HENRIETTA TWP. — Every year the Patriot Athletic Conference Meet has existed, one constant has been the performance of Buckeye’s boys track team.
From 2006 through 2011, the Bucks have won the overall conference championship. This week they set out to prove 2012 would be no exception.
Bolstered by four individual victories and one relay title, Buckeye won the meet for the seventh straight year Thursday by accumulating 143 points at Firelands High.
“The guys worked really hard all year long for this,” Buckeye coach James Huth said. “Now, we’re looking forward to districts. We’re a small team of 20 guys, and we like to think that every single guy stepped up. They ran great times today and kept up the Buckeye boys tradition.
“And, I thought, for only having 11 girls, our girls ran really well today, also.”
The Buck girls finished sixth with 46 points and had one individual winner – I. Petek in the 3200 run.
The boys were paced by junior Ryan Gallagher, who won three events and broke conference meet records in two of those victories.
Gallagher bested the 3,200 meters record of 10:15.79 he set last year with a time of 10:06. He preceded that with a record-setting time of 2:00.2 in the 800, beating the mark of 2:02.22 set in 2010 by Lutheran West’s Brad Watson.
Gallagher also won the 1,600 with a time of 4:35.3. Teammate J.J. Grzincic was the runner-up in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“We have districts coming up and we came off a solid week of training, so we thought we could do well,” Gallagher said. “We wanted to pace ourselves to win the races but not overdo it. I had to triple today, so I didn’t want to hurt myself. The goal was to compete and do our best without going over the edge.”
Gallagher was proud of setting the records, but he wasn’t focused on those.
“I’m happy I did it, but I’m more focused on districts and regionals right now and trying to do my best there and advance as far as I can,” he said. “I feel confident about my chances. Coming off a successful cross country season and training without any injuries, I’m confident I can go pretty far.”
Caleb Kupetz won the 400 dash with a time of 52.30 and ran the lead leg on the winning 4×200 relay, combining with Curtis Kinney, Lee Mandanici and Tyler Yurik for a 1:33.7. He also took second in the 100.
Kupetz collapsed during the 200 and was given intravenous fluids. Huth said it was due to dehydration and expects Kupetz to be healthy and ready to run in time for districts next week.
“There are some areas we need to improve, mostly with our relays,” Huth said. “We’ve got a week to work on that. We’ll see a lot of the same teams here next week at our districts, along with Orrville and Norwayne, so, this was a good rehearsal for districts for us.
“Despite Caleb needing an IV, I’m happy that everyone’s healthy. We’re looking forward to seeing more improvement and running great times.”
Huth singled out Rhyanna Wroblesky, who took second in the 400 and long jump, from the girls’ side.
Black River took second in the boys team race with 104 points. The Pirates were led by Austin Phillips, who won the 100 (11.0) and 200 (22.6).
“Our goal was to win the conference, and I know some of the kids feel a little bit let down that we didn’t accomplish that goal,” Black River coach Mike Nye said. “But when you set a goal and you don’t achieve it, you keep working hard to get to the next level.
The Black River girls took eighth with 39 points. Keystone won its fifth straight title with 144 points.
Contact Dan Gilles at email@example.com.