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Buchtel track building on experience

4/3/2008 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

WEST AKRON — Fans of Buchtel High School’s track teams must wonder what the Griffins could possibly do for an encore. The girls team won the state title last year, while the boys team won in 2006.

The girls swept all three relays they were in (4x100 meter, 4x200, 4x400) at the 2007 State Track and Field Championships. Returning from those relays are juniors Christy Campbell and Joan Davis and seniors Samantha Lockhart and Tiffany Tucker. Campbell also competed in the 200-meter dash.

Buchtel coach John Scott said senior Shawnta Davis will help the Griffins after sitting out last year with a stress fracture. She will compete in the middle distances. In addition, he expects big things from senior sprinter Jerrah Lewis, who also is returning from an injury, and fellow senior Shanequa Gray, who will help in the long distance races. He added that junior Ava Woods, a Kenmore High School transfer, has the versatility to help in all of the relay races.

During the indoor track and field season, the Buchtel girls placed third in the State Indoor Track and Field Championships March 15 at The University of Akron. Tucker set a new school record in the 60 hurdles with a time of 9.31 seconds.

Scott said staying healthy will be important if the Griffins want a chance to repeat as outdoor state champions.

“Samantha Lockhart tore her [anterior cruciate ligament] in the summer, so she’s not 100 percent,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of depth, so if there are injuries, it will create a problem. If we can stay healthy, we have the chance for another good year.”

On the boys side, senior Terence Somerville will compete in the 110 high hurdles, the 330 intermediate hurdles and long jump. He broke Miami Dolphins and former Ohio State University speedster Ted Ginn Jr.’s state indoor record in the 60 high hurdles with a time of 7.82 seconds.

Last season, Somerville competed at the 2007 state meet, taking second place in the 110 hurdles.

“He is one of the best all-around athletes I’ve seen in my 29 years as coach,” Scott said.

Other experienced runners who will help the Griffins this year include Aaron Gaines, Angelo Jackson, Damarquis Owens and LaDale Moss. Gaines and Owens competed at state as well last year as members of the fifth-place 4x200 relay team.

Scott said freshman Alex Arrington and sophomores Robar Gray, DaJon Lewis and Johnathan Coleman will add depth to the boys squad.

“We have a very good group of seniors,” he said. “I’m hoping our younger kids will step up. I’d like this team to be well rounded.”

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