Area track standouts prepare for state meet

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2004

This is THE meet.

A total of 12 area track athletes have reached the premier high school meet as they prepare for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.

Ironton will send senior pole vaulter Justin Gillum and freshman sprinter Mandi Boykin to the Division II meet while Rock Hill senior long jumper Matt Thornton also participates in the Division II meet.

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Gillum, who holds the school record at 14-feet, was third in the regionals at 13-6. Coach Greg Cronacher said Gillum's chances are good.

"Justin didn't jump that well at the regionals. We know he can go higher. The thing is, you never know how the wind or weather conditions will be. Justin has seen it all, so he should be able to adjust," Cronacher said.

Boykin ran the second fastest times in school history at the regional meet in the 200 meter dash at 25.93. Anissa Campbell holds the record at 25.0 seconds.

Besides winning the 200 at the regionals, Boykin was third in the 100 meters (12.84) despite having the fastest preliminary time. She has a personal best of 12.2 seconds this season.

"Both the 100 and 200 are the toughest races," Ironton Lady Tigers coach Tim Thomas said. "Everyone is about the same in the 100. It'll be a bang-bang thing. If Mandi runs like she has been, she's got a chance in both races."

Thornton qualified after placing fourth in the long jump by leaping 20 feet, 10-and-one-half inches. Speed should be an asset for Thornton who earlier this season set a school record in the 100 meter dash with a 10.9 clocking at the Coal Grove Giovanni's Pizza Invitational.

The Chesapeake Panthers and Lady Panthers have a combined nine athletes headed for the Division III meet led by senior sprinter Tristin Clark who qualified in two events.

"I'm happy for the kids who made it. They've worked hard," Panthers coach Phil Davis said.

Clark will run in the 100 meter dash and the 4×100 meter relay along with Cody Hunt, Chad Simmons and Caleb Robbins. Senior Scott Davidson will be in the pole vault.

"The 100 is always iffy. The ones who get out of the starting blocks first are the ones who get out. But Tristin ran awful well (in the regionals). He's got a shot," Davis said.

In the 4×100, the Panthers ran a 44.49 time in the regional finals to finish second. Davis is optimistic about their chances.

"There's a bunch of people in the 44 (second) range. We feel like we can go down. We ran into a pretty good head wind up there (in Lancaster)," Davis said.

For the Lady Panthers, the 4×200 relay team of Brittany Montgomery, Ashley Roach, Veronica Perko and Lisa Perry ran a 1:49.68 to finish second.

"The boys 4×100 and girls 4×200 did an excellent job," Davis said.

Davidson cleared 12-6 to finish third in the pole vault, but he holds the school record of 13-6 and is capable of improving on his regional height. Davis said an ankle injury days prior to the regional meet kept Davidson from a better performance.

"Scott has a chance. The ankle slowed him down and messed up his steps. But he's better this week. He can go 13-6 or even better. The good thing about Scott is he's a competitor. We didn't think he was going to get out. His ankle was bad," Davis said.