By Lenny Sementi
The leader of Tuscola’s boys’ track team was all smiles on Friday as his Warriors turned in their top performances of the year on one of the biggest stages.
Coach Ryan Hornaday’s group captured second place in the Shelbyville sectional as a team scoring 82 points, while advancing nine athletes in all, not including relay alternates, to the state meet in Charleston this coming weekend.
Hunter Woodard and John Hill led the charge towards Eastern Illinois University’s blue oval. The duo collected first place hardware in two events at Shelbyville. Woodard enters the state meet as the top-ranked shot putter in the state, while Hill is ranked seventh in the open 400 meter entering the meet. Woodard also won the discus and moves on to Charleston ranked ninth.
Hill will compete in three events at state joining with Noah Woods, Bradley Kramer, and Michael Holmes in both the 4×400- and 4×800-meter relays. The Warriors won the 4×800 and are the eighth ranked team and took third in the 4×400 but beat the qualifying time and move on seated in tenth heading into the weekend.
Hill entered the sectional looking to at the least post a qualifying time but took it one step further sealing the deal on an automatic berth breaking the tape in the 400 in a personal best time of 51.12 seconds to take home the gold. Noah Woods was a near miss on time, with a 52.29, and place, landing in third. The junior delivered six points to the team score and moves on in two relays. He took the baton from Hill in the 4×800, handed it to Kramer, who delivered to Holmes for the anchor leg crossing the line a season best 8 mnutes 23 seconds earning the spot on the top of the podium. It was the same order in the 4×400, which landed just outside an automatic advancement but eclipsed the qualifying finishing in 3:30 throwing their hat into the ring at state.
Woodard captured first in the shot with a 58-foot-6-inch toss and is the one to beat. If the big man can pull off the feat he would add to the list of state champions under the tutelage of long-time throws coach Stan Weinke. He took top honors in the disc as well with a throw of 146’2” outdistancing teammate CJ Picaso by mere inches. Picaso moves on as well in the event taking second and breaking the sand at 143’7”. The junior scored in the shot as well with a third place effort.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 23 edition of The Tuscola Journal.