GRANVILLE – The Watkins Memorial boys track team was at the top of its game this past Friday during the Licking County League meet.
It should come as no surprise. The Warriors do not have many off nights. They won an incredible 11 of 12 running events to run away with their second consecutive league title.
“Every day, we practice handoffs for at least a half hour, and we like to compete, too, so that helps,” said senior Evan Caniff, who was a part of four event titles, including two relays.
The Warriors scored an incredible 202 points. Granville (98) and Heath (97.5) were a distant second and third.
Caniff wears the crown as the fastest man in the LCL, having won the 100 (11.05) and 200 (22.33). He entered the meet with the top time in each race, but he did his best to take nothing for granted.
“Everyone probably thinks that I was going to be all confident about everyone else’s times, but still inside, I knew I had to stay focused and not let their times affect me because I know they could have their good day and run just as fast as me,” Caniff said.
Caniff, Brenden Colley, Solomon Broomfield and Tyri Williams won the 4×100 relay (43.73), and Caniff, Bobby Broomfield, Desmond Melson and Chance Abbitt won the 4×200 (1:28.84) with one of the best times run in central Ohio this season. Abbitt, Melson, Kyle Marohl and Jake Correll capped the meet by coming from behind to win the 4×400 (3:24.92).
Melson (49.07) and Abbitt (49.31) resumed their friendly rivalry in the 400 as they took the top two spots. They were in side-by-side lanes, and Melson was able to stay a step ahead.
“We push each other, and we push each other,” Melson said. “I had passed him on the curve, and I guess that was enough to get me through. I started to tighten up at the end, but I guess I had a far enough lead to where they couldn’t catch me.”
Two weeks prior, Melson broke the 49-second mark for the first time while winning at Thomas Worthington.
“It’s great because you do all of this extra stuff and try to work hard,” Melson said. “I told my dad I wanted to go low 49 or high 48, and he was like, ‘Ok, I would love to see you do it.’ I did it.”
Correll won the 110 hurdles (15.15) and 300 hurdles (40.21), and Andrew Jordan won the 1,600 (4:16.58), lowering his school record, and the 3,200 (9:42.30). During the meet’s first day May 12, Jordan, Abbitt, Erik McKean and Tyler Day won the 4×800 relay (8:08.24), just missing breaking one of the program’s oldest records — 8:06.2 set in 1990.
Colley added a title in the long jump (20-feet-7.5).
Other runner-up finishers were Daniel White in the 3,200 (9:48.49); Gerick Brewer in the 110 hurdles (15.56) and Jarod Worcester in the pole vault (13-5). Third-place finishers were Solomon Broomfield in the 200 (23.18); McKean in the 800 (2:02.25); Bobby Broomfield in the high jump (5-10); Jake Miller in the pole vault (13-0) and Drew Taylor in the long jump (19-6.5).
“We always expect to run well because it is like family on the track,” Melson said. “We always cheer each other on, and I think that helps get the adrenaline pumping.”
Watkins is competing in the Division I district meet at Hilliard Darby this week. Field events are Wednesday, running preliminaries Thursday and running finals at 3 p.m. Saturday.