Boys Track & Field: Korbin Martino to lead young Canal Winchester Indians squad

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Canal Winchester's Korbin Martino (right) beats Gahanna's Tristin Cook-Fisher to the finish of the 800-meter relay March 27 at Pickerington Central. Martino, who will compete at Penn State, finished third in the 400 meters at the Division I state meet as a sophomore in 2019.

Canal Winchester boys track and field coach Kurtis Robinson took an informal survey of his team before its first meet and was not surprised by the results.

If anything, it underscored how much time Robinson will put into devising lineups well into the season.

“We were trying to piece together the first meet (the Hammond Relays on March 27 at Pickerington Central) and I asked how many of the guys had competed in a high school meet, period, and there weren’t that many,” the eighth-year coach said. “Then I said, ‘Raise your hands if you’ve ever competed in a varsity meet,’ and even fewer guys raised their hands. None of this year’s freshmen have and the sophomores haven’t. This year’s juniors, the only ones who competed were the ones who were really good as freshmen.”

Three college recruits return to lead the Indians, paced by Penn State-bound Korbin Martino. He finished third in the 400 meters at the Division I state meet as a sophomore in a time (47.16 seconds) that was ranked fastest among all sophomores in the country by MileSplit.com, and helped the 1,600 relay to fifth and 800 relay to seventh.

Martino also won the 400 title at the indoor state meet March 6 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, and junior Dylan Randall finished first in the 60.

Two distance runners who will compete in college in seniors Ian Lewis (Heidelberg) and Brett Smithers (Ohio Christian).

Other key returnees from the 2019 team – which shared a district championship and finished third at regional and 10th at state – are senior Sebastian Harbin (pole vault), Blessing Johnson (sprinter) and Ishmael Moss (sprinter), juniors Stephan Byrd (sprinter), Elike Heh (sprinter) and Dexter Mounts (sprinter).

Byrd is a Cincinnati football commit.

Seniors Bowden Jerome, Jonathan Chandler and Lane Gibson will anchor the shot put and discus. Martino also is a high jumper, and his freshman brother, Karson, is expected to participate in hurdles and sprints.

INSIDE THE INDIANS

•Coach: Kurtis Robinson, eighth season

•Next meet: April 10 at Fairfield Union Invitational and Pickerington North Stingel Invitational

•Key athletes: Ian Lewis, Korbin Martino, Dexter Mounts, Dylan Randall and Brett Smithers

Cruisers face

transitional season

With 27 boys on the team, first-year Groveport Madison coach Ryan Alton said he will have to first figure out where his athletes fit, then maximize their talents from there.

The last remaining members of the 1,600 relay that placed sixth in the Division I state meet two years ago have graduated in Tyrell Floyd and Rafael Soler, and almost every area of the team entered the season with talent yet to be tapped at the varsity level.

“We’re kind of in a rebuilding mode this year. We’re pretty thin,” said Alton, who previously spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach and succeeds Vincent Gay. “Usually we have a lot of sprinters, but this year I’m just now starting to figure out who will be on the (400 and 800) relays. We have a few seniors but a lot of underclassmen. …

“We’ll be decent in the sprint events. We’re just not deep. We have to stay on them about nutrition, stretching and warming up – all the preventative things. We can’t afford to lose anyone.”

Alton expects to rely on senior Kahari Davis as what he called “a jack of all trades,” using him in events ranging from the 100 to 400 and at least two relays. Davis was one of the cross country team’s top runners in the fall.

Junior Harris Musungu finished eighth in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) at the indoor state meet, five inches shy of the height he leapt as a freshman. His younger brother, freshman Mike Musungu, also will be a jumper, along with senior John Motton, an Ohio University football recruit.

Classmates Eli Jackson and David Neal, who also run cross country, will be distance runners and pole vaulters.

Motton also will be a sprinter, joining a group that includes senior Marcus Holmes and junior Markell Holmes.

Throwers include senior Jashaun McGraw, who helped lead the football team to playoff berths each of the past two years.

INSIDE THE CRUISERS

•Coach: Ryan Alton, first season

•Next meet: April 10 at Stingel Invitational

•Key athletes: Kahari Davis, Eli Jackson, Jashaun McGraw, Harris Musungu and David Neal

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave