (H-L) 5-6. 8, Burkholder (P-G) 5-4.

LJ — 1, Basinger (P-G) 20-11¾. 2, Ajala (L-B) 20-½. 3, Larcom (P-G) 19-11. 4, Temple (Van) 19-9½. 5, Schroeder (McC) 19-8. 6, Abbott (L-B) 19-5. 7, Montague (McC) 19-1. 8, Haley (VB) 18-8½.

PV — 1, Kotey (L-B) 14-0. 2, Michael (L-B) 13-6. 3, Marshall (C-R) 13-0. 4, Branan (Arl) 11-0. 5, Weddell (VB) 11-0. 6, Schutz (P-G) 10-6. 7, Bahn (VB) 10-6. 8, Kentris (Arl) 9-0.

3,200 RELAY — 1, Hopewell-Loudon (Foster, Ritchey, Masterson, Crawford) 8:31.03. 2, McComb (Rode, Escalante, Rider, Durfey) 8:53.66. 3, Liberty-Benton (Haas, Rickenbacher, Cade, McMonigal) 8:54.40. 4, Van Buren (Hudok, Van Horn, Ware, Mowrey) 9:04.75. 5, Cory-Rawson (Holland, Lones, Stoodt, Davis) 9:20.91. 6, Arlington (Yost, Smith, Below, McAdams) 9:33.69. 7, Riverdale (Courtney, Frysinger, Young, Philips) 9:47.73. 8, North Baltimore (Cook, Kimmel, Gazarek, Trout) 9:58.94.

110 HH — 1, Maag (P-G) 15.77. 2, Holman (VB) 15.89. 3, Williams (Arl) 16.46. 4, Rader (C-R) 16.70. 5, Hoyng (VB) 16.71. 6, Odell (McC) 16.99. 7, Kotey (L-B) 17.40. 8, Miller (P-G) 18.00.

100 — 1, Basinger (P-G) 11.25. 2, Foust (Arl) 11.56. 3, Rose (L-B) 11.57. 4, Ajala (L-B) 11.59. 5, Evans (Arl) 11.64. 6, Odell (McC) 11.72. 7, McCoy (Riv) 11.81. 8, Bailey (McC) 11.85.

800 relay — 1, Cory-Rawson (Dearwester, Davis, Stiles, Bixler) 1:32.92. 2, Pandora-Gilboa (Ridge, Larcom, Burkholder, Maag) 1:33.75. 3, Hopewell-Loudon (Stickley, Garcia, Durbin, Ritchey) 1:34.19. 4, Arlington (Foust, Essinger, Fredette, Evans) 1:34.65. 5, Van Buren (Koehler, Stone, Betts-Baldwin, Franks) 1:35.27. 6, McComb (Bailey, Loe, Reza, Montague) 1:37.02. 7, Leipsic (J. Pena, F. Pena, C. Lammers, C. Williams) 1:40.32. 8, North Baltimore (Vogelsong, Kimmel, Woodward, Morales) 1:46.99.

1,600 — 1, Sansalone (L-B) 4:44.23. 2, Foster (H-L) 4:47.10. 3, Trout (NB) 4:48.06. 4, Weber (Riv) 4:48.41. 5, Collert (L-B) 4:54.86. 6, Rode (McC) 4:57.21. 7, Masterson (H-L) 4:57.71. 8, Hudok (VB) 5:01.78.

400 relay — 1, Pandora-Gilboa (Larcom, Maag, Burkholder, Basinger) 44.48. 2, Liberty-Benton (Ajala, Rose, Jenkins, Michael) 44.76. 3, Arlington (Foust, Essinger, Fredette, Evans) 45.16. 4, McComb (Loe, Odell, Schroeder, Bailey) 45.61. 5, Leipsic (J. Pena, C. Williamson, F. Pena, Roman) 46.99. 6, Van Buren (Koehler, Hoyng, Stone, Franks) 47.11. 7, Cory-Rawson (Dearwester, Rader, Holland, Stiles) 47.15. 8, Hopewell-Loudon (McCoy, Holland, Garcia, Rumschlag) 48.24.

400 — 1, Bixler (C-R) 51.42. 2, Gaerke (L-B) 51.69. 3, Ridge (P-G) 52.41. 4, Ritchey (H-L) 53.24. 5, Betts-Baldwin (VB) 53.49. 6, Alexander (L-B) 54.68. 7, McCoy (Riv) 55.13. 8, C. Williamson (Leip) 55.45.

300 ih — 1, Abbott (L-B) 41.31. 2, Maag (P-G) 41.49. 3, Hoyng (VB) 43.69. 4, Durbin (H-L) 43.94. 5, Burkholder (P-G) 44.24. 6, Williams (Arl) 44.41. 7, Koyey (L-B) 45.51. 8, Holman (VB) 45.51.

800 — 1, Davis (C-R) 2:06.75. 2, Rode (McC) 2:07.09. 3, Foster (H-L) 2:09.81. 4, Kintner (L-B) 2:11.44. 5, Masterson (H-L) 2:12.24. 6, Hudok (VB) 2:12.99. 7, G. Jimenez (Leip) 2:14.02. 8, Haas (L-B) 2:14.90.

200 — 1, Basinger (P-G) 22.93. 2, Bixler (C-R) 23.21. 3, Koehler (VB) 23.37. 4, Gaerke (L-B) 23.57. 5, Evans (Arl) 23.65. 6, Dearwester (C-R) 23.69. 7, Fredette (Arl) 24.23. 8, McCoy (Riv) 24.2.

3,200 — 1, Crawford (H-L) 10:30.39. 2, Weber (Riv) 10:31.27. 3, Knestrick (L-B) 10:32.76. 4, Sansalone (L-B) 10:40.56. 5, Trout (NB) 10:51.90. 6, Meade (H-L) 10:55.62. 7, Al. Hernandez (Leip) 11:14.26. 8, Hudok (VB) 11:26.87.

1,600 relay — 1, Cory-Rawson (Dearwester, Stiles, Davis, Bixler) 3:32.70. 2, Liberty-Benton (Abbott, Kintner, Gaerke, Alexander) 3:32.91. 3, Hopewell-Loudon (Jones, Rumschlag, Ritchey, Durbin) 3:38.75. 4, Van Buren (Koehler, Ingwersen, Hoyng, Betts-Baldwin) 3:40.50. 5, Pandora-Gilboa (Miller, Larcom, Huffman, Ridge) 3:41.86. 6, Arlington (Bacon, McAdams, Williams, Essinger) 3:46.72. 7, Leipsic (Jimenez, F. Pena, C. Williamson, C. Lammers) 3:51.06. 8, McComb (Montague, Dillon, Reza, A. Rider) 3:52.30.

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