Bellaire’s Sechrest captains All-TL track team
After a season off from track and field, several new faces emerged this past season to carry the banner for the area.
Many of those are being recognized today as part of the annual All Times Leader Track and Field Team.
The team includes athletes from the T-L coverage area and is chosen by the sports staff with the help of area coaches.
Bellaire junior Colt Sechrest — the state runner-up in the Division II discus — has been named the captain of the team.
Here’s a capsule look at the honorees:
COLT SECHREST, Bellaire — To say this junior had an impressive season in the throwing circles wouldn’t be giving him enough credit.
Sechrest, quite frankly, was the best thrower in the Ohio Valley and one of the best in Ohio. It was in the discus where he left the biggest mark as he re-wrote the Ohio Valley record book with a mark of 182-ft-7 in the regional. He was undefeated this season until his last throw of the season when he was passed in the state final and eventually was the runner-up. He was the OVAC, district and regional champion and set numerous invitational records along the way.
He was also a standout in the shot put, qualifying for the regional and being the only area thrower to surpass the 50-foot barrier.
“Colt is one of the few athletes who didn’t let missing (the 2020) season bother him,” Bellaire head coach Shawn Valloric said. “Actually, I believe it drove him. He knew what kind of (marks) he was capable of from his great freshman season. He’s set high expectations for himself and that’s a main reason he will continue to get better and better.”
LIAM VINSKOVICH, Union Local — This senior standout blossomed into one of the area’s top scorers and most versatile competitors for Coach Todd Blake’s successful team.
Vinskovich was an All-Ohioan in the high jump, tying for seventh in his specialty. He was the OVAC and district champion in the event and finished second in the regional. He was the only area athlete to compete in four events at the state meet as he ran a leg on the 4×2, 4×4 and 4×8 teams.
“Liam is an all-around athlete who can excel in any event,” Blake said. “Toughest part with Liam was figuring out what he could help us in best each week. He was a pleasure to coach because he always wanted to get better.”
ANDREW MARTIN, Union Local — This middle distance dandy had a big season for the Jets in the 800.
Along with serving as a key leg on the Jets’ 4×8 team, he was the lone area competitor to dip under the coveted 2-minute barrier in the open eight and he did that en route to winning the district title in the event. He finished fifth in the regional. He also competed at the state meet in the 4×4.
“Andrew was one of our iron men,” Blake said. “He could run any of the three distance races, but he suffered an injury late in the season which restricted him to running the 800 and 4×4.”
SHAWN COE, Union Local — This Jets senior was on a mission to put forth a final season to remember and he didn’t disappoint.
Coe ran in the state meet on the 4×8 and 4×4 teams. He was the district runner-up in the 3200, running sub 10-minutes. He was seventh at the regional meet. At the OVAC, Coe fueled the Jets by winning the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter run titles in Class 4A.
“Shawn was another one of our iron men,” Blake said. “He was determined to make his senior season his best and he did just that.”
ZACH BATEMAN, Union Local — This Jets senior standout was another versatile contributor for Blake’s squad.
Bateman developed into one of the area’s top 400 meter sprinters. He was the OVAC 4A runner-up and placed third at the district. He was also a key cog on the Jets’ state-qualifying 4×4 and 4×8 teams. He also pole vaulted, finishing third in the OVAC.
“Zach was the biggest surprise (of the season) for me,” Blake admitted. “I knew he was a great pole vaulter, but he really pushed himself to be one of the valley’s best in the 400.”
HAYDEN MCCRATE, Union Local — This talented sophomore fought through some early injuries and gave a glimpse late of what could be in store for the years to come.
McCrate was one of the area’s top high hurdlers. He was the OVAC champion in Class 4A, finished second in both the district and regional meets to earn his way to the state meet. He placed ninth there. He was also part of the Jets’ 4×2 team that qualified for the state meet.
“Hayden was a pleasant surprise addition to our team,” Blake said. “He was injured early in the season and once he got healed, I had to be patient with him because I wanted him on relays and hurdles. He got faster as the season went along and actually had a top eight time at the state (in the high hurdles), but didn’t make the finals due to being in the fastest heat.”
ANDREW OSMAN, Shadyside — This Tiger freshman didn’t even know if he was going to run track this season, but it’s a decision he’s certainly glad he made.
