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Sears leads Elmwood girls to 2nd in NBC track

By SCOTT COTTOS
SPORTS EDITOR
Madison Sears has been a quick study in the 300 hurdles.
In less than a month, the Elmwood sophomore has gone from running in the event for the first time to winning it in Saturday’s Northern Buckeye Conference championships at Memorial Stadium.
And if she keeps running the race at her current pace, she just may find herself competing in next month’s state championships in Columbus.
Sears added her 300 hurdles win to a victory in the 100, a second in the 200 and a third as part of the 1,600 relay team to lead the Royals to second place in the girls team standings in the NBC meet.
Eastwood won the girls team title with 169 points, with Elmwood tallying 116. Fostoria High School was last in the eight-team field with 32.
Eastwood claimed the boys crown by a 172-162 margin over Otsego. Elmwood was fifth with 54 and last-place Fostoria had 40.
Both Eastwood squads have won 14 consecutive league-meet championships
“We’re very, very happy,” Royals’ coach Eric Poffenbaugh said of his girls team’s finish. “We’re pleased with how the girls did. We told them all week that if they can double score, we can be right there. They came together really well and performed great. I can’t be happier about the girls team today.”
Elmwood’s girls followed their coaches’ instructions well, having two people score in five events.
Sears entered the meet as the defending champion in the 400. But she did not run that race Saturday, with Elmwood’s coaches having developed a plan for their young standout that she’s executed exceptionally well to this point.
“We were looking at a way to get her to state, away from the Clay girl,” Poffenbaugh said, referring to Rossford freshman Regan Clay, who won the 200 and 400, contributed to a win in the 800 relay and was named the NBC’s female athlete of the year.
Regan is the daughter of former Fostoria standout athlete Jamie Clay. She was presented her award after the meet by her grandfather, Dee Clay, a current track official and former athletic administrator in the Fostoria school system.
“It was going to be tougher to get out. The 400 this year is loaded,” Poffenbaugh said in regard to Division II regional competition. “We figured we’d throw her into the hurdles, and she’s got some natural ability, so it’s worked out. She’s put down some really good times, so we’re hoping we can get her down to state in the 300 hurdles this year. That’s our goal.”
Sears has enjoyed running her new event.
“Running the 300 hurdles, I like it a lot more than the 400,” she said. “Obviously, it’s a shorter distance and even though hurdles have never been my thing, I like running them.
“I started at Lake (in an April 29 dual meet) and I had a 48.92. That time would have qualified for state last year, so they put me in it again.”
Sears was joined as an Elmwood winner by junior Liz Garner in the long jump.
“She’s been nursing injuries all year,” Poffenbaugh said. “We finally got her healthy and she’s been able to jump, so hopefully we can get her a good mark next week (in the district meet) and get her to regionals and see how it goes.”
Elmwood’s boys have endured a season plagued by injuries and illness, key among them a bothersome hamstring for versatile Aaron Arnold and a bout with mononucleosis for distance runner Josh Mathias. Saturday’s top finisher for the Royals was Sebastian Baxter with a third in the discus.
The top finishers for Fostoria’s boys were also thirds: Rayshon Martin in the long jump and C.J. Matheny in the 800.
Fostoria’s girls were highlighted by a 2-3 finish in the long jump by Taylor Tucker and Olivia Valenti.
“We started out a little bumpy, but we had some (personal records) today,” FHS coach Kim Fant-Cousin said.
“It’s nice to be able to compete against good competition going into districts because our district (at Defiance) is not going to be easy. We’ve got a nice little work week coming up.”
Otsego senior Cole Gorski, who won the 100, 200 and pole vault and contributed to a win in the 800 relay, all while establishing new meet records, was named the NBC’s top male athlete. He will continue his career at Ohio State.

