West Side News

Track & Field

Bailey wins 400 title at state meet

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Tim Bailey leaves the Westland High School boys track and field team knowing he left his mark on the program and beyond.

Participating in the wheelchair competition in the state meet for the second consecutive season, the senior won the 400 meters in a meet-record 57.75 seconds June 7 at Ohio State.

"I do believe I did help set the foundation for (wheelchair competition in the state meet)," Bailey said. "Last year, we only had one girl and eight or nine boys. This year, we had four girls and (11) guys. It's pretty cool seeing it grow that fast."

Bailey began his day at state by finishing second in the 800 (2:01.75) to Wooster's Casey Followay (2:01.74). He then won the 400 before placing third in the 100 (17.7) behind Followay (17.1) and Liberty Center's Robert Burns (17.26).

"I'm not happy with the 100 time. I had a bad start," Bailey said.

Last year at state, Bailey won the 100 (17.28) and placed second in both the 400 (1:01.96) and 800 (2:13.76).

One of 11 seniors on Westland's team this season, Bailey did not compete in the fourth wheelchair event offered by the OHSAA -- the shot put.

"Back-to-back state champion in different events," coach Tim Eckard said. "I thought he brought a lot of good attention to the program. We run a good program and I think the kids accepted him and he taught a lot of kids a lot of lessons last year, especially (those) with maybe some preconceived notions about people in wheelchairs or people that are disabled. Tim definitely opened my eyes to not putting labels on people."

Bailey, who was the Cougars' only state qualifier for the second year in a row, will remain active in the sport. He leaves this week for the U.S. Paralympics National Championships, which are being held Friday, June 20, through June 22 at the College of San Mateo in California.

Bailey already has earned qualifying times for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"That's my next goal -- to win gold in an event in the Paralympics," Bailey said.

Westland competed in the 17-team Division I, district 1 meet that concluded May 24 at Hilliard Darby, scoring seven points to finish 13th behind champion Pickerington North (127).

The Cougars did not have anyone qualify for the regional meet held May 28 and 30 at Pickerington North. Sophomore Ivan Suazo fell one spot shy of advancing to regional, as he placed fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.18).

The 400 relay of seniors Dashon Marshall, Erick Martinez and Connor Scott and freshman Abdul Diallo placed seventh (44.79), junior Dominick Thomas finished eighth in the long jump (20 feet, 1/2 inch) and the 3,200 relay of juniors Andrew Choate, Bryce Long and Andrew Ritchie and sophomore Josh Moore was 14th (9:48.36).

There are no wheelchair events at district or regional. Bailey qualified for state based on regular-season times.

Westland finished seventh (41) in the OCC-Central Division meet May 15 and 17, behind Hilliard Davidson (176.25), Olentangy Liberty (120), Thomas Worthington (87.25), Dublin Coffman (83), Marysville (69.25) and Central Crossing (46) and ahead of Upper Arlington (35.25).

Suazo won the league title in the 110 hurdles (15.28). Also placing in the top four were the 400 relay of Marshall, Martinez, Scott and Diallo (third, 44.87), Scott in the 200 (fourth, 23.71) and senior Steven Lewis in the discus (fourth, 125-6).

"We had 13 seniors (in the entire program) and (having that number of seniors) was definitely a bright spot," Eckard said. "We attracted some first-year kids that finally came out as a senior. Dashon Marshall was a big help to us this year. I was pleased that kids have heard good things (about the program) and actually decided to come out (for the team)."

 

Mayhew among expected returnees for girls team

The girls track and field team did not have any Division I state or regional qualifiers this season, but most of its top performers in the district 1 meet are expected to return, including sophomore Donna Mayhew.

Mayhew and freshman Brittney Rodgers were the Cougars' top finishers in the 17-team district 1 meet.

Mayhew placed ninth in the 1,600 (5:43.35) and 13th in the 800 (2:31.62), Rodgers was ninth in the discus (90-10), the 3,200 relay of Mayhew, juniors Kelly Draves and Heidi Paxson and freshman Hannah Festog finished 12th (10:56.9) and the 800 relay of senior Aleeyah Vanek, junior Moene Mickens, sophomore Carolina Marerro and freshman Brooke Reid was 14th (1:59.29).

Westland did not score at district, as Pickerington Central (126) won.

The Cougars scored eight points in the OCC-Central meet to finish eighth, behind Davidson (165), Thomas (128), Liberty (100), UA (88.5), Coffman (86.5), Central Crossing (55) and Marysville (28).

Westland did not have any top-five finishes in the league meet. The 3,200 relay of Mayhew, Paxson, Draves and Festog (11:01.58) and the 400 relay of Mickens, Reid, Marrero and freshman India Alston (55.76) both placed sixth, and the 1,600 relay of Draves, Mayhew, Reid and freshman Courtney Mullet was seventh (4:37.39).

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