Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Boys 400 relay setting pace for Rams track and field teams

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Whitehall-Yearling's Ry’Yair Smith competes in the 400-meter shuttle hurdles during the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 10 at Big Walnut. The Rams girls team finished eighth (18.96) behind champion Big Walnut (116.46).

First-year Whitehall-Yearling track and field coach Kyle Jefferson has been impressed by the early season performances of his athletes.

The boys and girls teams turned in strong showings April 10 in the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut. 

For the boys, the top highlight was the 400-meter relay of Taron Biles-Walker, Andre Jackson, Kevin Jackson and Jeremiah Harrison winning in a meet-record 43.28 seconds. 

“That is the second meet record they have broken this year in as many meets,” Jefferson said. “The first question they ask when we get to the meet is ‘what is the meet record’ so they can set themselves a goal for that meet. It is a lot of fun seeing those guys enjoy that race.” 

The relay also set the meet record (43.71) in the Zuber Relays on March 27 at Liberty Union. 

The same four athletes also won the sprint medley relay (1:35.72) at Big Walnut, where the Rams finished fifth (57.96) behind the champion and host Golden Eagles (111.97). 

“In terms of the other relays, we are still switching around different athletes and the order of those athletes,” Jefferson said. “We have a good problem in that we have about seven guys who could run any relay on any given day.” 

The girls team finished eighth (18.96) behind first-place Big Walnut (116.46). 

Ry’Yair Smith, Jaliyah Hunter, Chaniya Harris and Kaseena Reese were sixth in the 400 relay (53.96) to lead the Rams. 

“The girls competed pretty well in the events we were in,” Jefferson said. “They aren’t as deep as the boys team, so we are still trying to figure out where to put everyone to give them the best chance at succeeding. We feel we are really close to running fast times in both the 400 and 800 relays. They are all working extremely hard at practice.” 

Baseball team looks to 

improve fundamentals 

As baseball coach John DeRing analyzed the early stages of his team’s season, he focused on improving its fundaments. 

The Rams were 2-6 overall and 2-2 in the MSL-Ohio Division before playing Grandview on April 19. 

“We lost some pretty tough ones,” DeRing said. “We have to do a better job of making routine plays, and that’s what we worked on a lot (the week of April 5) in practice. Just simply making routine plays. You don’t have to make exceptional plays, just make routine plays. Catch a routine fly ball, field a routine ground ball and throw it. Our focus is doing routine things correctly.” 

After losing its first six games, Whitehall beat Wellington 29-1 in five innings April 9 and 17-7 in six innings April 12. 

“It was great, a little confidence-booster for the kids,” DeRing said. 

Games against Madison Plains on April 14 and Groveport on April 15 were canceled because of scheduling conflicts for the opponents. 

The Rams opened league play with a pair of five-inning losses to Bexley, 21-0 and 15-0 on April 5 and 7. 

Whitehall will close out league play with two-game series against Columbus Academy on April 23 and 26, Worthington Christian on April 28 and 30 and Buckeye Valley on May 3 and 5. 

“Bexley can swing it well,” DeRing said. “Grandview and Academy are going to be tough. The dark horse is probably Worthington Christian, plus Buckeye Valley. It’s going to be a tough baseball league.” 

DeRing hopes the league schedule helps to prepare his team for the Division I district tournament in May. 

“I just hope we can improve each day,” he said. “We seem to get better each day. I just hope we can continue that trend. We’re so young that we can’t measure our success by wins and losses. We need to measure our success against ourselves. If we can make routine plays, we can be very competitive; but until we can make routine plays, we’re going to struggle.” 

Softball team’s season 

delayed by COVID-19 

The softball team’s start to the season has been delayed by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Games through April 17 were postponed or canceled. 

Whitehall was scheduled to play Grandview on April 19 and 21 in MSL-Ohio contests. 

“It’s unfortunate, but we are also in a pandemic and that’s something we can’t control,” coach Kirsten Lyshe said. “All I can do is hope and pray everyone that is affected stays as healthy as possible so we can see the field soon. Our seniors deserve to have a season.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank