Every athlete contributes to Rangers’ championship

J. Patrick Eaken

Northwood track has just seven boys and 11 girls on the team, but nearly every one of them have found a way to contribute.
The Northwood girls team scored 186 points in the six-team Toledo Area Athletic Conference meet to easily defeat second place Ottawa Hills (109).
        “The girls knew they had a good opportunity to win the conference this year, and many of them rose to occasion, dropping times, adding feet in their events,” said Coach Jeremy Lewin. “It was a great team effort.” 
The boys team scored 122, finishing as league runner-up behind the Green Bears (146).
Therefore, if you have 18 athletes with talent, then that is good enough if all of them contribute.
        “We have strong numbers on both the girls and boys teams which allows us to put a full line-up on the track every week,” Lewin said. 
This is the first league championship in the 12 years that Lewin has been coach. Last year, Northwood girls finished third and the boys sixth.
        “The TAAC is a very strong track league. Most of the schools have competitors who are regional qualifiers and state qualifiers. It’s always fun to see that kind of competition at the end of the season,” Lewin said. 
The girls won the championship on the strength of seniors Trinity Fowler and Olivia Randall, while the boys are led by seniors Jon Lucas and Joey Heise, junior Anthony Williams and sophomores Demond Marks and Jay Moten.
Last week, Fowler defended her league championship in four events, including the 400 (1:01.83), 800 (2:26.58), 1600 (5:34.73) and 3200 (12:30.58). She repeated as TAAC Female Athlete of the Year.
This was nothing completely new for Fowler, who was the district and regional champion in the 800 as a junior and finished second at the state meet. She holds the school record in the 800, 1600, 3200, 4x800 and 4x400. Lewin says she has already signed to run cross country and track for NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University.
Freshman Olivia Cox adds depth to the distance program, participating on the second place 4x800 relay squad and placing fifth in the 800 (2:48.31). She ran good times in the 800 as an eighth grader, so Lewin knew he had talent joining the program this year.
The girls 4x200 relay team of Randall, sophomore Emily Bowen, freshman Randi Wilson and sophomore Tori Romstadt easily won in 1:59.96, defeating the second place team from Ottawa Hills by over 12 seconds. Randall, sophomore Christina Zielinski, sophomore Ashley Rable and freshman Mia Austin won the 4x100 with a time of 55.56.
Randall hopes to get back to state, where she was part of a state placing 4x400 team in 2017. Lewin believes the relay teams have a strong chance to do well when tournament meets begin this week.
        “We expect to improve tremendously in our relays this season with the experienced runners we have coming back, plus the added speed we have seen on the team so far,” Lewin said. 
In addition, Northwood freshman Alayna Avalos took the shot put with a toss of 26 feet, 10 inches while teammate and Wilson finished second (26-2).
Bowen won the high jump, reaching 4-4 while her teammate and classmate Alivia Rohloff finished second by clearing four feet. In the long jump, Zielinski won a championship with a leap of 14-8½.
Sprinters close to record
For the boys, Heise won the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 41.18, an event in which he finished second at regionals a year ago.
The 4x200 relay team of Williams, Marks, Heise and Lucas won in 1:35.7, less than three seconds off the league record (1:32.9) set by Toledo Christian in 2007.
“Demond Marks and Jay Moten are all first year track athletes who have already shown signs a good speed and explosive movements,” Lewin said.
Williams won the shot put championship with a toss of 38-7 and Northwood junior Josh Croley finished second (38-4¾).
Lucas, who was a regional qualifier in the 400 meter run last year, finished second at the league meet this year with a time of 53.62, just over one-tenth of a second behind Toledo Christian sophomore Trevor Wensink (52.74).
Top distance runners are junior J.J. Poiry, who finished fifth in the 1600 (5:09.52), junior Antonio Garcia was fourth in the 800 (2:14.45), and Poiry and freshman Max Closson were seventh and eighth in the 3,200 with times of 11:45.96 and 12:00.82.
        “Max Closson was dedicated in his winter training and is running really well this season,” Lewin said. 
Northwood junior Josh Hannum finished second in the long jump (19-0½).
        Lewin says the biggest improvement this season has come from Romstadt, Heise, Hammum, and junior Jimmy Jablonski, who demonstrated “dedication to their off season training, goals, and work ethic.”
The Cardinal Stritch boys were fourth with 51 points and Stritch girls fifth, scoring 48. Stritch’s only league winner was senior Ashton Caryer, who took the discus title with a toss of 161-10.


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