WGH’s Penny coaches Ohio jumpers at Midwest

Charles Penny heard about the experiences from his former Warren G. Harding athletes.

He thought that he too would like to be part of the Midwest Meet of Champions.

Penny, the Raiders track and field coach, approached Berea-Midpark coach Rick Mack, who is the girls head coach for Team Ohio, at the end of last season, wondering if he needed any additional coaches.

Mack called up Penny this season and asked if Penny would serve as Team Ohio’s boys long jump coach.

“Hearing all the positive remarks that my kids gave, I thought I’d like to coach in this meet,” Penny said.

Penny was busy recruiting athletes at this year’s state track and field meet, trying to get some of the state’s top flight jumpers to compete in Saturday’s competition against athletes from Michigan and Indiana in a meet held at Ohio Wesleyan University.

He tried to find the right fit for the three openings, trying to get seniors to commit to this senior-laden event. Dante Yanno (Valley Christian), Jordan Beight (Grandview Heights) and Matt Peare (North Canton Hoover) eventually committed to Team Ohio. Beight and Yanno finished second and third, respectively, in the Division III state meet, while Peare was Division I pole vaulting champ. He left long jumping to concentrate on pole vaulting his senior season.

Peare, a University of Kentucky recruit, was valuable to Team Ohio Saturday with second-place finishes in the pole vault (16-3), long jump (23-0.5) and 110-meter hurdles (14.55 seconds). Yanno finished fourth in the long jump with 22-4.5.

“It’s been really pleasurable,” Penny said. “These kids are great kids. They’re all track kids for the most part. They’ve all come together for a very unique meet.

“It’s nice to deal with kids that one, want to be here; two, are very super talented; and three, have that mindset that they want to compete for something bigger than just themselves.”

The experience is something he’ll share with his WGH athletes.

“It’s a really cool experience,” Penny said. “I’m glad I did it. It’s something I can tell my own kids, and, in the future, recruit kids from our own area to be in it.”

TEAM OHIO SWEEP: The Ohio men beat out Michigan and Indiana for the team title — Ohio (179), Michigan (149), Indiana (147). The Ohio women won with 207 points, while Michigan had 150.50 and Indiana added 84.50.

THROWER RESULTS: Garfield’s Lauren Jones took third in the girls discus (150-0), while Austintown Fitch’s Brent Fairbanks was seventh in the boys discus (155-5).