Ivan Suazo is making big strides for the Westland High School boys track and field team.
The sophomore has been a top contributor for the Cougars this season, excelling in the 110-meter and 300 hurdles.
Suazo said a renewed commitment to the sport has helped him this season, and he now has hopes of breaking the program record in both events.
His personal-best times are 15.75 seconds in the 110 hurdles and 44.5 in the 300 hurdles. Eddie Cunningham holds the program record in both events -- 14.5 in the 110 and 41.9 in the 300. He set both records in 1987.
Suazo also competes in the long jump and on the 800 relay, but calls the hurdles his favorite events.
"I am very surprised I am doing this well (in the hurdles)," he said. "I've improved so much from last year. I didn't think I was going to be able to be this good, but I practice all day, every day. I work at the school. It's non-stop practice for me because I want to get better."
Suazo's main focus is to qualify for the Division I state meet, which will be held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State. Last season in the district 3 meet, he was a member of the 800 relay that finished 15th (1:44.47) but did not compete in the hurdle events.
"I want to go to state as a sophomore," Suazo said. "I have to practice every day. State has been my goal since my freshman year. I thought I was going to make it my freshman year, but I didn't. I'm working my hardest to make it this year."
Suazo won the 110 hurdles (16.01) and placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (44.86) as the boys team scored 48 points and finished third in the Best of the South-West meet April 17, behind Franklin Heights (91) and Grove City (77) and ahead of host Central Crossing (39).
The girls team also finished third (37), behind Grove City (120) and Central Crossing (69) and ahead of Franklin Heights (30).
"I thought we did as well as we expected," coach Tim Eckard said. "Franklin Heights' boys are very good. They're going to make some noise with some of those kids at the state level. The Grove City girls are loaded."
Also for the boys team in the Best of the South-West meet, Dominick Thomas won the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches) and placed third in the long jump (18-3), the 400 relay of Abdul Diallo, Giann Martinez, Erick Martinez and Connor Scott finished first (45.57), the 800 relay of Suazo, Diallo, Dashon Marshall and Matthew Mickens placed third (1:37.98) and Tim Bailey set state records for wheelchair competitors while winning the 800 (2:07.59) and placing seventh in the 400 (1:01.85).
Bailey competed against able-bodied runners in both events. The previous state records for wheelchair competitors were 2:12.22 in the 800 and 1:01.93 in the 400.
Donna Mayhew led the girls team in the Best of the South-West meet, winning the 800 (2:36.27) and placing third in the 1,600 (5:48.45).
She also teamed with Heidi Paxson, Kelly Draves and Hannah Festog to place second in the 3,200 relay (11:07.91).
"We had tons of PRs," Eckard said of the boys and girls teams. "We had kids running, throwing, jumping their season bests. I'm going to guess probably 80 percent of our kids who went to that meet had a personal record at the Best of the South-West, and that's really all you can ask for."
Softball team picks up second victory
Softball coach Kerry Maher continues to see improvement from his team.
Westland was 2-11 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Marysville on April 25.
"They're trying hard and they're making great efforts and making the plays when they can," Maher said.
Westland lost to host Central Crossing 14-4 in five innings in a league game April 23, allowing eight runs in the first inning. A day earlier, the Cougars lost to host Worthington Kilbourne 12-2 in six innings, allowing seven runs over the final three innings while being outhit 15-4.
Westland lost to visiting Upper Arlington 9-2 in a league game April 21 after splitting a pair of games on April 19, defeating Columbus West 22-5 in five innings and losing to Franklin Heights 16-3 in five innings.
The Cougars took control early against West, scoring nine runs in the first inning.
Maher has been pleased with the progression of pitchers Hannah Matheny and Kaitlyn Willming.
"Hannah is getting a lot stronger," he said. "She pitched a good game (against UA). She pitched seven innings. She pitched five (against Kilbourne)."
Through 11 games, Will-ming and Kaylee Barber were each hitting .500, followed by Maria Hamilton (.368), Marina Gooch (.310) and Taylor Krajewski (.304). Willming had a team-high nine RBI.
Boys tennis team falls to Pioneers
The boys tennis team was looking to end a six-match losing streak when it played Central Crossing on April 24.
Westland, which won two of its first three matches, was 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central before facing the Comets.
The Cougars lost to host Jonathan Alder 3-2 on April 21.
Winners were Zach Prak 6-4, 6-4 at third singles and Roman Novikov and Peer Brendler 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at first doubles.
Struggles continue for baseball team
The baseball team was 0-11 overall before playing Briggs on April 24 and was 0-7 in the OCC-Central before playing Olentangy Liberty on April 25.
Westland lost to host Liberty 31-0 in five innings in their first league matchup April 23.
The Cougars lost to Hilliard Davidson 8-3 in a league game April 20 despite outhitting the visiting Wildcats 6-5.
Westland led Davidson 2-1 through five innings, but the Wildcats tied the game at 2 in the sixth and scored six runs in the seventh.