• Val T.

Season starts on track: RHS debuts new surface, but girls, boys fall to John Glenn

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

The coronavirus pandemic was not the only event that threw a wrench into the Rochester track team’s narrative as it prepared for the 2021 season.

It was the second.

The first was a thunderstorm and wind storm in May 2019 that sprayed glass from a greenhouse onto the Barnhart Field track surface and infield.

So the track meet that Rochester hosted at Barnhart Field Thursday was not just the first since the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the 2020 season.

It was also the first on a refurbished venue that featured everything from a new track surface to a new discus cage to an upgraded pole vault mat and standards and an upgraded high jump mat and standards.

So Rochester losing the girls and boys meets might have only been part of the story.

For the record, John Glenn beat RHS 78-50 in the girls meet and 72-56 in the boys meet.

But it hardly seemed like a reason for disappointment.

“We’re super happy,” Rochester coach Ryan Helt said. “We put a big emphasis this week on just having fun, relaxing and just remembering it’s been a year. We just want to go out and remember how to run a relay or run a race or do our field events and not worry so much about results but on the process. I think everyone’s just relieved to be back because we were in the middle of our season right before our last indoor race when we got shut down.

“For a lot of kids, the last minute they spent before they got shut down with COVID was in the weight room with us. And then it was, ‘Go home and we’ll call you when you can come back.’ And they never got that call back.”

Helt was asked if the track feels the same as it did two years ago. He said the old track had “flaws” and was “deteriorating.”

“It feels different,” Helt said. “It’s a pressed rubber. So basically what happens with the older style of track, it’s a sprayed-on rubber, and the epoxy that holds the rubber together breaks down before the rubber does, so you get a spongy, loose, rubbery feeling when the track gets older. And this track is pressed. It’s a tighter, finer feel. It feels a lot faster. It just feels like your foot is generating force on the surface.”

Girls: John Glenn 78, Rochester 50

Kenzie Bradley won both the 100 and 200 meters and ran a leg on the victorious 4 x 100 relay. Lilly Watson, Savanah Eccles and anchor Kami Burkett joined Bradley on the 4 x 100 relay.

Burkett was third in both the open 100 and 200. She was running approximately nine weeks after undergoing meniscus surgery.

Kendyll Bradley, Kenzie’s younger sister, won the 800 meters in 2:48.6 after being edged out by 0.2 seconds in the 1,600.

Madilyn Calloway, a state qualifier in cross-country in the fall, won the 3,200 meters in 12:02.6, only a second off her personal best.

Mackie Leslie won the pole vault by being the only athlete to clear the opening 6-0 height.

Minutes before winning the 100 meters, Kenzie Bradley took third in the 100 hurdles in 18.6 seconds. RHS assistant coach John Nile said the 100 hurdles might have helped Bradley’s performances later in the meet.

“She did well in her events obviously,” Nile said. “She took first in both the 100 and 200, and the first time running the 100 meter hurdles, and she did pretty good. And our four by one team, they’re raw, but they’re coming together.”

Rochester did not have a 4 x 400 or 4 x 800 relay team, essentially giving John Glenn 10 free points before the meet started. They also scored just four out of a possible 18 points in the hurdles events.

Boys: John Glenn 72, Rochester 56

In the boys meet, Marshall Fishback won both the discus and shot put and helped RHS win 14 of a possible 18 points in the throwing events.

Fishback is adjusting both after the pandemic and due to a coaching change. Ron Shaffer, who a committee has recommended to the Rochester School Board to become the new varsity football coach when it votes at its April 19 meeting, will work with discus throwers and shot putters.

Shaffer will fill in for Ken Hughes this season. Helt said that Hughes resigned last month due to “medical struggles.”

“The thing is he just didn’t have a season last year,” Helt said of the improving Fishback. “So up until that point, the coaching was sporadic in that we weren’t having a coach with those guys every day. I’ve actually relied on Marshall to be the throws coach on those days. I’ll have my eyes on the kids, but he’s more familiar with the technique and instructing the technique than I am. He’s just put in so much work during football season, during wrestling season, hitting the weight room hard. He’s always asking, ‘Can we stay a little bit longer? Can we do a session in the morning? How can we keep getting in the weight room?’ You can just see his body has matured. He’s strong. He’s got good feet. He’s really going to be good. Now that we have some stability in the coaching department, he can maybe grow some more.”

Peyton Hiatt won the 400 meters in 56 seconds, and Chris Rohr won the 3,200 meters in 12:02.6, and Hiatt and Rohr teamed with Dylan Steininger and anchor R.J. Keranko to win the 4 x 800 relay.

“Chris is a very hard worker,” Helt said. “Chris puts in the work, and you can see the payoff here. He’s a very serious kid, very dedicated. And he’s just one of those examples that if you put the work in distance, and it pays off.”

Keranko was second and Steininger third behind Rohr in the 3,200 meters.

