By ADAM FERRISE
Special to The Gazette
BRUNSWICK â€”Â A two-year undefeated streak was on the line Saturday for the Medinaâ€™s boys track team at the Brunswick Elite Invitational.
After 13 events, the Bees trailed Cleveland St. Ignatius by four points, but Medina senior Sam Maynard wasnâ€™t about to let the streak end in the first meet of the 2008 season.
Maynard, who was crowned the Ohio indoor champion in the 800-meter run two weeks ago, won the event even after a sub-par showing in the mile, where he outpaced himself into a second-place finish.
â€œCoach (Bob Jenkins) said we needed a win,â€ Maynard said. â€œI knew my performance was important for the team, and I won it.â€
After Maynardâ€™s win, Medina junior Donny Roys secured the meet for the Bees with a first in the 3,200, keeping the streak alive.
What Jenkins was impressed with more was how his team reacted when trailing.
The coaching staff planned to stack the final event, the 4×400, with their best runners. Jenkins said most shy away from the relay because of its half-sprint, half-distance demands, but his runners jumped at the chance.
Maynard, who had already run two events and was only two events removed from winning the 1,600, wanted to run in the relay, which is not a normal event for him. Even after Roysâ€™ win, Maynard still ran the relay.
â€œHe realized he can be a leader,â€ Jenkins said. â€œHe can walk the walk. We really needed that win.â€
Last year, Maynard competed in both the mile and two-mile events, and was part of the 4×800 that was the state runner-up.
Distance coach Milt Place said Maynard got stronger and wanted to move to the 800 this year.
â€œTowards the end of last year I tried running some 400 and I realized I had the turnover to do it,â€ he said. â€œIt was more of a fit for me.â€
Medina came out on top of Ignatius by 15.5 points with 114. Medinaâ€™s girls team had the complete opposite day from their male counterparts.
After 14 events, the Bees held first place by seven points with three events remaining, but failed to place anyone in the 3,200 and 200. The Bees narrowed the gap after a first place finish by the 4×4, but still finished six behind first place Solon.
The Beesâ€™ day was headlined by a win in the 100 hurdles by senior Nicki Rymer, a state qualifier from last year, and freshman Taylor Burkeâ€™s win in the high jump.
Burkeâ€™s 5-foot-7 leap was a personal best, and the mark would have been good enough for third place at last yearâ€™s state meet.
â€œTo do that in 30 degree weather at the first meet of the season is pretty impressive,â€ Medina girls coach Scott Van Fleet said. â€œIf you go to every meet in the state this year, you might see that accomplished five times.â€
Hillary Perrea broke host Brunswickâ€™s school record in the discus with a throw of 132-feet-5, breaking a record over a decade old by Heather Amos.
The Blue Devils also received a win from Heather Bednar in the 200 on the way to a third-place finish, three points behind Medina, despite being without ailing sprinter Danielle Koch and distance runners Carrie Wilczewski and Hannah Chaney.
Brunswickâ€™s boys team was also not at full strength, and it showed. State qualifier Chris Scott returned to practice after being out three weeks with a hamstring injury and did not place. Only junior Zach Marinucci (shot, discus) recorded wins.
â€œThe sky is the limit for Zach,â€ said Brunswick boys coach Kerry Hunter, whose team finished sixth overall. â€œEvery year he just gets better and he always gets better as the season goes along also. Weâ€™re looking for him to have a great year.â€
Ferrise may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.