Sleet, rain, strong winds, frigid temperatures and all other unpleasantries the weather decided to throw at the competitors of Saturday’s AW Hendricks Clyde Invitational, couldn’t keep Matt Rowland grounded.
Rowland, a Bellevue senior broke another pole vault record at the meet, clearing 14 feet, 9 inches to break the meet record height of 14-7, set by former Redmen pole vaulter Lee Miller in 2007. The two-time defending Division II state champion added firsts in the 200-meter dash (23.80), 110 hurdles (15.16) and was part of the winning 4×200 relay as he took meet MVP honors, helping the Redmen win the boys meet 181-143 over the host Fliers.
“Right now, it’s about getting the team points,” said Rowland, of his running success on top of his ever growing accolades in the pole vault . “Plus if my legs are strong, that will help me as the season goes on and it’ll hopefully allow me to go higher at the state meet in the pole vault.”
Rowland started the spring by breaking the Division II state record, a mark he attempted to break three different times at the end of 2012. His vault of 16-4.75 at the Tiger Relays at Seneca East High School — his first outdoor meet of the year — bested the previous mark set by Medina Buckeye’s John Coyne in 1986. He broke the record, again on April 6 when he went 16-6 at the Perkins Pirate Invitational.
“I wasn’t feeling too good about my vaulting that day,” said Rowland, of capturing the record on March 30. “But all of a sudden I got up to those high heights and everything started clicking.
“I wanted that record last year but I wasn’t able to get it, Now that I finally got that off my chest I’m aiming for the Division I mark that Jacob Blankenship (Gahanna Lincoln) has right now at 17-2.”
Rowland competed in the New Balance indoor nationals in March (8-10), held at the Armory in New York City. He finished third at the competition to earn All-American status, clearing a height of 16-5.25.
“I’ve gone as high as 16-6.75 indoors, so I have confidence in vaulting those heights,” Rowland said. “Before that, I had cleared over 16-4 about three times. This off-season I worked on my run and got that working a lot better. It just naturally kind of changed up on me and it’s worked to my benefit.”
Rowland ran the final leg of the 4×200 relay (1:36.23) that also consisted of Jalen Santoro, Kyle Norman and Dylan Fultz.
Sarah Bedell ran times of 16.44 and 50.39 seconds, respectively, to win the 100 and 300 hurdles while also anchoring the winning 4×400 relay (4:33.78) to earn MVP honors in the girls meet as Bellevue swept team honors, once again topping Clyde 167-115 1/2.
Hilary Brown was first for the Lady Red in the 100 dash (13.54). Madison Scagnetti won the 3,200 in 12:39.32, Laiken Tester was first in the long jump (14-07) and Tara Rinner won the high jump (5-02). Brown, Jacqueline Turner, Kirsten Whaley and Hannah Doore’s time of 55.63 was also first.
Travis Brake won the boys 100 (11.64) for Bellevue. Dylan Farmbrough won the 800 (2:09.94) and 1,600 (4:54.29) while he, James Hickey, Brandon Tobin and Andrew Beier won the 4×800 (8:53.93). Santoro, Brake, Seth Agee and Alec Haynes took first in the 4×100 relay (46.03) for the Redmen and Hickey, Bryan Hickey, Tobin and Fultz won the 4×400 (3:44.87).
Clyde’s Collin Rieman won the 400 in 54.49. The Fliers also got two firsts from Ben Wollenslegel in the 300 hurdles (42.32) and high jump (6-02). Wollenslegel was second in the long jump to teammate Damien Coburn who won with a top jump of 20-04.25.
On the girls side, the Fliers got a first from Doninique Loparo in the pole vault (8-0). Natalie Andrews swept the two throwing events, winning discus (110-11) and the shot put (32-11.50).
Cariss Reese was second in the 300 hurdles (51.06) and pole vault (8-5) as the Lakota girls finished fourth (44 points). Katie Park was second in the shot put at 31 feet, 3 inches.
Kevin Crowe was runner-up in the boys shot put at 45-0 as the Raiders finished seventh (14 points) on the boys side.
Jared Ballenger won the discus with a top toss of 155-10 for the Ross boys who finished fourth (52 points). It was the end to a solid weekend for the Little Giants’ junior thrower as he won both the shot put and discus Friday at the Bowling Green Bobcat Invite.
De Churchya won the 200 and 400 Friday and was second Saturday at Clyde in the 800. Jeff Barnett was third in Saturday’s long jump after winning the same event on Friday. The Little Giants topped Findlay to win the overall team title at BG.
“Our young kids did quite well Saturday,” Ross boys coach John Elder said. “Jeff Barnett is coming back from health issues, so he needed the work. We had a couple other veterans compete just for practice and for a workout.”
Jessica Schell led the Ross girls on Saturday as they finished seventh. She took second in the girls discus at 92-08.
Ariana Spencer took first in the long jump and was second in the 100 meter dash Friday as the Little Giant girls were second at BG. Elayna Ackerman and Erin Slaughter finished second and third, respectively, in the 100 hurdles, same with Abbi Hasselbach and Paige Collier in the pole vault. Ross was also second on Friday in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
“We brought our young kids to Clyde since we had the BG Invite Friday,” Ross girls coach Travis Bates said. “It was a good experience for a lot of freshmen.”