Lake track program continuing to build momentum

J. Patrick Eaken

Seniors Collette Askins and Amanda Scott, who will soon be collegiate track and field athletes, comprise a small fraction of the growing numbers in Lake’s track program.
The Flyers have been trying to put a dent into Eastwood’s dominance over the Northern Buckeye Conference during the past two decades.
At last year’s NBC meet, Eastwood boys track scored two people in 14 of 17 events and won two events to win its 19th straight league championship going back to its days in the Suburban Lakes League. Eastwood scored 168 points to outdistance second place Rossford (118)
Eastwood girls won just two events at the met, but they placed in every event to defeat second place Genoa 137-120 and win their 19th straight league championship. The third through fifth place spots were taken by Woodmore (104), Lake (87½) and Rossford (65).
However, the close margins told Eastwood coach Nikki Sabo that other programs were growing stronger
“Each year our conference is getting better and better. Teams are getting more athletes out for track and field and its taking the competition to a new level,” Sabo said.
On the boys side, under coach Gary Sabo’s leadership, Eastwood won five straight regional titles from 2013-17, was third in the state in 2014 and 2015, and entered the 2019 season 57-0 in dual and tri-meets over the previouis seven years. But even Sabo inherited a program which under former coach Gary White that won two state team championships. 
One Lake parent, who will go unnamed, said that his daughter, a former standout athlete, called Eastwood “The Empire.” Lake coach Jason Schober knows it’s mostly about roster numbers.
“Our girls have been very consistent with the numbers. With winning invites and getting second, we’ve had a good run since I’ve been the head coach,” Schober said. “Our guys have not had the success that the girls had, but we had great numbers this year and I think they would have surprised a lot of people
Our guys, the numbers have struggled, but this year we had 45 guys out and nine seniors. We were very excited to see what they were going to do, so I felt bad for them to not get that opportunity. The coaches, we try to recruit every year, and that only goes so far with kids these days.
“Some of those juniors and seniors we had out this year, they kind of made a pact together. We had some football players, some soccer players and some cross country kids that kind of all came together and talked each other into doing it this year. I was pretty excited to see what they could accomplish this year.”
Schober said there is only one bad side to seeing the increasing numbers year after year. The coaches meetings were getting longer, but that is a good thing.
“We have some long coaches’ meetings to do lineups. With the girls, it’s been long, and with the guys we haven’t had the numbers so that goes a little bit faster, and some of my coaches joked that this year was going to be really long for the guys and the girls because we were going to have a lot of decisions to make,” Schober said.
“One of those things is, you kind of dread it is a teacher, and some of those late nights early in the season to try to get the most points and give credits the most rest — it’s one of those things that a lot of people take for granted. I don’t think we will from now on.”
Prior to last year under Schober’s tutelage, Lake boys had gone 10-15 in dual and tri-meets and won two team trophies at invitationals. Two years ago, the Flyers were 2-3 at dual/tri meets, 13th out of 17 at the Lakota Invitational, 11th out of 14 at the Gibsonburg Invitational, sixth out eight at the Otsego Invite and ninth out of 11 at the Oak Harbor Invite.
 Schober came to Lake after starting his track coaching career at Woodmore as an assistant. He was there four years and was an assistant at Lake three years before becoming head coach. He also coached football for 18 years as an assistant, including four years at Woodmore, one at Cardinal Stritch and 13 at Lake.


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