Notebook: Klamorick, Smith rise to occasion for Canal Winchester Indians girls track team

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Samantha Smith (left) and Allena Klamorick wound down their Canal Winchester track and field careers either setting or closing in on program records. Smith finished third in the pole vault at district, and Klamorick was third in the 800. They were the girls team's only competitors at regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.

Canal Winchester girls track and field coach Darren Avery clearly laid out record-setting expectations for seniors Allena Klamorick and Samantha Smith entering this season.

Not only did Avery think Klamorick could set the program record in the 800 meters and that Smith could threaten if not take over the Indians’ top mark in the pole vault, all three would have been disappointed with anything short of Division I regional berths.

“The goal was we needed to be at the regional meet,” Avery said. “It was an expectation that some records were going down this year. This isn’t any kind of a surprise.”

Smith finished third in the pole vault with a personal-best height of 11 feet, 4 inches in the Division I, district 1 meet May 22 at Hilliard Darby, and Klamorick was third in the 800 in a record 2 minutes, 18.09 seconds, 0.47 of a second better than the standard set by Kayla Scott in 2012.

They were the girls team’s only competitors at regional May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.

A Tiffin commit, Smith was OCC-Capital Division champion in the pole vault as a sophomore and has improved throughout this season, twice reaching 11-0 during the regular season.

“My goal is to clear 12-0. I trained a lot every day last year. I’ve come a long way from 10-6,” said Smith, who also sprinted this season. “A lot of it has been mental, especially in pole vault. I increased my speed and my technique at the top end. All those things together have been key.”

The pole vault record entering regional was 12-0, set by Gretchen Rosch in 2014.

Klamorick, a Lipscomb recruit and three-time regional qualifier in cross country, was second in the 800 at district and 12th at regional as a sophomore. She attributed her time at district this year to running the event “fresh,” without worrying about other races beforehand.

“I never ran the 800 fresh so I was always between 2:20 and 2:23,” Klamorick said. “I felt like I had more confidence in the way my legs were feeling (at district). It helped me mentally, too. I knew sub-2:20 wasn’t a question once I could focus on (the 800).”

At regional, the top four finishers in each event qualified for state June 4 and 5 at Darby. Also, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on times and distances statewide.

The boys team won its second consecutive district title, amassing 114 points to edge runner-up Thomas Worthington (108) as 18 teams scored. Canal Winchester got wins from Stephan Byrd in the high jump (6-1), Korbin Martino in the 400 (47.66) and Dylan Randall in the 100 (10.76) as well as the 400 (42.6), 800 (1:27.46) and 1,600 (3:20.54) relays.

•Jashawn McGraw’s championship in the shot put led the Groveport Madison boys track team in the Division I, district 2 meet.

McGraw hit the winning distance of 49-4 1/4 on the last of his six throws.

The Cruisers’ only other regional qualifier was Kahari Davis, who finished fourth in the 100 (11.08). The team finished 11th (25) behind champion Pickerington North (121) as 15 teams scored.

Led by a fifth-place finish from its 800 relay (1:47.03) of Emani Anthony, Anijyah Bryant, Zimmari Lilly and Chenise Smith, the girls team had no regional qualifiers. Isabella Burholt and Kalista Milne tied for sixth in the high jump, and the team earned nine points to place 11th of 14 teams behind champion Gahanna (154).

•The Canal Winchester baseball team won 18 games, its most victories since going 19-8 in 2017, and expects to return all but one of its key players to build on a second-place finish in the OCC-Capital.

Junior Zade Fusselman (OF/P) led the Indians in batting average (.430), hits (37), home runs (4) and RBI (38) as they went 11-3 in the league, one game behind Westerville South. 

Classmate Joey Young (INF/P) batted .395 with 30 hits, two homers and 29 RBI, junior Matthew Davis (1B/OF/P) had a .366 average with 34 hits, two home runs and 26 RBI and junior Kollin Trace (1B/P) batted .337 with 28 hits and 12 RBI.

The ninth-seeded Indians lost to Pickerington North in the Division I district tournament for the second time in three seasons, falling 6-1 to the 17th-seeded Panthers in a second-round home game May 19.

The team’s only loss to graduation is center fielder Jake Francis, who batted .276 with 21 hits and 20 RBI.

“(Going) 11-3 in the league and what they’ve accomplished this year is something they should be very proud of. We as coaches certainly are,” coach Drew Dosch said. “Having Jake (was) huge for us. Having a guy with some varsity experience and a guy all the other guys respect, look up to and listen to was huge for us in a year where we didn’t have any experience from last year. 

“To have that stable guy up top and in the lineup every day to lead some of the younger, inexperienced guys through the ups and downs (was) great.”

Groveport senior Tyler McKee went 5-4 with a 3.37 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 43 innings. That included a no-hitter April 17 in a 12-0, five-inning win over Franklin Heights.

•The Groveport baseball team graduates one of its top players in senior Tyler McKee, who had a home run and 17 RBI and threw a no-hitter, after going 5-19 overall and 3-12 in the OCC-Buckeye.

“It was a difficult season,” coach Chris McKee said.

Tyler McKee went 5-4 with a 3.37 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 43 innings. That included a no-hitter April 17 in a 12-0, five-inning win over Franklin Heights, the team’s first no-hitter since 2013.

Junior Aiden Barnhart (OF/P) had a team-leading .314 average, ahead of senior Jamell Mitchell Jr. (OF/P, .302). Barnhart and junior Kyle Jennings (INF/P) each added a home run for the Cruisers, who were seeded 36th in the Division I district tournament and upset 28th-seeded Big Walnut 4-1 on May 17 before losing 11-1 in six innings at 10th-seeded Westerville Central in the second round May 19.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

CANAL WINCHESTER BASEBALL

Record: 18-10 overall

OCC-Capital standings: Westerville South (12-2), Canal Winchester (11-3), Worthington Kilbourne (9-5), Dublin Scioto (8-6), Big Walnut (6-6) Westerville North (5-7), Delaware (3-11), Franklin Heights (0-14)

Senior lost: Jake Francis

Key returnees: Matthew Davis, Zade Fusselman, Kollin Trace and Joey Young

Postseason: Lost to Pickerington North 6-1 in second round of Division I district tournament

GROVEPORT MADISON BASEBALL

Record: 5-19 overall

OCC-Buckeye standings: Lancaster (13-2), Central Crossing (11-4), Newark and Pickerington Central (both 7-8), Reynoldsburg (4-11), Groveport (3-12)

Seniors lost: Tyler McKee, Jamell Mitchell Jr., Garrett Ottman, Carlos Patterson, Nicklas Polan and Chandler Smith 

Key returnees: Aiden Barnhart and Kyle Jennings

Postseason: Defeated Big Walnut 4-1; lost to Westerville Central 11-1 (6 innings) in second round of Division I district tournament