OBERLIN — It’s always a good thing to double-check.
Firelands boys track coach Greg Northeim knows the true meaning of the axiom after Thursday night.
His Falcons walked off the track at Oberlin College after what appeared to be a half-point loss to rival Buckeye for the Patriot Athletic Conference championship. It turned into the program’s second straight league title, as a computer error was noticed, the team scores recounted and Firelands awarded the championship.
The miscue was discovered after Northeim and the father of one of his athletes were standing around after most of the fans were gone from the Bob Kahn Track.
“I guess it was meant to be,” Northeim said. “He was wondering what some of the other guys ran when we both noticed that something wasn’t right.”
The times of the placers in the 800 meters were accurate, but it was the order of the individuals that led to a recount by hand by event officials that gave Firelands a 129-117½ victory over the Bucks.
“No one knew who was winning the whole night, except for with two events to go they announced that we were down … it was kind of confusing,” Northeim said. “I feel bad for Buckeye, but at the same time I feel bad for our kids because they didn’t get to enjoy all the hoopla at the end of the meet.”
The name in the middle of the snafu was Derek Reynolds, whose career-best 1:59.30 in the 800 was credited to another runner, and a jumbled list of incorrect finishers followed, including teammate Michael Adkins, who was second.
And while it took almost a half-hour, the news of another PAC title was sweet for Reynolds.
“It was amazing,” he said. “All that hard work, not only me, but the work that the team has done in the offseason … we’ve been preparing for this and we went all out.”
Indeed they did, as the Falcons won a thrilling 1,600 relay final as the team of Adkins, Reynolds, Cole Lewis and Jordan Ruffner combined to clock 3:28.90 to beat Lutheran West (3:29). The foursome didn’t celebrate, however, as Buckeye’s relay placed third, giving the Bucks the incorrect half-point win.
But Firelands defended its title quite well throughout the night as the Falcons picked up a win in the 110 hurdles as Lewis outraced Buckeye’s Michael Keith in a personal-record 16.20.
“I was the first one to the hurdle and a lot of it is about driving in between the hurdle,” said Lewis, who also placed second in the 300 hurdles. “I can three-step and that, with being able to power through it, you just have so much more speed. Everything just kind of clicked together.”
Lutheran West picked up a pair of individual wins from Peter Koza in the 200 (23.0) and 400 (49.50), while teammate Joshua Sekola made it a clean sweep in the sprints with his victory in the 100 (11.33).
Fellow Longhorn Nik Kessel won the shot put with a toss of 43-8½, and Keystone’s Steve Speck cleared 6 feet to take top billing in the high jump.
Keystone won the 400 relay and Lutheran West had the best time in the 800 relay.
On the girls side, Keystone made it look easy as it claimed its eighth PAC title in a row.
Behind the strength of multiple-event wins individually from Jenna Quillen, Emily Peters and Shannon Wargo, the Wildcats posted 168½ to beat Lutheran West (122).
Quillen started her day with a leap of 16-11½ to win the long jump and followed that by defending her titles in the 110 and 300 hurdles with times of 15.50 and 48.10.
“For me it was important to try my best and score points for my team, because that’s what it’s all about,” she said. “I just came from the long jump (before the 100 hurdles) and I think the sprinting helped me.”
Peters was a winner in the 100 (12.83) and 200 (26.20), but probably had her best moment of the day as the 800 team, which included Sarah Fortune, Beth Plas and Jena Copley, ran a season-low 1:48.30 and is just tenths of a second from the school record.
“I think we were all nervous, but focused and ready to get the job done,” Peters said. “We’ve all been working really hard and I’m proud of everyone.”
The Wildcats also took top billing in the 400 relay and distance runner Shannon Wargo crossed the finish line first in the 1,600 (5:27.30) and 3,200 (13:02.80) for the second straight season.
Speaking of repeats, that’s exactly what Lutheran West thrower Johanna Ragland did in the discus, flinging the plate 108-7¾. Teammates MaQuila Norman (400, 1:00.70) and Olivia Vasiloff (800, 2:33.20) also won.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.