However, John Glenn outscored RHS 18-0 in the 800 and 1,600 meters.

Also, Zach Pickens won the 200 meters in 24.0 seconds, and Braxton Mencias won the long jump with a leap of 17-11.

The Zebras also swept the pole vault with Dustin Siebert clearing 8-0 for the win with Anthony Peterson taking second and Zak Daake taking third.

Coaching staff

Helt remains the head coach. Nile will work with sprinters and long jumpers. John Wachtmann will coach the 400 and 800-meter runners. Alysha Wachtmann, John’s wife and the former head coach at Tippecanoe Valley, will help with hurdlers. Alex Gudeman replaces Scott Stalbaum as the assistant coach in charge of distance runners. Karmin Reeves will work with pole vaulters and high jumpers.

In addition to the throwers, Shaffer will also help with strength and conditioning, according to Helt.

GIRLS RESULTS: JOHN GLENN 78, ROCHESTER 50

Scoring on 5-3-1 basis for individual events and 5-0 basis for relays

Winners plus all Rochester scorers

100 m

1. Kenzie Bradley (RHS) – 12.97 seconds, 3. Kami Burkett (RHS) – 13.81

200 m

1. Kenzie Bradley (RHS) – 28.44 seconds, 3. Kami Burkett (RHS) – 28.91

400 m

1. Day (JG) – 1:11.41, 2. Paige Luhnow (RHS) – 1:14.97, 3. Emily Basham (RHS) – 1:15.88

800 m

1. Kendyll Bradley (RHS) – 2:48.7, 3. Elena Bode (RHS) – 3:02.2

1,600 m

1. Braun (JG) – 6:06.1, 2. Kendyll Bradley (RHS) – 6:06.3

3,200 m

1. Madilyn Calloway (RHS) – 12:02.6

100 m hurdles

1. Delinski (JG) – 16.6 seconds, 3. Kenzie Bradley (RHS) – 18.6

300 m hurdles

1. Delinski (JG) – 47.8 seconds, 2. Macie Nelson (RHS) – 55.6

4 x 100 m relay

1. Rochester (Watson, Eccles, Kenzie Bradley, Burkett) – 54.6 seconds

4 x 400 m relay

1. John Glenn – (no time listed)

4 x 800 m relay

1. John Glenn – 11:52.2

Long jump

1. Delinski (JG) – 15-1, 3. Makenna Jackson (RHS) – 13-2 ½

High jump

1. Platt (JG) – 4-10, 3. Makenna Jackson (RHS) – 4-4

Discus

1. Borton (JG) – 68-9, 2. Melody Hisey (RHS) – 59-6 ½,

Shot put

1. S. Lang (JG) – 27-3, 3. Melody Hisey (RHS) – 24-8 ½

Pole vault

1. Mackie Leslie (RHS) – 6-0

BOYS RESULTS: JOHN GLENN 72, ROCHESTER 56

Scoring on 5-3-1 basis for individual events and 5-0 basis for relays

Winners plus all Rochester scorers

100 m

1. Perry (JG) – (no time listed), 3. Zak Daake (RHS) – (no time listed)

200 m

1. Zach Pickens (RHS) – 24.0 seconds, 3. Braxton Mencias (RHS) – 25.8

400 m

1. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 56.0 seconds

800 m

1. Malstaff (JG) – 2:21.6

1,600 m

1. Malstaff (JG) – 5:26.8

3,200 m

1. Chris Rohr (RHS) – 11:13.2, 2. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 11:23.7, 3. Dylan Steininger (RHS) – 11:44.2

110 m hurdles

1. Baldwin (JG) – 16.1 seconds, 3. Braxton Jimenez (RHS) – 18.3

300 m hurdles

1. Ziolkowski (JG) – 44.7 seconds, 3. Kaiden Towell (RHS) – 49.2

4 x 100 m relay

1. John Glenn (Schmalzried, Patrick, Larkin, Perry) – 47.3, 2. Rochester (Mencias, McKee, Basham, Daake) – 47.4

4 x 400 m relay

1. John Glenn (Schmalzried, Baldwin, Perry, Ziolkowski) – (no time listed), 2. Rochester (Pickens, Hiatt, Shaffer, Luhnow) – (no time listed)

4 x 800 m relay

1. Rochester (Peyton Hiatt, Chris Rohr, Dylan Steininger, R.J. Keranko) – 9:03.8

Long jump

1. Braxton Mencias (RHS) – 17-11

High jump

1. Larkin (JG) – 5-4

Discus

1. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 126-8, 2. Joel Hensley (RHS) – 98-1

Shot put

1. Marshall Fishback (RHS) – 37-5 ¼, 3. Hunter Shriver (RHS) – 33-4

Pole vault

1. Dustin Siebert (RHS) – 8-0, 2. Anthony Peterson (RHS) – 8-0, 3. Zak Daake (RHS) – 8-0




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