By Lenny Sementi
Thrower Hunter Woodard continued to add to his senior accolades this past week at Illinois Wesleyan College in Bloomington at the Illinois High School Indoor State Track meet. The Oklahoma State football commit threw personal bests earlier in the indoor season at the University of Illinois Armory in Champaign and has been beating up the balcony walls in the gym since Christmas. All that culminated in an individual state championship this past Friday.
Woodard added to legendary throws coach Stan Weinke’s resume joining the list of State Champs he has coached by capturing the shot put title with a toss of 57 feet 8.5 inches. He won the event by nearly a foot and was five feet further than the third place finisher in 1A collecting his second state medal of his farewell tour after collecting second place hardware in the state football championships in the fall.
Head boys’ track coach Ryan Hornaday had two more athletes qualify for the meet. Both senior Jon Hill and junior Noah Woods took their shots at the best in the state in the open 400 meter. Hill had posted great times early in the indoor season at the Armory and was poised to make a statement. He took home an eighth place medal and All-State honors crossing the line in 53.46 seconds. Woods was less than a half second back in 11th overall finishing the race in 53.82. The duo will be the building blocks for Coach Hornaday’s 4×400-meter relay team in the outdoor season.
Weinke had another protégé at the meet but on the girls’ side. Senior Cassie Russo represented Tuscola and Head Girls Track Coach Lacey Diaz well by collecting hardware taking seventh place in the state in the shot with a toss of 37 feet 1.75 inches. Coach Diaz had a hurdler qualify for the meet as well. Junior McKinlee Miller didn’t reach the podium but definitely turned some heads taking 15th overall in the state finishing the 60 meter hurdles in a career best 10.27 seconds, less than three quarters of a second out of first place.