City League Roundup: Linden's Towns brothers standing out in cross country
Moments after finishing the City League meet Oct. 15 at Whetstone, L.B. Towns and his two brothers on the Linden-McKinley boys cross country team began receiving congratulations from coach Kyle Birchmore.
Towns, a junior, along with his sophomore brother, Chris Towns, and his freshman brother, Philip Towns, had helped the Panthers earn a runner-up finish in the seven-team meet.
“This year we were lucky enough to get some young guys that came out,” Birchmore said. “Everything just fell into place. All the credit goes to them. They’re the ones that do all the hard work.
“I did not see any stats for when the last time was that we placed in the City, so as far as I know, this may be the first Linden cross country team to place. To have four guys be all-City is just amazing.”
L.B. Towns finished third in 17 minutes, 23.7 seconds — behind Whetstone’s Thaine Nederveld (16:23.7) and Matthew Conroy (17:13.6) — to lead the Panthers as they scored 34 points to finish behind only the Braves (28).
Eastmoor Academy (68), Briggs (135), Mifflin (139), South (149) and Northland (154) rounded out the standings.
Chris Towns finished sixth (18:15.1) and Philip Towns was seventh (18:26.3), with junior Shamarke Ali (ninth, 18:39.9) and senior Jaquanne Fox (15th, 19:39) rounding out the competitors for Linden.
According to Birchmore, his athletes continued training during the final two weeks of August when City sports were paused.
The Towns brothers train regularly with their father, L.B. Towns Sr.
“This is only my first year running cross country, but I’ve been improving,” L.B. Towns Jr. said. “Really our dad made us (come out for the team). We were putting all this work in running so we thought, why not? It’s fun. This is what we work for. This is only our third meet and we got second at another meet (earlier in the season).”
Linden competed in the Division II, district 1 meet Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby. The top three teams and top 12 individuals advanced to the regional Saturday, Oct. 31, at Pickerington North.
Rounding out the top 10 in the 57-runner league meet were Whetstone’s Wyatt Starkie (fourth, 17:24.2), Centennial’s Nick Loudner (fifth, 17:46.2) and Eastmoor’s Kalani Booker (eighth, 18:33) and Preston Davis (10th, 18:44).
Also on Oct. 24, Centennial competed in the Division II, district 2 meet while Northland was in the Division I, district 1 meet.
Loudner leads Stars
girls at league meet
In the City girls cross country meet, Centennial finished second (40) behind Whetstone (21) and ahead of Eastmoor (75) as 30 runners competed but no other schools posted a team score.
Whetstone’s Jane Carney won in 23:05.1, followed by Centennial’s Brooke Loudner (23:26.3), Whetstone’s Marisa Tayal (23:27.7) and Ava Feller (23:31.8), Northland’s Isabel Alberto (23:41.1), Walnut Ridge’s Nevaeh Reaves (24:09.6), Centennial’s Jana Kimball (24:12.7), East’s Samiya Wagoner (24:34.5) and Whetstone’s Ana Kain (24:46.9) and Ella Combs (24:47.2).
Loudner, who also plays for the Stars girls soccer team, plans to compete in track and field in the spring after previously running the 400 meters, 800 and 1,600 in middle school.
“I’ve been able to do all but one (of Centennial’s cross country meets),” Loudner said. “It’s been going well. For me, I feel like I could have gotten better times because I ran a lot faster last year as a freshman. When we were shut down we were off for two weeks and I did soccer still to stay conditioned so I never really got (out of shape).”
City holding several
After City athletics were paused in late August because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it was determined that programs in girls volleyball, boys soccer and girls soccer wouldn’t compete in the OHSAA postseason but instead would have City tournaments.
Football programs were permitted to enter the OHSAA playoffs, followed by what will be four rounds of City playoffs.
On Oct. 22, the City football playoffs began with third-seeded Walnut Ridge playing host to 14th-seeded West, fourth-seeded Independence playing host to 13th-seeded Linden and sixth-seeded Beechcroft playing host to 11th-seeded Centennial.
On Oct. 23, Northland (8) was host to East (9), South (5) played host to Mifflin (12) and Whetstone (7) was host to Briggs (10).
The next round of games also will include top-seeded Eastmoor and second-seeded Marion-Franklin, both of which had first-round byes.
Africentric, which made it to the regional quarterfinal round in Division VI, Region 23 of the OHSAA playoffs, is not competing in the City playoffs.
In girls soccer, Centennial played Whetstone on Oct. 21 for the City championship.
The title game in boys soccer was set for Oct. 27, which followed two rounds of play among eight teams.
Also on Oct. 27, the City boys golf tournament was held at Airport, with Centennial, Mifflin, South and Whetstone participating.
The regular-season schedule in volleyball continued until Oct. 28 and will be followed by a City tournament.