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Sports

Springfield boys track team improving with experience

5/24/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield boys track head coach Matt Graves said this year’s squad features plenty of youth.

“We have only four seniors, and for two of those seniors, this is their first year in track,” the coach said, adding that seven players graduated after last season. “We lost a lot of points in losing them.”

However, Graves said, this year’s team has shown improvement as the season has progressed, and the players have gained experience.

“Everybody is running their best times right now for the most part. They are working hard to get better each time out, and that’s what they’ve done,” he said. “They are young and they have room to grow, and, at the same time, they have the enthusiasm to get better.”

“We lost some close meets due to some illness and injury, but mostly inexperience,” the coach said.

This year’s seniors are led by four-year letter-winner Dillon Matthews.

“He broke his own school record in the 100 meters; he’s now at 10.75,” Graves said. “He worked hard in the offseason, running indoor track. He has been injured, but he runs through pain.”

During the Portage Trail Conference tournament May 11, Springfield finished in sixth place as a team. Individually, Matthews won league titles in the 100- and the 200-meter events.

The other senior on the team who entered the season with varsity track experience is Jon Belvin.

“This is his third year in track — he’s a three-year letter-winner,” the coach said. “He does an outstanding job in the 400 meters and the 200 meters.”

Graves said those two senior sprinters have been the biggest strength of the team this season.

“And both are part of our 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams,” the coach said.

The two seniors who are experiencing their first season on the Springfield boys track team are Ryan Warner and Michael Scritchfield.

“Ryan Warner, in his first year in track, is a sprinter and part of our 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams,” Graves stated. “Michael Scritchfield throws shot put and discus. He has made big improvements in both.”

The coach said a pair of juniors has been excelling for the team in long-distance events.

“Caleb Moye, in the 1600 and 800, works extremely hard. He gets better every day. He is now running 1600 meters in 4:50,” he said. “Distance runner John Martin really has done a great job improving in the 1600 and especially in his 3200 meter time. He has taken some first places. He is dedicated. “

Three freshmen who have made major contributions to the team, Graves said, have been David Carlyn, Thomas Kellar and Ross Reeves.

“It’s really exciting to see how hard they work,” he stated. “They need to continue through the year in the offseason. I look for really good things from them next season.”

In addition, Graves said, a number of players have proven to be pleasant surprises this season.

“Chad Morrison is really improving in the discus. This is his first year and he has made a tremendous improvement,” the coach said. “And sophomores Tyler Banig and Tony McMullen both have made big improvements in the 400.”

Also playing key roles for the team, Graves noted, have been a pair of brothers.

“Colton Westover is improving and reaching personal best times. He is a hurdler and only a sophomore,” the coach said. “His brother, Brody, is a junior and also a hurdler. Brody had his personal bests towards the end of the year, too.”

The Springfield boys track team placed 11th at the Austintown Division I District meet May 18. Matthews finished in first in the 100-meter dash and second in the 200-meter dash and qualified for the Austintown Division I Regional meet, which began May 23 and will conclude today, May 25. Belvin also qualified for regionals with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter dash.

Graves has been the head track coach at Springfield for nine years.

“My assistants are Lauren Reed and Michelle Martin,” he said. “The girls head coach, Jodi Burgess, and I work together also. All three are excellent and I really value and appreciate them.”

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