WORTHINGTON – As Nick Weaver started the final lap of the 3,200 in first place with about a 10-meter lead, Lancaster coach Jeff Koksal yelled to him from the sideline that the race wasn’t done yet.
Weaver made sure it was. He extended his lead another few meters and won the race Saturday at the Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division meet at Thomas Worthington. Weaver’s time of 9:50 was 10 seconds better than second place and one of a few standout performances that helped the Golden Gales finish fourth.
“(The second- and third-place runners) were close enough that they were within striking distance,” Koksal said. “They could have made that a race if Nick fell asleep. It was important that he kept the pressure on.”
Weaver, one of the stalwarts for Lancaster’s cross country team, made his mark on the track. His teammate, Adam Wise, led the first two times around the eight-lap race. But Weaver took the lead from him and kept it. Koksal said he wanted Weaver to start easy and work the middle of the race, and he responded by running his second mile 10 seconds faster than the first.
“He punished the field and managed to pull away in that second mile,” Koksal said. “He’s a smart runner. He’s a smart kid in general, so he knows how to handle these kind of things.”
Wise finished fourth in 10:05. He has been hampered by an injury all season, and Koksal said that was a good time for Wise heading into next week’s district meet. Stephen Sparks finished second in the 800 in 1:56 and third in the 1,600 in 4:27. Nick Bosser was sixth in the 1,600 in 4:33.
“I definitely felt a little tired from the mile,” Sparks said after the 800. “I was just trying to go out and give it all I got: Go out in the normal pace I go out in and come back with everything I had left.”
The Gales were in a tight competition for third place with Gahanna, but the Lions nudged ahead of Lancaster’s 90 points to finish with 98. Pickerington North won easily with 202 points, and Pickerington Central was second with 99.
The throwers again set the tone for the Gales. It started Thursday when Kyle Trout threw a personal best 57-feet-11 to win the shot put. Christian Herold was second at 55-5, and freshman Nik Curtiss was eighth at 45-9. Isaiah Dexter led the discus throwers by winning Saturdaywith a throw of 159-11.
Dexter’s longest throw came in his first of the day. He faulted on his three throws in the final. Two of them were close. On both of those, Dexter’s throws appeared to have sailed farther than 160 feet.
“It’s just balance and more practice, honestly,” Dexter said of staying in the circle. “(The event) was closer than what I wanted it to be, but I still pulled it out, so that was good.”
Trout was fourth with a mark of 154-9 and Austin Crist was fifth at 136-6. Andrew Koksal had Lancaster’s other top finish as he took fourth in pole vault.
Freshman Erica Campbell paced the Gales’ girls with two scoring finishes in the hurdles. Campbell, who qualified seventh in the 100 hurdles, finished fifth in the final in 16.04 seconds. She followed that up by placing second in the 300 hurdles in 47.22 seconds.
“Erica Campbell stepped up big time,” Lancaster coach John Zishka said. “Her skills are the more endurance events, so the 300 set up real well for her. She competed well for second there in a real good field.”
Savannah McCray finished fourth in the 3,200 in a personal-best 12:43. Ariel Stoffel was fourth in the shot put with a mark of 33-10, and Kaci Marvin was sixth at 33-0. Alisa Burnside was fourth in pole vault Thursday with a mark of 9-6, and Catherine Brenstuhl tied for fifth at 9-0.
The Gales, competing without top athletes Sammie Zishka and Courtney Heimberger, were fifth with 46.5 points. Gahanna won with 177.5.
“They competed well today,” Zishka said. “We had a lot of (personal records) today and Thursday.”