Westland Roundup: Cougars track and field teams aim for strong finish

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Freshman Mikajalita Bailey was third in the 400 (1:11.39) and fourth in the 200 (29.46) in the Best of the South-West meet April 16 at Franklin Heights.

Westland senior Sofia Rodriguez always has had an affection for the Best of the South-West track and field meet. 

Competing in the event for the final time, she helped lead the Cougars girls team April 16 at Franklin Heights. 

“I did enjoy that meet,” Rodriguez said. “The Best of the South-West is one of my favorite meets and this year being able to compete as a senior felt so nice. This meet will always be very special to me.” 

Rodriguez finished third in the long jump (13 feet, 2 1/2 inches), fifth in the 200 meters (30.62 seconds) and sixth in the 100 (14.55) as Westland placed third (21) behind Grove City (137) and Central Crossing (45) and ahead of Franklin Heights (17). 

Sophomore Leea Walker finished second in the discus (73-0) and third in the shot put (21-3/4), and freshman Mikajalita Bailey was third in the 400 (1:11.39) and fourth in the 200 (29.46). 

Rodriguez is hoping for a strong finish to the regular season followed by a good showing in the postseason. 

“We all have a goal of finishing the season strong,” she said. “I love how the season is going. Our team is very young. With (COVID-19) and knowing that there’s a risk that the season might end, it actually brought a lot of us together closer, so I’ve really enjoyed my senior year. Everyone is so sweet. We’re really appreciating it.” 

In his first season on the boys team, senior Derrick Bogay helped lead Westland to a second-place finish (46) behind Grove City (115) and ahead of Central Crossing (44) and Franklin Heights (43). 

Bogay won the high jump (6-0), placed third in the 400 (56.38) and finished fourth in the 100 (11.69) and 200 (24.98). 

“I’m definitely impressed with what he’s doing,” coach Tim Eckard said. “He’s a hard worker. He really enjoys it. I just wish we would have had him for four years. He’s definitely impressive with his work ethic and his determination.” 

Junior Austin Hunter was second in the 110 hurdles (18.72) and third in the 300 hurdles (47.92) in the Best of the South-West meet April 16 at Franklin Heights.

Sophomore Blake Bilger won the long jump (19-7 3/4). Junior Austin Hunter was second in the 110 hurdles (18.72) and third in the 300 hurdles (47.92), and sophomore Zane Gibbs-Aguon was second in the 100 (11.59). 

Thomas Emhuff, George Reyes Garcia, Drew Hutchinson and Christian Placencia were second in the 3,200 relay (9:43.09). 

“It was a good meet,” Eckard said. “The boys finished second behind Grove City. We had victories over (Franklin) Heights and Central Crossing. Those are rivalries. It’s always good, especially to get a win versus Central Crossing. We had a lot of kids get (personal records) on the boys side.” 

Westland will return to Franklin Heights on May 1 for the Anthony Wilson Invitational.

The OCC-Ohio Division meet is May 12 and 15 at Thomas Worthington. 

Baseball team

ends losing streak

The baseball team ended a four-game losing streak with a 21-3 win over Tree of Life on April 20. Westland closed the scoring with 10 runs in the seventh inning.

The Cougars were 6-6 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Ohio before playing New Albany on April 22. 

Westland opened league play by being swept by Gahanna and Pickerington North. The Cougars lost to Gahanna 12-0 on April 13 and 11-1 on April 14, both in five innings, and to North 6-0 on April 16 and 16-1 in five innings April 19.

“We’ve struggled to put the runs on the board even though the hits are there,” coach Brent Shannon said. “We played some really good league opponents. We play in one of the toughest divisions in central Ohio and it’s showing.” 

Westland will play host to Westerville Central on April 26 and visit the Warhawks on April 28 in a pair of league contests. 

“What seems like we have guys on every inning, we’re failing to manufacture the runs or drive them in,” Shannon said. “We’ve played good, clean baseball. We’ve had very few errors and our pitching has been solid. We just have to put it all together and (put) the runs on the board to support our good defense and pitching.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank