By Jon Moffett
If you need to know how screwy this track season has been, look no further than Jackson-Milton High jumper Colton Horvath.
Horvath, who earned the high- and long-jump titles at the Inter-Tri County Tier Two championship meet last week, put it all into perspective. He said cancellations due to weather have put a lot of athletes from a lot of schools behind where they think they should be by now.
“It’s really affect the whole team. A couple of weeks ago, we had a meet at East Palestine and I jumped a 5-foot-2 in the high jump,” said Horvath, who won the ITCL title with a jump of 5-foot-8 and has a personal best of 6-foot. “Five-foot-2 was my best. It was just like jumping into a sheet of ice.”
Horvath is not alone.
Pretty much every area team has seen some sort of cancellation or postponement because of the weather.
And with district meets beginning this week, some athletes are concerned about where they are in relation to where they think they should be in terms of readiness.
The Mahoning Valley will host a trio of district meets. Two of the meets will feature a bulk of the Valley teams while the third will focus on the host team.
Division II will have meets at Salem and Lakeview — though Lakeview will be the only local team at the meet.
Springfield Local High will host the Div. III meet.
The Lakeview and Salem meets will begin on Thursday with preliminaries, and finish on Saturday with finals.
The Springfield meet will operate Wednesday and Friday in the same manner.
So, as they typically do, a lot of runners, throwers and jumpers used their conference meets as a dry run for the districts.
Horvath was one of them.
“I really think that getting a few inches, or shedding a few seconds off of your time was the big goal for the conference meets,” he said. “But there have been multiple obstacles this year.”
Sarah Jones of McDonald said while the crazy schedules have been difficult to handle, it’s all about how an athlete adapts.
“The lack of meets this year hasn’t been that bad,” Jones said. “It kind of gives you a little less time to prepare for the bigger meets, but if you take the time given to you, you should be ready for when it comes time to compete.”
But Jones’ teammate, and fellow miler, Patrick Kunkel said the cancellations have been detrimental — at least to an extent.
“The dual meets are usually a nice break from the bigger meets,” Kunkel said. “You sometimes try to run your personal best there and work on your technique so you’re ready for the invitationals and bigger meets.”
Kunkel said he thinks he is where he should be, but added that the missed meets could have helped.
Jamal McClendon, of Girard, said pretty much every athlete has the same mental approach this time of year.
“This is a big meet to us, but at the same time it’s not,” McClendon said. “This meet just helps us get ready for the districts, which gets us ready for the regional meet, which gets us ready for the state meet,” he said. “Everything we do now is just getting us one step closer to state.”