HENRIETTA TWP. — Black River’s John Guilford gave the area its first individual title Tuesday at the Patriot Athletic Conference Meet. However, it was the Buckeye boys track team that set itself up nicely in the race for the team title.
Despite not winning any of the four individual events, the Bucks lead the 12-team meet with 28 points, one point better than Brookside and two points better than host Firelands.
Guilford won in the last scoring event of the day, the long jump. He set a personal best with his winning leap of 19 feet, 11 inches, which defeated Buckeye’s Curtis Kinney (18-5½).
“I had a feeling I was going to do well,” said Guilford, who helped the Pirates place fourth after the first day with 25 points. “The last meet I did pretty good, and I’ve been doing pretty good all season long, getting better with each meet.
“Last week was the first time I finally jumped over 19. Today, I got three 19s in a row in my first three jumps. I felt pretty good after that.”
The top finisher for Buckeye, besides Kinney, was the 4×800-meter relay of Bobby Auber, Austin Lepole, J.J. Grzincic and Ryan Gallagher. The quartet took second in 8:26.3, 1.4 seconds behind Fairview.
However, it was the running of junior Caleb Kupetz in the preliminaries that has the Bucks in prime position to repeat as conference champs.
Kupetz had the best time in the 100 dash prelims, finishing in 11.3. He also ran the opening leg of the winning 4×2 relay prelim, combining with Kinney, Lee Mandanici and Tyler Yurik to finish in 1:33.5. Kupetz then won the 400 dash prelim with a time of 52.4.
“I was really just trying to run well enough to qualify for the finals,” Kupetz said. “That was just my goal. I got that goal, so I’m pretty happy with it. I’m hoping to build off my times today and win in the finals.”
Mandanci, Kinney and Yurik also helped the Bucks win the 4×1 prelim with a time of 46.5 seconds.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” Kupetz said. “I think we knew coming in that we had a great shot at winning this. Between our sprints and our distance guys and our relays, I think we have a great chance at winning the title. Also, some of our throwers in our field events have done well and should do well, too.”
Black River’s Neal Wilbur clinched the top spot for the 110 hurdle finals, finishing the prelims in 16.0. Teammate Austin Phillips won the 200 dash prelims with a time of 23.3.
For the girls, the only winning preliminary performance in the county came from Buckeye’s Rachel Wroblesky, who took the 400 dash prelim in 1:03.8.
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