Clarion Comets Track Club Attends SPIRE Ohio Preview Meet, Smith Wins High Jump

Photos courtesy of Matt Lerch – Above: Hayden Smith glides over 6’6″

(By Matt Lerch)

The Clarion Comets Track Club continued their march through Ohio on Saturday, January 27th, attending the SPIRE Ohio Preview Meet. The SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio sits on 800 acres and has over 850,000 square feet of Olympic grade facilities. The 8-lane, 300 meter Rekortan track, throwing and jumping indoor track facility attracted athletes from Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Delaware during a one day meet. Head Coach Tammy Lerch and Assistant Coach Nate Datko split duties on track and field during the day with 9 Clarion Comets competing against the hundreds of competitors.

The highlight of the meet for the Clarion Comets was Hayden Smith’s second win in the high jump of the indoor season adding another feather in his cap. Smith currently competes in high school basketball but is preparing himself for the outdoor track season by competing with the Comets. He had competition again on Saturday with 2 competitors who also cleared 6’4,” vying for a clearance of 6’6”. Smith came through in the clutch again, defeating his competition as the only jumper able to clear the lofty height of 6’6”. For those who are unfamiliar with the high jump, it is a rare treat to watch a high schooler clearing that height.

The Clarion Comets entered 4 long jumpers into competition at SPIRE. Aiden Fox was the longest Clarion jumper with a 15th place finish of 19’00.5” Isaac Lerch was the second longest jumper with a jump of 18’3.25” and Carter Brown was third for the Comets and jumped 16’7”. On the girls’ side, Megan Powell jumped 11’6.25” for the Comets. The triple jumpers were Fox and Powell. Powell jumped 25’7.75” in 12th place, a new personal record (PR). Fox finished in 8th place with a jump of 39’4.75” also a PR.

Isaac Lerch lands in the pit

The distance runners showed up in force for the Comets in the 1600 meters with Adi Jackson coming in 34th place out of 89 runners with a new PR of 5:39. Bryn Anderson shaved off a whopping 9 seconds on her PR finishing with a time of 6:20. On the boys’ side, Jonas Wilshire continued to show his strength in the event finishing with a 4:55 milliseconds off of his PR.

Jonas Wilshire Kicks in the 1600m

Carter Brown was the lone sprinter in the 60 meter dash finishing in 8:11, 1/100th of a second off of his PR. Lerch was the only Clarion Comet to run the 200m sprint, finishing with a new indoor PR of 25:30. Eliza Datko sprinted the 400m for the Comet girls just missing her PR by a second with a time of 1:11.

The Comet 800m racers were Jackson, Datko and Anderson. Although this race was at the end of the meet and the racers were tired from previous events, the Comets’ conditioning was showcased by all 3 girls with precision execution of a tactical race in each of their heats. Jackson started out on the 300m track in the middle of the pack but outkicked the top finishers in her heat coming in 25th out of 86 runners in a new PR of 2:31, a two second differential of her previous PR. Datko hunted down runners one by one by starting at the end of the pack and ended up with a new PR of 2:39, shattering her previous PR by 4 seconds. Not to be outdone by her older teammates, 6th grader Anderson ran a come-from-behind tactical race, with a blistering kick finishing with a time of 2:59, one second off of her PR.

Bryn Anderson making the 800m move

The Comets will not compete for 2 weeks before their two meet finale at Youngstown State University at the WATTS Center on February 10th and February 17th.

(Keep up the good work, Comets!!!! Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article!!)