SHADYSIDE – Track and field is the one sport where coaches don’t always necessarily try to win every meet they enter.
The Martins Ferry Purple Riders came to Fleming Field Saturday on a mission for victory.
And it showed.
The Riders broke out the brooms in sun-splashed Tiger Town to dash away with the sweep of the championships at the 43rd annual running of the Shadyside Relays.
Coach Rich Materkoski’s teams got scoring in nearly area possible and had the titles mathematically clinched before either of his 4×4 teams set foot on the track.
“We feel honored to win both (the boys and girls) meets,” Materkoski said. “The Shadyside Relays is such a long-standing tradition in the Ohio Valley, we’re thrilled to death to win both. The kids know it’s a bear of a meet and you run some things you’re not used to running, but they wanted to win and they gutted it out.”
The Rider boys finished with 98 points, which was 33 more than runner-up and defending champion Garaway. The Ferry girls, meanwhile, brought home yet another trophy, they’re third in a row, by accumulating 84 points, which was 15 more than Reedsville Eastern.
THE FERRY BOYS defined team en route to their title.
The Riders scored in 14 of the 18 events, but they didn’t win an individual title.
“Our guys are just so darn good on those relays, it’s tough not to run them in all three,” Materkoski said. “We’re blessed with great kids. I can’t say enough about those sprinters and our young kids in the distance have really been running well and picking up some of the slack.”
The Purple speedsters joined forces to sweep the sprint relays and the youthful quartet of distance runners captured the 4×8.
The Ferry 4×1 and 4×2 teams have been lights out all season thus far. The foursome of Jack Fitch, Brian Styles, Hunter Hill and Andrew Watts nearly set a meet record in the 4×1, running 44.30.
Earlier the team was crisp in the 4×2, passing the baton to a time of 1:32.14.
The same four joined forces in the 4×4 and posted a 3:38.46, which was six seconds ahead of runner-up Belpre.
The 4×8 team of Jacob Bishop, Kevin Simpson, Jeffrey Lucas and Raven Schrader ran a 8:41.99 to snag the title away from Caldwell.
St. Clairsville posted three victories in the meet.
Two of those belonged to all-Ohio sprinter Jaylon Brown. The senior blur blitzed the field in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes en route to gold. He posted a 11.19, despite a tough headwind, in the 100 and then ran a blistering 22.10 for the 200 crown.
Brown shared the high-point track award with Garaway’s Connor Troyer, who swept the two hurdling titles.
Earlier in the day, senior Colby Lindsay picked up a title for the Red Devils when he won the discus with a throw of 148-ft-3. His mark was 15 feet better than his nearest competitor.
The host Tigers won a pair of events during the day.
Junior Eric Howell got things started by capturing the long jump with a mark of 18-ft-10.
A short-time later, Shadyside headed to the break with a victory when the quartet of Austin Dorris, Robert Newhart, Matt Krupa and Howell posted a 62.93 to win the shuttle relay.
Union Local’s lone winner was junior Austin Kemp. The up-and-coming pole vaulter cleared 12-ft-6 as the vault was running consistently into the aforementioned headwind all morning.
River’s lone winner also came in the field. Junior Brok Cross captured the high jump with a 6-foot clearance.
Linsly’s champion was junior Chimechi Oparanozie in the shot put. He launched the iron ball to a mark of 52-ft-9.
THE RIDER GIRLS kind of followed the boys’ method of getting the job done.
Ferry scored in 12 events and won four of those.
The Riders got off to a strong start when junior Rikki Allen laid claim to the pole vault crown with a 9-foot clearance.
She proved to be Ferry’s only individual champion.
The Riders did win three relays, however.
Heading into the afternoon session, Ferry received a boost when the team of Tyesha Allen, Rikki Allen, Ashley Griffith and Nikki Allen posted a 67.23 for the title. That was also good enough for a meet record, which was the only new standard set during the day.
The team of Sarah Applegarth, Tyesha Allen, Malyah Coleman and Talyr Jenkins posted a 1:51.19 to run away with the 4×2 title by more than three seconds.
A short-time later, the squad of Applegarth, Ashley Griffith, Coleman and Jenkins posted a 52.27 to edge St. Clairsville.
“In all of the years I’ve been around the Shadyside Relays, I can’t remember a team winning it three years in a row,” Materkoski said. “The girls have taken it upon themselves to make sure they uphold the standard that they’ve set for themselves the last few years. They’re really running well.”
St. Clairsville’s senior speedster Ayla Stewart continued her brilliant campaign. She added another short sprint sweep to her growing resume.
Stewart won the 100 meter dash in 13.04 and, running out of Lane 6, she won the 200 in 27.02.
Bridgeport junior Briana Massey had a solid meet, scoring in three individual events. She won the title in the long jump, marking the sand at 16-ft-3 to win by five inches.
River’s lone victory came in the 300 hurdles. Sophomore Abby Caldwell won the low hurdles with a time of 48.46.
The track and field scene shifts to Bellaire for the annual running of the Bellaire Relays, which includes girls’ teams for the first time in its history.