Whitehall-Yearling Roundup: Rams track and field teams fall short of regional meet
The Whitehall-Yearling boys track and field team entered the Division I, district 1 meet hoping to advance athletes to the regional.
Although the Rams fell short of that goal, first-year coach Kyle Jefferson witnessed several highlights this season.
“There’s a lot of good things that came out of this season,” he said.
Those highlights included the 400-meter relay establishing a program record several times, with its best time being an effort of 42.53 seconds in the district preliminaries May 18 at Hilliard Darby.
The relay consisted of juniors Taron Biles-Walker, Jeremiah Harrison and Kevin Jackson and freshman Andre Jackson.
The relay hoped to advance to the regional after finishing second during the preliminaries at district, but the Rams did not finish the race during the finals May 22 because of a bad exchange.
The top four finishers in each event advanced to regional, which was held May 26 and 28 at Pickerington North.
“It’s not what we were hoping for,” Jefferson said of the district meet. “Especially on the boys’ side, it’s pretty disappointing. … We were moving pretty quickly (in the 400 relay) and just lost track of the baton.
“They were really upset. I told them it’s how you respond to adversity when things don’t go your way that matters more.”
Kevin Jackson also was disappointed with the race, but expects the relay to improve on its record next season.
“It was unfortunate how the season ended, but it's all good,” he said. “We’ll be back next year. It feels good that we have the new record. We’re planning on breaking it again next year and have it there to last for a while.”
Biles-Walker and Harrison were seeded second and third, respectively, in the 100 heading into the final before Biles-Walker settled for seventh (11.28) and Harrison finished eighth (11.33).
“They both had pretty bad starts for their standards,” Jefferson said. “They were trying to come back from behind the entire race.”
Whitehall finished 17th (3) at district behind champion Canal Winchester (114) as 18 teams scored.
The Rams finished third (105) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 11 and 14 at home behind Grandview (176) and Bexley (109).
“I definitely think we’re moving in the right direction,” Jefferson said. “That (400 relay) is really hungry. I’m hoping next year we can get more kids out, especially in the field events and just build onto what we did this year. I don’t think anybody was super happy about getting third place in the league, but you have to get more kids out and do better next year.”
The girls team finished 14th (1) in the district 2 meet behind champion Gahanna (153.83) as 14 teams scored.
Junior Kayla Bagley, sophomores Chaniya Harris and Kaseena Reese and freshman Kiara Pearson finished eighth in the 400 relay (53.07) to account for the Rams’ lone point.
“They gave a really good effort,” Jefferson said.
Freshman Tylaiya Warnock finished ninth in the shot put (31 feet, 9 1/2 inches).
Senior Ry’Yair Smith, who competed in the preliminaries for the 400 relay May 19, missed the finals to participate in the school’s graduation ceremonies.
“It made a little more sense for her to go to graduation,” Jefferson said.
The Rams finished eighth (14) in the league meet behind champion Buckeye Valley (165.33).
TRACK & FIELD
•MSL-Ohio standings: Boys — Grandview (176), Bexley (109), Whitehall (105), Columbus Academy (65), Buckeye Valley (56), Worthington Christian (51), Wellington (6); Girls — Buckeye Valley (165.33), Bexley (129.33), Columbus School for Girls (106), Grandview (74), Academy (68), Worthington Christian (56), Wellington (26.33), Whitehall (14)
•Seniors lost: Boys — Teddy Brown, KyZion Freeman, Jonathan Guijosa, Anthony Hampton, Mike Hernandez-Paz, Keith Hodge, Jaiion Lowe and Erick Martinez Mejia; Girls — Cierra Battiste, Hailee Franklin and Ry’Yair Smith
•Key returnees: Boys — Taron Biles-Walker, Jeremiah Harrison, Andre Jackson, and Kevin Jackson; Girls — Kayla Bagley, Chaniya Harris, Kiara Pearson and Kaseena Reese
•Postseason: Boys — 17th (3) at district behind champion Canal Winchester (114); Girls — 14th (1) at district behind champion Gahanna (153.83)