Eerie quietness comes over Cortland
CORTLAND — The drive up state Route 11 provided no sense of anticipation, not even when my vehicle headed west on state Route 305 toward my destination.
The road leading to Lakeview High School was barren, not a soul in sight as I made my way to the back toward Don Richards Stadium.
Black, metal gates were locked, enclosing the emptiness that provided so much fervor around a 400-meter, all-weather track over the years.
No one going up and over a precariously held bar on two raised implements.
The grunts of exertion going over a high jump bar or launching off a board into a long jump pit fell silent.
Spins inside a discus ring or heaves out of a shot put circle were faded memories.
The brief moments of silence as sprinters or hurdlers are in their blocks. The cap gun popped, echoed throughout the stadium and a smoke-filled smell wafted behind. All gone in 2020.
This Tuesday and Thursday were the dates for the Trumbull County Track and Field Meet. The yearly chart, highlighting winners back to the meet’s inception at Lakeview in 1995, simply states no meet beside the year 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out all Ohio High School Athletic Association spring sports. This Trumbull County Meet was the prelude to the mid-May district competition.
Area athletes started to solidify their status as potential state contenders, displaying their outstanding talents on the Lakeview-based surfaces.
Niles’ Chante Clinkscale had a chance to repeat as the girls 100- and 200-meter champion, while Howland’s William Hines could’ve done the same on the boys side.
Hines is a senior. The coronavirus wiped out his chance to not only repeat but head back to the state meet.
Clinkscale, a junior, has her senior year to look forward to in 2021. The Niles junior could have etched her name in the Trumbull County record books as a three-time champion in both events. She’ll look to repeat in 2021.
McDonald’s boys and girls captured both team titles last season and had a shot to repeat this season. The Blue Devils’ Anna Guerra, Sela Jones and Bella Wolford could’ve been part of four straight Trumbull County champions in the girls 4×800 relay.
Girard’s Nicholas Malito could’ve won his second straight boys long jump title before heading to the University of Louisville to play football for the Cardinals.
Lordstown’s Jermaine Jones and Warren G. Harding’s Reed Stanyard could’ve repeated as the 400 and 800 champions. Both graduate in 2020. No meet. No opportunity.
Guerra could’ve won her third girls 3200 title and repeated in the 1600, while Wolford could’ve repeated in the 800 before they headed to the University of Kentucky and Kent State University, respectively.
Harding boys relays in the 4×200 and 4×400 cannot repeat, along with the Lakeview girls 4×100, Howland girls 4×200 and Liberty boys 4×100.
Lakeview’s Ashley Bowker. She cannot repeat in the 100 and 300 girls hurdles.
McDonald’s Trinity Hobbs in the girls discus and Howland’s Jaydah Wilson in the girls pole vault. Both are seniors.
Harding’s Diamond Phillips was going for three straight in the girls long jump. She’ll just have to try for three out of four in 2021. Phillips would’ve been the first girl in Trumbull County history to win four straight Trumbull County long jump titles.
Badger’s Suzanne Shaffer in the girls high jump and Mathews’ Claire Miller in the girls shot put have to wait until 2021 to repeat.
Those sights and sounds permeating from Lakeview High School succumb to quiet, a recurring theme throughout the area, state, country and world.