West Side News

Track & Field

Cougars' Farmer 12th at regional

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For the first time in 11 years, the Westland High School track and field program was represented in the state meet.

This marked the first season in which four wheelchair events were included in the state meet, which was held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State, and junior Tim Bailey had qualified in three events, the 100, 400 and 800 meters. He did not compete in the other event, the shot put.

Wheelchair athletes qualified for state based on their times and distances throughout the season. According to the OHSAA, the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches kept track of the results.

Bailey entered state with the third-fastest qualifying time of 10 competitors in the 100 (18.58 seconds), the third-fastest time of eight competitors in the 400 (1:06.81) and the third-fastest time of six competitors in the 800 (2:24.92).

The athletes competing in the wheelchair events at state wore school uniforms and were eligible to receive individual awards based on their performances, but they did not score points for their teams.

Bailey, who has been confined to a wheelchair since early childhood because of a rare congenital disorder characterized by abnormal development of the lower spine called Caudal regression syndrome, was Westland's first state qualifier since Kyle Nichols was runner-up in the 200 in 2002.

Seth Farmer was the only member of the boys team to compete in the Division I regional meet May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North.

The sophomore finished 12th (9:57.01) of 16 runners in the 3,200 as Dublin Jerome's Jake Mandel won the event (9:21.01). The top four finishers in each regional event qualified for state, and Olentangy Liberty's Andrew Johnston (9:23.81) secured the final state-qualifying spot in the 3,200.

The girls team did not have any regional competitors.

"It was great to have Westland represented once again in the regional track meet," coach Tim Eckard said. "People pay attention to what teams they see competing in the regional and state track meets. To see the forest green and white represented this year at both the regional and state track meets means a lot to our entire Westland family.

"To have Westland represented by two class acts in Seth and Tim makes it all the more special."

Farmer turned in his second-best time in the 3,200 at regional after running a personal-best 9:48.86 in the district 3 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby. He believes his experience at regional will help him in the future.

"I knew the competition was going to be as hard as it was. It only makes me better," he said. "I was thinking to try and stay in the top as long as I could because I knew they were going to go out fast.

"The regional is going to help me more to come prepared and to know what to expect."

Westland's first regional qualifier since Courtney Francis achieved the feat in the long jump in 2010, Farmer didn't start competing in the 3,200 until this season but ran cross country last fall.

Last season while attending Piketon, Farmer was a member of the 3,200 relay that placed 15th in the Division II state meet after placing second at regional and finished seventh in the 1,600 at regional.

"He was a little disappointed with his performance (in the 3,200), but he's young, one of only (three) sophomores competing at that distance at our regional," distance coach Josh Barkeloo said. "He has established himself as one of the area's top distance runners and someone that other teams are going to have to take notice of."

Westland did not score at regional as Pickerington North (99) won the title with 39 teams scoring.

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