BOYS Team Standings
1, Eastwood 172. 2, Otsego 162. 3, Woodmore 74½. 4, Lake 68. 5, Elmwood 54. 6, Genoa 49. 7, Rossford 40½. 8, Fostoria 40.
WINNERS AND Area BOYS Finishes
SHOT — 1, Bryer (Gen) 56-6¼ (meet record). 5, Baxter (Elm) 44-¼. 7, Krouse (Elm) 41-1½. DISCUS — 1, Bryer (Gen) 173-6. 3, Baxter (Elm) 139-8. HJ — 1, Bihn (Gen) 6-2. 7, Danko (Fos) 5-8. LJ — 1, Snowden (East) 21-3. 3, Martin (Fos) 20-1. PV — 1, Gorski (Ots) 15-6 (meet record). 7, Smith (Elm) 9-6. 3,200 RELAY — 1, Eastwood (Fredericks, Baugher, Smith, Hoodlebrink) 8:11.86. 5, Elmwood (Jenkins, Jasso, Wagner, Nye) 8:50.73. 6, Fostoria (Estrada, Gavin, Green, Matheny) 8:59.47. 110 HH — 1. Salinas (East) 15.28. 7, Z. Spanfellner (Elm) 18.4. 100 — 1, Gorski (Ots) 10.99 (meet record). 7, Snowden (Elm) 12.11. 800 relay — 1, Otsego (Horseman, Digby, Morgan. Gorski) 1:31.41 (meet record). 4, Elmwood (Grossman, Au. Jasso, Andrich, Baker) 1:39.00. 6, Fostoria (Fisher, Johnson, Bush, Cramer) 1:44.42. 1,600 — 1, Avers (Ots) 4:21.62 (meet record). 6, Jenkins (Elm) 4:51.67. 7, Estrada (Fos)4:52.02. 8, An. Jasso (Elm) 4:52.38. 400 relay — 1, Eastwood (Geiser, Seifert, Snowden, Hoodlebrink) 43.66. 4, Elmwood (N. Baker, Grossman, Andrich, Snowden) 47.93. 5, Fostoria (Fisher, Green, Bunley, Cramer) 48.05. 400 — 1, Neal (Lake) 50.55 (meet record). 5, Martin (Fos) 53.01. 300 ih — 1, Snowden (East) 39.38. 6, Z. Spanfellner (Elm) 45.45. 7, B. Spanfellner (Elm) 45.92. 800 — 1, Hoodlebrink (East) 2:01.29. 3, Matheny (Fos) 2:03.06. 8, An. Jasso (Elm) 2:10.99. 200 — 1, Gorski (Ots) 22.40 (meet record). 5, Au. Jasso (Elm) 23.72. 7, Martin (Fos) 23.78. 3,200 — 1, Avers (Ots) 9:43.48 (meet record). 4, Goodrich (Elm) 10:48.83. 5, Estrada (Fos) 10:59.22. 1,600 relay — 1, Eastwood (Hoodlebrink, Salinas, Fredericks, Snowden) 3:24.53. 5, Fostoria (Martin, Johnson, Cramer, Matheny) 3:41.63. 6, Elmwood (Grossman, Z. Spanfellner, An. Jasso, B. Spanfellner) 3:45.21 .
GIRLS Team Standings
1, Eastwood 169. 2, Elmwood 116. 3, Lake 92½. 4, Woodmore 85. 5, Otsego 58. 6, Rossford 52½. 7, Genoa 51. 8, Fostoria 32.
WINNERS AND Area GIRLS Finishes
SHOT — 1, Ozuk (Lake) 33-10¾. 3, Dewey (Elm) 32-9½. 6, Schmitz (Elm) 27-8½. DISCUS — 1, Brittain (East) 119-11. 2, Dewey (Elm) 118-7. 6, King (Elm) 86-4. HJ — 1, Dabney (Lake) 4-10. 2, Instone (Elm) 4-8. 3, Barnhisel (Elm) 4-8. LJ — 1, Garner (Elm) 15-7¼. 2, Tucker (Fos) 15-1½. 3, Valenti (Fos) 15-¾. 4, Camden (Elm) 14-8¼. PV — 1, Wolff (East) 10-6 (meet record). 6, Emmitt (Elm) 8-0. 3,200 RELAY — 1, Otsego (Fackler, Beach, Wynn, Wenig) 9:58.51 (meet record). 4, Elmwood (Baer, Clack, Krassow, Tracy) 11;19.78. 100 IH — 1, Wolff (East) 16.80. 4, Tucker (Fos) 17.40. 7, Jones (Elm) 17.84. 100 — 1, Sears (Elm) 13.00. 7, Cousin (Fos) 13.84. 800 relay — 1, Rossford (Stolar, Pietrasz, Redway, Clay) 1:48.49. 3, Elmwood (Henderson, Schramko, Spanfellner, Camden) 1:56.05. 4, Fostoria (Cousin, Velasquez, Valenti, Tucker) 1:56.80. 1,600 — 1, Sponaugle (East) 5:29.56. 5, Krassow (Elm) 5:51.80. 400 relay — 1, Genoa (Kreager, Norwalk, Vizi, Plantz) 53.11. 4, Fostoria (Valenti, Velasquez, Cousin, Tucker) 53.77. 5, Elmwood (Henderson, Garner, Jones, Schranmko) 55.04. 400 — 1, Clay (Ross) 58.96. 6, Spanfellner (Elm) 1:06.75. 300 Lh — 1, Sears (Elm) 48.86. 8, Jones (Elm) 54.38. 800 — 1, Jackson (Ross) 2:22.03. 200 — 1, Clay (Ross) 25.95 (meet record). 2, Sears (Elm) 26.71. 8, Cousin (Fos) 29.47. 3,200 — 1, Sponaugle (East) 12:07.80 (meet record). 5, Krassow (Elm) 12:56.16. 8, Tracy (Elm) 13:42.29. 1,600 relay — 1, Eastwood (Jackson, Decker, Nissen, Kaminski) 4:17.25. 3, Elmwood (Camden, Spanfellner, Barnhisel, Sears) 4:23.97.

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