Wheelchair Athletes competed at Boardman HS.
By DAN HINER
As soon as the starting gun was fired, Boardman’s Micah Beckwith raced down the track and won the seated 100-meter dash during a track meet at Boardman on Tuesday.
Beckwith finished with a time of 30.2 seconds.
Beckwith competed against Canfield’s Jake Hostetter in the first local track and field event to feature two seated athletes. Later, inclement weather brought an end to the meet.
“I think it went really well for my first [race],” Beckwith said. “Started off with a win, I guess. I liked it.”
Rain and a wet track played a role in the race.
Hostetter had trouble controlling his wheelchair due to the slick surface and needed to constantly readjust the controls to keep himself straight.
The wheels to the chair had trouble gaining traction and Hostetter got off to a slow start.
“I’m disappointed that I didn’t stay straight,” Hostetter said. “I did a lot better at Salem last week. But it’s all about coming out here and doing it in the first place.”
Canfield head coach Mike Dahmen thought Hostetter competed well given the conditions.
Dahmen said Hostetter will continue to improve since it’s only his second race.
Seated athletes race each other in their own event when two or more are competing. If only one is a part of an event, the seated athlete competes against the other runners.
Hostetter competed only in the 100-meter. But Beckwith also competed in the 200 and 400 against Canfield and Ursuline runners.
He also said the rain caused some problems as the day progressed.
“I think I did well. The 400 was kind of a struggle at the end,” Beckwith said. “But overall, I think I did pretty good.”
Boardman head coach John Phillips thought Beckwith did well for his first time competing.
“We didn’t know what to expect because he hadn’t raced yet,” Phillips said. “He was ready to go. He came out flying in the 100, he did very well in the 400 – that’s a tough race for a seated athlete – and he was able to get the 200 in before the weather canceled out the rest of the meet.
“He’s happy, he’s excited and I think he’s encouraged by his performance to keep going and get better.”
Beckwith’s win came in the first event of the meet. But the Spartans dominated in the other events, especially the sprints.
The Boardman boys and girls won the meet.
The Spartans finished with 106 points. Ursuline came in second with 24 and Canfield had 17. The girls won with a total of 97, Canfield had 32 and Ursuline had a point.
The Boardman coaching staff thinks this year’s team has the most sprinting depth in years.
“Honestly I didn’t know what to expect from our sprint group because we have a lot of youth,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of guys who excelled in football, basketball and other sports.
“I know they have the competitive drive in them. It was great to see them out there today and carry that over to track.”
The Boardman boys won 11 of the 15 events, including the 4x800 relay with a time of 8:54.
Ursuline’s Zach Simon won the 400-meter after running 54 seconds. The Irish also had wins in the 110 hurdles and the 800-meter dash.
The girls team also won 11 events.
Boardman’s Raegan Burkey highlighted the girls performance with wins in the girls 100, 200 and 400.
Ashley Ventimiglia won the 800 for Canfield. The Cardinals also picked up wins in the discus and high jump.
“Our kids were kind of chomping at the bit to get out there,” Phillips said. “I’m glad we got as much in as we could. Our kids are kind of tired of practicing. They’re ready to compete.”