Boys Track & Field: Dublin Scioto Irish finding strength in distance runners

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Dublin City Schools

Dublin Scioto boys track and field coach Kevin Foley likes the talent on his team, but also realizes it’s “a work in progress.” 

“The biggest thing is this is the youngest and most inexperienced team of any team we’ve ever had,” said Foley, who is in his 25th season. “We lost some seniors, and you throw in that there was not a season last year, we’re going to go through some growing pains. There’s talent, (but) we’re going to be a work in progress.” 

The Irish will feature a distance group led by seniors Ali Latif and Trevor Page, with senior Andrew Leonard, junior Spencer McClellan, sophomores Bryce Page and Reece Page and freshman Weston Day also expected to contribute. 

Bryce and Reece Page are twins, and the younger brothers of Trevor. 

“Distance is the only area where we have returning, proven athletes,” Foley said. “We’re fairly strong in that area. We have a very good core of kids to work with.” 

Bryce Page is also a high jumper. 

The sprinters should be led by seniors Zion Freeman-Walker and Xavier Lopes. 

Lopes is also a top high jumper, setting the program record (6 feet, 5 inches) as a sophomore, while Freeman-Walker is a hurdler and long jumper. 

Junior Amare Jenkins is sprinter, long jumper and hurdler, and sophomore Aaron Weeks is another key sprinter. 

“The key to the sprints is the young talent has to emerge,” Foley said. “There’s talent, but it’s going to take time. That’s the challenge this year.” 

INSIDE THE IRISH 

•Coach: Kevin Foley, 25th season 

•Next meet: April 17 in Joe Lenge Classic at Dublin Coffman 

•Key athletes: Zion Freeman-Walker, Amare Jenkins, Ali Latif, Xavier Lopes, Spencer McClellan, Bryce Page, Reece Page, Trevor Page and Aaron Weeks

Celtics look to  

continue growth 

With one of the state’s top distance runners in 2020 graduate Elliott Cook leading the way, Jerome went from placing fourth in the OCC-Cardinal in 2018 to a league runner-up finish in 2019. 

While most of the contributors from those teams have graduated, coach Kalvin McRae hopes his program continues to improve this spring. 

“It’s definitely exciting to be back out this spring,” McRae said. “As far as the look of the team, it’s kind of new. We have some fresh faces that we’re seeing for the first time, and we’ll have a good balance of upperclassmen and underclassmen. We’re still trying to figure out the team, but we’re putting the pieces together.” 

Freshman Sam Ricchiuti could help fill Cook's void in distance events. Ricchiuti led all central Ohio runners at the Division I state cross country meet last fall by placing ninth. 

Junior Carson Smith, who also was among the cross country team’s top runners, and senior Reid Weigle will run the 800 and 1,600.  

Other contributors should include seniors Silas Kayuha (hurdles) and Kysen Gabrielis (sprints), junior C.C. Ezirim (long jump, sprints), sophomore Bryce Zimmer (sprints) and freshman Ben Lam (sprints). 

INSIDE THE CELTICS 

•Coach: Kalvin McRae, fourth season 

•Next meet: April 17 in Joe Lenge Classic at Coffman 

•Key athletes: C.C. Ezirim, Kysen Gabriel, Silas Kayuha, Ben Lam, Sam Ricchiuti, Carson Smith, Reid Weigle and Bryce Zimmer 

–Jarrod Ulrey 

’Rocks to build around 

distance runners 

In 2019, Coffman’s middle-distance runners helped it capture a league title and earn a Division I state runner-up finish in the 1,600 relay. 

The Shamrocks’ strength heading into this season appears to be a distance group that includes junior Noah Clemens and sophomores Will McGraw and Liam Shaughnessy. 

Shaughnessy finished 24th at the state cross country meet last fall and figures to run on the 3,200 relay as well. 

“We’re in a bit of a rebuilding year on the sprinter side, but we've got a few juniors and really one senior who is back (from 2019),” coach Kathryn Slaven said. “I think we’re going to be a stronger distance team. There are just fewer kids coming out this year and I don’t know if it’s because of not running last year or there are a lot of kids not feeling comfortable doing sports, but our numbers are kind of down.” 

Senior Jackson Hoyt, juniors Ryan Cox, Evan Jajack, Tomohide Katayama and Dane Piekarski and sophomores Mike Anderson and Jalen Manu should be among the top sprinters. 

Senior Nick Smith and junior Matthew Ehlert should lead the high jumpers, and Jajack, Piekarski and senior Jamil Robinson will compete in the long jump. 

Seniors Nathan Bailey and Koen Hill are returnees in the shot put and discus. 

Juniors Gabriel Long, Benjamin Moffitt and Steven Speck and freshman Jeremy Bons also should help in middle-distance events. 

“We lost a lot of really good kids who would’ve been seniors last year and we haven’t quite found the people to fill those shoes yet,” Slaven said. 

INSIDE THE SHAMROCKS 

•Coach: Kathryn Slaven, fifth season 

•Next meet: April 17 in Joe Lenge Classic at home 

•Key athletes: Nathan Bailey, Ryan Cox, Koen Hill, Evan Jajack, Will McGraw, Dane Piekarski, Jamil Robinson, Liam Shaughnessy and Nick Smith 

–Jarrod Ulrey  

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