By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
PIQUA — The Newton boys track and field team continued an outstanding season.
And only a big finish by Covington could prevent the Indians from taking home hardware at the D-III district meet Saturday at Alexander Stadium/Purk Field.
The Indians held a 13-point lead over Covington for second-place behind Fort Loramie with two events remaining.
Bennett Welborn finished fifth in the 3,200 to get Covington within nine points, with the 1,600-meter relay remaining.
Needing a win to get second-place in the team standings, Covington’s foursome of Gray Harshbarger, Alex Shaffer, Cade Schmelzer did exactly that, winning in 3:30.06.
“We got second last year, so it feels pretty good to get second again,” Covington coach Kyle Moore. “I know Bennett (Welborn) was dispappointed with fifth in the 1,600, which was he had focused on. But, he gave us a chance (to get second). He actually finished sixth and a runner in front of him was DQ’d for running inside the line. That moved him up to fifth and gave the relay a chance.”
Cates had won the 400 in 51.93 earlier in the day.
“There is always room for improvement,” Cates said about the two wins.
But, the Buccs knew exactly where they stood going to the final race.
“Coach Moore had told us we needed to win to get second (as a team),” Cates said. “But, we weren’t really thinking about that. We just wanted to win the race.
Finishing second for Covington were Schmelzer, 300 hurdles, 40.86; Kadin Presser, high jump, 6-2; and the 800 relay (Shaffer, Harshbarger, Schmelzer, Cates), 1:32.45.
Taking third was the 400 relay (Alex Shaffer, Logan Lowe, Presser, Deacon Shields), 45.59; while finishing fourth was Tyler Fraley, high jump, 6-0;
Newton coach Nick Rhoades could not have been prouder of his team.
“I came here 11 years ago (as a coach),” Rhoades said. “We have had tremendous support from the community, the administration and (superintendent) Pat McBride. To think that we could even be within one point of bringing home district hardware is amazing. And the future is bright. I think we will do even better next week at regionals.”
And while Cameron Stine had an amazing day himself, he was more focused on what the team did.
Newton finished the meet with six first-place finishes in 17 events.
Stine doubled in the high jump, 6-3; and 300 hurdles in a school record 41.83.
He was also on the 800 relay with Ethan Cook, Jack Ballard and Josh Ecklebarger that won in 1:32.32.
Also winning in a school record time was the 400 relay Ecklebarger, Ballard, Brady McLish, Cook in 45.24. In field events, Dawson Hildebrand won the shot 54-3 3-4 and Cook had won the long jump Tuesday, going 21-0 1-4.
“I think we did (make a statement),” Stine said. “The 4×100 set a school record and I just set a school record in the 300 hurdles.”
And Stine added a third-place finish in the 110 hurdles in 15.56.
He did all that while running with a stress fracture in the L-3 of his spinal cord, which has limited his practice time.
“I just have to push through it,” Stine said. “It has gotten better as the season went on. I hadn’t high jumped all year and I cleared 6-3 on my first attempt. I was really just hoping to get in the. top four (and advance to regionals). It was definitely a goal to advance in all four events.”
Hildebrand had advanced in the discus Tuesday with a throw of 138-8, while Cook added a fourth-place finish in the 100, 11.44.
For Troy Christian, Jalen Hudgins finished third in the 100, 23.14 after finishing second in the long jump Tuesday with a distance of 20-1 3-4. Taking fourth was Robert Ventura, 1,600, 4:42.67.
For Bradford, Jacob McQuinn won the discus Tuesday with a throw of 146-4.
For Lehman Catholic, Brendan O’Leary advanced in the 300 hurdles, finishing fourth in a school-record time of 42.61.
At the Milton-Union D-III regional, Bethel had two boys and a relay advance to regionals.
Wyatt Leet took second in the 400, 52.09.
Finishing fourth were Cole Brannan, 1,600, 4:44.75; and the 3,200 relay, 8:49.53.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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