Photos by Randy Fath at the McCay Relays April 10.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
After nearly two years since the last time Dalton High School’s track and field athletes competed, it could be expected they would have some rust. That was not the case at the McCay Relays Saturday. Dalton’s boys team won the meet and the girls placed fourth behind Orrville with a narrow 0.5 difference.
“We were really excited about the athletes’ performances at the McCay Relays,” said Dalton coach Jodi Augspurger. “It was our first meet and the athletes competed at a level that would indicate that we were further into the season. It can be intimidating going into a meet knowing that you’re competing against larger schools, but our athletes didn’t seem fazed by this. They just wanted to go out there and see what they could do and then build from there.”
The boys team won the meet with a final of 84.5. They finished first in the 4×100 meter, 4x200m, 4x400m and 800 sprint relays. In the field events, Dillon Horst placed second in the long jump. Quentin Lehman placed fourth in both the shot put relay and discus.
On the girls side, Dalton finished fourth at 75. Dalton won the 800 sprint medley and the 4x200m relay. Katie Good finished second in the shot put relay and she came in third in the discus throw.
Augspurger said the athletes have been working hard on their individual events since it has been almost two years since they competed due to the loss of the 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted there is more to the team than just hard work.
“What is probably most evident is their camaraderie,” said Augspurger. “They relish these times of being together as a team, not just working together toward a common goal, but also being able to have fun with a larger group of friends.”
Augspurger was not sure what the athletes are looking forward to the most this season, but she guessed they are excited to wear their new orange and white jerseys instead of the old black ones.
The team has both short-term and long-term goals for this season. Augspurger said the short-term goal is to get through the daily practices with their mental and physical strength intact.
The long-term goals are to compete well at the League meet and districts, as well as move as many athletes as possible on to regionals.
Augspurger detailed who fans should keep an eye on this season.
“Each of our relay teams are going to provide some thrilling moments this season,” she said. “There also may be some newcomers that fans should keep an eye on, but since we’re just starting the season, we suggest looking toward the following veterans and what they will offer in individual events: Ozzie Miller, Adam Knetzer, Evan Hodkinson, Mitchell Kutz, Katie Good and Amelia Knetzer.”