The pole vault standout earned a spot on the podium at the Division III state meet at Westerville North by virtue of placing seventh with a personal-best mark of 13-ft-6. He got to the podium by clearing his final attempt at three consecutive heights before bowing out. He was the district champion in the pole vault and finished third in the regional after sharing the OVAC title.
“(Andrew) is a wild man,” Shadyside head coach Jeff Campbell said. “He’s literally willing to try any event we want to use him in. He loves the excitement of learning new things and when he catches on, he’s ridiculously talented at them. He just wants to constantly get better.”
MAYSON SOCHOR, Bellaire — This freshman had a rookie season to remember in the hurdles for the Big Reds.
Sochor ran consistently in the 15.4 range in the high hurdles and was the top area hurdler much of the spring. He was the OVAC champion, district and regional champion, advancing to the state meet. He also was an OVAC and Buckeye 8 placer in the intermediate hurdles.
“Mayson is a quiet, low-key kid, but he’s a competitor,” Valloric said. “I think that helped him tremendously this season. Freshmen are not supposed to lose to only four other hurdlers until the state track meet. He just didn’t let much bother him and that will help him the next three years.”
BRENDAN SCHRADER, Shadyside — This senior standout was one of the area’s top pole vaulters this season for Campbell’s team.
Schrader qualified for the Division III state meet. He was third at the district, second at the regional and he shared the OVAC title with Osman.
“We (set) really lofty goals for Brendan and he busted his butt to try to reach them,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, due to some pretty serious injuries, we weren’t able to hit all of those, but getting to watch him compete at the state this season was great. For all of the work he put in over the last four years, there wasn’t anyone on our team more deserving to go to state than Brendan.”
WYATT REIMAN, Shadyside — This junior standout put together a strong latter portion of the season and it paid dividends for Campbell’s Tigers.
Reiman soared over the 6-foot mark in the high jump at the district and did it again the following week at the regional to earn a trip to the state meet. Along with those accolades, he shared the OVAC title in his specialty.
“Wyatt might be the most talented athlete I’ve coached or ever seen,” Campbell said. “Everything just comes naturally to him when it involves athletics. You could really see the competitor in him come through at the districts through the state meet. If you told me I could (pick) one kid to attempt every event in track, I promise I am taking Wyatt Reiman.”
JACOB DEFIBAUGH, Bellaire — This senior standout put the finishing touches on an impressive career on the oval this past spring.
Defibaugh advanced to the regional in both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs and scored in both events. He was an OVAC Class 3A champion in four events and won the Buckeye 8 titles in both long distance events.
“Jacob is a runner who loves running,” Valloric said. “You can tell he loves it by the practices he puts in even when he’s not feeling 100%. He put in extra miles on off days and in the offseason, which are super important to success. It was a pleasure to watch him.”
BRANDON LOUDEN, Beallsville — This Blue Devil speedster was one of the fastest people in the meet each week for Coach Tori Lang’s team.
Louden was the OVAC Class 1A/2A 100M champion and also won the district title in the same event. He was a regional finalist and re-wrote the school’s record book by clocking in at 11-flat.
“Brandon had a great season and progressed throughout the entire year,” Lang said. We are looking for him to do big things next season.”
FRANCIS TOOHEY, Martins Ferry — This Purple Rider middle distance standout was one of the top performers all season for Coach Greg Steele’s squad.
Toohey qualified to the regional meet in the 800 and as part of the 4×8. He was second in the district 800 and then placed seventh in the region. He was second in the OVAC 800 and fourth in the 400.
“Francis is one of the hardest working and unselfish track athletes I’ve coached,” Ferry head coach Greg Steele said. “We used him in many events during the season, but he came into his own in the middle distances. Early in the year, he saw we needed help in the field events, so he came and started working on discus. In my 30 plus years, that was a first for me.”
KARL KAIN, St. Clairsville — This Red Devils junior became one of the area’s top pole vaulter this past season for Coach Tony Ciroli.
Kain was the OVAC 4A champion and cleared 13-6 at the Division II district to earn a spot in the regional meet. He was also the Buckeye 8 champion.
“Karl worked hard in the offseason,” Ciroli said. “He had an outstanding season and although he didn’t advance to the state meet this year, I feel confident he will be there in the future.”