The VASJ track team continued moving in the right direction this spring with a strong performance in Painesville on April 28 at the Dick Beeler Invitational.
On the boys side, the Vikings were led by Nate Dean, who had a big afternoon winning the 400M (51.10) and running on the second-place 4X200 relay and on the second-place 4X400 relay.
“I’m pleased with the way Nate is running, but to be honest I am not surprised,” VASJ coach Scott McNulty said. “He committed to three months of indoor track and that has really helped him with conditioning. We know he has the speed, but now he has the endurance and discipline to be a very good 400 runner. The kid he beat from Lake Catholic is a very talented runner.”
The 4×200 and 4×400 relay team of Dean, Gaston Dowdley, Jr., Chris Boykin and Derrick Thuesday could be formidable in the postseason and a threat to do damage at the district and regional meets.
Alex Williams replaces Dean on the 4×100 relay, which McNulty also said has great promise. The relay finished second at the Beeler behind Wickliffe in 44.50.
VASJ throwers Adam Stauffer, Dontrell Nowling and Pat Sheridan all continue to improve and gear up for the postseason.
“In the events we were able to compete in, we did very well,” McNulty said. “We are still working on the distant races, but overall I like where we are at.”
The boys finished sixth with 42 points.
On the girls side, the Vikings finished fifth with 35 points.
VASJ won the 4×200 relay in 1:51.95, besting runner-up Harvey by more than 2 seconds. Mikeya Cook-Howard, Jayla Currie, Maritza Strong and Yahnnai Clipps ran on the winning relay. Clipps filled in for Shaundrea Harris, who was injured but is expected to return for the NCL Championships next week.
The young 4×400 relay team of Strong, Currie, Julie Le-Quay and Ashanti Turner finished third in 4:25.33.
The 4×100 team finished fourth with a time of 53.85. Currie, Cook-Howard, Voni Jones and Brandi Bates comprised that relay for the Vikings.
“The girls are running well and we know relays are going to be our strength especially if we get Shaundrea back healthy,” McNulty said. “And I have to say Currie is running so well right now. She has been fantastic this year.”
Le-Quay finished third in the 800M for the straight meet. She ran the half mile in 2:39.11.
“She has a real chance at the school record if she keeps improving,” McNulty said of Le-Quay. “She really has only run that race four times so she has a ton of upside moving forward.”
The NCL meet this week will be followed by a trip to Dayton to face elite competition all in preparation for the upcoming district meet.
“I think when we are healthy we have a chance to do some damage and there are a few events I like our chances of getting to state,” McNulty said.