Track & Field
Bailey wins 100 meters at state meet
Tim Bailey of the Westland High School boys track and field team was part of an historic state meet held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
Four wheelchair events were included in the meet for the first time, and Bailey competed in three, finishing first in one and placing second in the other two.
The junior won the 100 meters in 17.28 seconds, beating nine other competitors. Wooster sophomore Casey Followay was runner-up (17.35).
"I couldn't sleep (the) night (before)," Bailey said. "I was scared because I didn't know what to expect. I kept having the same dream. I was leading until the last 10 meters and then Casey beat me. The 100 was a close, close race. I was just pushing as hard as I could."
Bailey was runner-up in the 400 (1:01.96) and 800 (2:13.76), with Followay winning both events. Followay's times were 1:01.93 and 2:12.22, respectively. There were eight competitors in the 400 and six in the 800.
Bailey did not compete in the fourth wheelchair event offered this spring -- the shot put.
Wheelchair athletes qualified for state based on their times and distances during the season. According to the OHSAA, the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches kept track of the results.
The state qualifiers wore school uniforms and were eligible to receive individual awards based on their performances but did not score points for their teams.
Bailey, who was Westland's first state qualifier since 2002, entered state with the third-fastest qualifying time in the 100 (18.58) and the third-fastest times in both the 400 (1:06.81) and 800 (2:24.92).
He already has set his sights on winning the 400 and 800 next season.
"I'm going to come back next year and I'm going to dominate (Followay's) records that he just placed," said Bailey, who has been confined to a wheelchair since early childhood because of Caudal regression syndrome, a rare congenital disorder characterized by abnormal development of the lower spine.
Coach Tim Eckard was pleased with Bailey's performance and happy to be a part of the historic meet.
"It was a great day for the state and the fact that the first ever gold medal in a state track meet wheelchair event was won by a Westland kid made it incredibly special," Eckard said. "It was probably one of two or three highlights of my career."
Prior to state, Bailey hadn't competed since the OCC-Central Division meet May 16 and 18 at Thomas Worthington. Competing unopposed, he finished the 100 in 18.67 seconds, the 400 in 1:02.82 and the 800 in 2:13.71.
Bailey was Westland's only state qualifier for the boys or girls teams. Its only qualifier for the Division I regional meet held May 29 and 31 was sophomore Seth Farmer, who finished 12th (9:57.01) in the 3,200.
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.
Westland did not score at regional as Pickerington North finished first (99 points) among the 39 teams that scored.
Farmer became the program's first regional qualifier since 2010 by placing second in the 16-team district 3 meet that concluded May 25 at Hilliard Darby in a personal-best 9:48.86.
Westland finished 14th (15.5) at district behind champion Granville (117).
Also scoring were freshman Isaiah Henn in the long jump (fifth, 20-2 1/4), senior Ryan Weber in the high jump (tied for sixth, 5-8) and the 400 relay of freshman James Pack and juniors Giann Martinez, Erick Martinez and Connor Scott (seventh, 45.28).
Westland finished seventh (31) in the OCC-Central meet, behind Hilliard Davidson (204.5), Olentangy Liberty (127), Thomas Worthington (75), Dublin Coffman (72.5), Upper Arlington (61) and Marysville (53) and ahead of Central Crossing (28).
"The (eight) seniors were a good group," Eckard said. "A lot of them were four-year seniors. What I want from my seniors is to go out and represent us and be good role models for our younger kids. They all did that and did that well."
The girls team, which loses three seniors, did not have regional qualifiers and failed to score in the 16-team district 3 meet as Coffman won (141).
The 400 relay of freshman Destinee Long, sophomore Oluchi Obiagwu, junior Aleeyah Vanek and senior Odunayo Shobo placed sixth (52.99) and the 800 relay of Shobo, junior Sasha Bouaroy, Obiagwu and Long finished ninth (1:55.46).
Westland finished eighth (9) in the OCC-Capital meet, behind Davidson (141.5), Coffman (140), Liberty (110), UA (97), Thomas (79.5), Central Crossing (49) and Marysville (36).
"The pieces are in place," Eckard said of the girls team. "We have some talented distance runners, we have some talented sprinters (and) we definitely have some talented throwers, so we have pieces in place."