Toby Hardwick had to share a little limelight with senior classmate Issac Wheeler on Saturday.
Hardwick was his usual dominant self, but Wheeler did him one better by breaking an 11-year-old meet record at the Newark Invitational.
With Hardwick winning two events and teaming with Wheeler on a victorious relay, Newark scored 49 points to finish fifth out of 18 teams and just a point out of third. Westerville Central won with 104.5 to 60.54 by runner-up Canal Winchester.
Wheeler won the 3,200 in 10:11.12, eclipsing the old mark of 10:11.4 set by Westerville South’s Ryan Davis in 2003. Hardwick took the 1,600 in 4:41.64 and the 800 in 1:58.76, staging a duel with Licking Heights’ Matt Gebremedhin. He ran a 1:59.53. The 3,200 relay of Wheeler, Owen Keith, Patrick Williams and Hardwick started the meet with a victorious 8:32.19.
“I didn’t want to go out too hard and hurt myself for future big meets, but I wanted to do whatever it took to get wins,” Hardwick said. “Try to get as many points as we can.”
He especially was excited about the 3,200 relay’s performance.
“The whole team did a PR by like four or five seconds,” he said. “If everyone can do 2:05 every time out, it makes you wonder what we can do later in the season.”
Heath’s 1,600 relay of Carlos Rencher, Freddie Stinson, Matt Kaser and Josh Lines closed the meet in a big way, besting a stellar field with their winning 3:28.68. Kaser and Lines had a great handoff for anchor leg and Lines was able hold off Dublin Scioto in the final lap.
“It feels great, coming back and doing it just a couple of days after running against more good competition,” Lines said.
Kaser finished strong to take second in the 300 hurdles (43.09) and Rencher did the same to finish second in the 400 in 51.63. They also teamed with Donnie Beistel and Lines to place third in the 800 relay.
Dublin Scioto’s Kenny Mayes blazed a 50.31 in the 400, but Rencher still was out to beat him. Heath finished in a tie for seventh with the Irish with 39 points.
“I knew I had to run my best race, and I still wanted to beat that last guy,” Rencher said. “I’ve always been a chaser. If someone is out in front of me, I’m going to do anything I can to pass him.”
The Hornets’ Brian Justice won the pole vault at 13-feet-0 as Heights placed sixth with 41 points.
Licking Valley’s Jeffery Lowery could have challenged him but he broke his collarbone recently while motocross racing.
“He had been flirting with 13 feet and possibly could have gotten 14 by the end of the season,” coach Matt Sorg said. “It’s really a shame. He had worked at it really hard and it’s amazing how much he had improved.”
Sophomore Griffin Butler led the young Panthers — who finished 16th with 14 points — with his third-place finish in the 3,200. He ran a 10:18, breaking his PR by 16 seconds.
“I knew I had a shot to break 10:20 if I could stay with (the lead pack),” Butler said. “I want to get 9:50 by the end of the season. But if I can’t, I at least want to break 10 minutes.”