Mark Schmetzer reports:
Chip Dobson’s pride in the performance of his Mason boys track team at last week’s Division I regional track meet was palpable.
He had reason. The Comets swept all four relay races on their way to easily winning the team championship with 103 points, the highest total ever compiled by a Greater Cincinnati team and the second-highest in regional history, he said in an e-mail on Monday.
But the realist in Dobson couldn’t let him get carried away when it came to discussing Mason’s chances at the next level – the state track meet.
“Lakewood St. Edward’s will be very tough to beat,” Dobson said. “You need superstars, and they have four. They beat us pretty handily at the state indoors. It would be good to be runnerup. Obviously, you want to win. You always want to finish first, but that will be a steep challenge. If we could go up there and sneak out with runner- up, that would be great.”
Mason, the No. 2 team in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches poll, is sending 13 competitors – the largest group of qualifiers among Division I boys schools – to the state meet, and they don’t just try to get by on talent, Dobson said.
“They have great ability, but they work their tails off,” he said. “They get it done.”
Ohio’s 106th annual boys track and field tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial at Ohio State University in Columbus. Boys and girls teams in three divisions will compete starting at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Because several high school graduations are scheduled for the nearby Schottenstein Center, meet officials suggest fans use the Ackerman Road exit from State Route 315.
Middletown senior Jalin Marshall returns to defend the state long jump championship he won last season. Marshall also will compete in the high jump in Columbus.
North College Hill senior Lamar Hargrove also has a chance to win a second consecutive state championship in the 100-meter dash. Hargrove also won the 200 last season, but he was unable to qualify this year.
None of the boys’ competitors qualified with the state’s best times, distances or heights, but Mason senior Asad Maiden is one of five entrants among the 339 Division I qualifiers from 109 schools who earned berths in four events. Maiden qualified in the 110 and 300 hurdles and in the 400 and 1600 relays.
“He’s so tough,” Dobson said. “He’s a real special athlete.”
Among the first-time visitors from the area to the state meet is Northwest senior Miles Baldwin, who won the 400 regional championship and also qualified with Knight seniors Jamiel Trimble and Dominick Williams and sophomore DeVohn Jackson in the 400 relay.
Baldwin, whose team captured the Enquirer’s poll championship, qualified with a time of 49.76 seconds in Friday’s regional finals at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium.
“I hope I can go faster (at state),” said Baldwin who reached the regional as a sophomore and was hampered by a pulled hamstring last season.
St. Xavier junior Michael Hall knows he’s capable of running a faster 1600 than the 4:19.42 with which he won the regional title. Hall’s personal best is 4:14, he said.
Hall reached the state meet as a freshman on the Bombers 3200 relay team. He also has qualified for two state cross country meets.