Submitted by BeachwoodBison.org
Beachwood’s indoor track team is nearing the midway point of its winter season.
On Saturday the Bison traveled to Youngstown State University and turned in a strong performance. According to head coach Willie Smith, the Bison are nearing their goal of getting as many athletes as possible qualified for the indoor state track meet, which will be held at the University of Akron on March 16.
“The most important thing people are trying to do is get into position to qualify for the indoor state championships,” Smith said. “You’re trying to be in the top 16 of each event to ensure yourself to be in the tournament.”
Senior Gabrielle Perryman was the Bison’s top performer on Saturday. Her 15-foot, 11.5-inch long jump was the best at the competition and she was second in the triple jump with a mark of 32-feet, 10.75 inches.
“That’s her best so far,” Smith said. “I think she’s hanging around 10th in the state now in (the long jump). She’s excited about her jump events. Triple jump is her best of the two. She’s in good shape qualifying for both events.”
Former Bison Olivia Mayfield dominated the two jumps the past four years. She was fifth in the state last spring.
It’s now Perryman’s turn to see what she can accomplish in the jumps.
“She’s been on relays, so this is her first attempt and best chance at jumping,” Smith said. “We had Olivia Mayfield the past four years, who has placed in the state tournament in indoor and outdoor the last 3 years. Gabby is trying to step into her shoes and those are big shoes to fill, but she’ll be our best alternative to replace Olivia. She’ll do a good job and has done a good job thus far.”
Perryman, along with senior Alexandria DeVaughn, were part of Beachwood’s 4x100 meter relay team that finished fifth at last spring’s state tournament.
DeVaughn ran an 8.37-second 60-meter dash to finish 10th. She was even faster in her preliminary heat with an 8.24 run.
Freshman Hannah Kahn finished 12th with an 8.44-second time.
“Alexandria has been sick but she’s battling through it,” Smith said. “They both made improvements from the last time they ran, so that’s a little better. Their goal is to at least get better each time they compete. That’s what they’re doing.”
Kahn also ran in the 200-meter dash. Her 29.22-second time was good for 29th place.
“She’s got amazing potential,” Smith said. “I’m looking for great things out of her. That’s the first time she ran that competition, so she just has to learn the event.”
Samantha Tall and Jessica Tall competed in the 800-meter and 1600-meter runs, respectively.
Samantha, a junior, finished 30th with a time of 2:50.15.
“She was running with a migraine,” Smith said. “She’s one of our veterans, a middle distance girl that’s going to do some good things for us.”
Jessica, a freshman, ran in her first competition. She posted a 7:13.16 time in the 1600.
“We got some jitters from her,” Smith said. “She’s a cross country girl so the 1600 is a little fast for her. She’s not ready to run the longer distance race yet so we put her here to get her feet wet.”
DeVaughn, Perryman, Kahn and Jaelyn Pounds combined to finish fourth in the 4x200 meter relay with a time of 1:50.43.
“That was a big improvement right there,” Smith said. “Our two freshman and two seniors did an excellent job. That’s our best event right now. That’s our best chance of getting a medal in the state tournament.”
Samantha Tall, Pounds, Hannah Richardson and Perryman ran a 4:29.40 in the 4x400 meter relay to finish eighth.
“That was our first time running it and we’re in the top 15 right now,” Smith said. “That’s an event we’ll get better in and will probably be our next best relay.”
Richardson, a junior, and Pounds, a freshman, finished 21st and 31st, respectively, in the 400-meter dash.
Richardson ran a 1:05.87 and Pounds finished with a 1:08.50.
Both are dual-sport athletes.
“Pounds is a basketball player and we’ve only had a couple people that tried to double in sports since I’ve been coaching,” Smith said. “That’s a tribute to her and she’s going to be a help to us.
“Richardson is a cheerleader and when cheerleading is done we’ll be able to get more from her. This was the first time she ran in a competition so that’s a good start for her.”
Senior Charles Thomas was the boys’ team’s top performer.
He finished 22nd in the long jump with a leap of 16-feet, 6 ¼ inches and 23rd in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.14.
“He’s still learning the (long jump),” Smith said. “He’s got a little ways to go but he’s getting comfortable. He’s got the hard part out of the way, getting his marks and not fouling. In other words, his steps are very good and that’s usually the hardest part. You have to hit the board without landing on the board for a foul. His steps are fine and his speed is good, no he has to learn the execution of the event.”
Thomas also finished 33rd in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.72 seconds.
Sophomore Tamir Yankevich, a transfer from Michigan, finished 53rd in the 60 with a time of 8.22 and 38th in the 400-meter dash with a 59.28-second score.
“He’s getting his feet wet to Ohio track and field,” Smith said. “(The 60) is not going to be his best event, but we’re trying to get his speed up. He’ll compete in the long hurdles, but we’re trying to get him in shape. He’s going to help us in an event we really need.”
Senior Jordan Rose set a new personal best with a 5:19.66 in the 1600-meter run.
“There’s a long ways to go but for him it’s about improvement and getting his confidence up,” Smith said. “He hasn’t enjoyed a lot of success up to this point in his career but he’s a battler and being a senior he’s figured out some things.”
All in all, Smith saw a lot of improvement out of his team and he’s confident the Bison will continue their streak of competing in the indoor state meet.
“Every year we’ve had people in the state meet and our goal is to get representation there again, as a way to get kids to look to the highest level of achievement and work toward it,” he said. “Our goals are pretty lofty. We want kids to dream big and think big.”
Smith has been at Beachwood for 14 years. He started the indoor program about 12 years ago and has competed in the indoor state championships for seven years.
The Bison return to action next Sunday at Oberlin College.