Taylor Sowers, a 2007 McDonald High School graduate, finished his track and field career by placing sixth at the Division III Navarre Regional in the 3,200-meter run.
Sowers, who works as an in-school suspension monitor and academic tutor in the Jackson-Milton school system, saw an opening prior to this year's track season - looking for a boys track and field coach.
He quickly became the Blue Jays coach with Lou Champney as his assistant. The two are distance runners by trade, but are quickly learning about the whole spectrum of track and field.
"I wanted to work with mainly the middle distance and distance runners, but I also wanted to learn more about sprinters and develop a running philosophy that would enhance the whole program," Sowers said.
Sowers has seen plenty of underclassmen get involved with the program.
"I did like how a lot younger classmen came up to me and said they were interested in doing track," Sowers said. "Others it was their first year and some were seventh- and eighth-grade runners from the previous year. Just their level of excitement has been something I've never seen before. It's something I want to continue and keep building up the program the best I can."
Building the program is the key for Sowers and the Blue Jays.
"I may want to get some upperclassmen out for it, even if it is their first year," he said. "I just want to get as many people involved as possible, finding the strength in their abilities. I know they are all capable of doing it. It's just putting yourself to that point."
GOING THE DISTANCE: McDonald sophomore Bobby Johnson had a season best in the 3,200 at last week's Trumbull County Meet.
He ran 9 minutes, 41.51 seconds to win the county title.
Interestingly enough, former Maplewood runner Andy Arnio won the event his sophomore year in 2005 in a time of 10 minutes.
Arnio went on to win the 3,200 state title in a time of 9:26.60.
Maybe Johnson can follow in Arnio's footsteps?
Johnson is already staying on pace with Saturday's third-place finish at the Optimist Meet with (9:26.78 ).
SPOTTING RELAYS: Liberty's boys 4x100 and 4x400 relays captured Trumbull County titles last week.
John Helms, Jantz Clinkscale, Frank Bond and Marquis Williamson ran a county meet record 3:23.17 in the 4x400.
However, the Leopards team of Helms, Jantz Clinkscale, Anthony Clinkscale and Bond beat out the vaunted 4x100 team from Niles at county.
Liberty won in a time of 42.76 to Niles' 43.07.
Starting with next week's Division II Lakeview District, it will three weeks great relays for the two schools that may end up in Columbus and a possible state title for one or the other.
MORE RELAYS: Maplewood's boys 4x800, which won this year's county title, took second at the Optimist Meet in a time of 8:08.70 with Tuan Hoang, Derek Morrison, Mike Dahmen and Wyatt Hartman. ... Fitch's Joe Harrington, Taris Wolfe, Rob Venters and Nathan Bowlen set the new standard a the Optimist Meet in the 4x200 relay in a time of 1:27.93. The 4x100 team of Ty'Reese Anderson, Wolfe, Venters and Bowlen also won in a time of 42.41.