Six days and three hours after it had originally started, the CVC Chagrin Division track and field meet came in for a landing Monday at West Geauga.
A certain set of Bombers had no problem with that after flying through this long journey in impressive fashion.
Kenston rolled to its third straight CVC Chagrin team title, recording five first-place finishes on its way to a sterling 198 1⁄2-point performance.
After having the second day of the meet postponed twice last week, it finally reached its conclusion Monday, but in conditions that felt more like mid-March than mid-May.
“The feeling is great. It’s unthinkable,” said Luke Porter, who won the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 40.3 seconds. “This makes me so proud. It’s all because of our coaches and the hard work we put in as a team.
“(The weather) isn’t that bad. We always tough it out. Sometimes there’s days when you don’t want to. But if you want to be the best, you have to go out and try.”
Kenston scored well across the board, particularly in distance as Owen Norley (800), Porter (1,600) and J.T. Ward (3,200) swept those events.
The Bombers had a quality opening exchange, then got a solid anchor leg from Darryl Richards to take the 4×100 in 44.92, and Jack Rolf won the 400 in 51.04.
On the girls side, what was a fun duel for the team title throughout the day between the host Wolverines and Perry did not reach its conclusion on the track.
The Pirates, led by another big-time effort from track event MVP Abbie Clifford, held a two-point lead heading into the 4×400 over West G. The Wolverines took first in the 4×400, 10 points that would have given them their third straight CVC Chagrin team title.
However, after the 4×400’s conclusion, meet officials informed West G coach Mike Taurasi a uniform violation had occurred on the relay. National Federation of State High School Associations track and field Rule 5-10-5 stipulates, “Relay competitors may not wear gloves.”
A member of the Wolverines’ quartet was wearing gloves during the race, and violation of the rule calls for disqualification, on which meet officials followed through. That, combined with Perry’s points in the 4×400, allowed the Pirates to take home the team title, 1381⁄2 to 1321⁄2.
Clifford led the charge for the Pirates by completing the distance triple crown — taking first in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 to give her seven individual CVC titles in her outstanding career.
The 800 was a highlight, as Clifford battled with West G senior and West Virginia recruit Kelly Williams and Kenston’s Maygen Semall. Clifford appeared to be boxed in halfway through, but made her usual confident back stretch move on the outside and staved off a gutsy kick from Williams to win in 2:20.85.
Clifford then had enough left in the tank to kick well in the last lap to deny a well-executed race by Kenston’s Tamara Surtees and take first with an 11:43.06.
“(In the 3,200) my coach told me to pace all the time and just see what you can do,” said Clifford, who won the 1,600 in 5:15.13. “I said, ‘Well, there’s only 200 left. I might as well go for it.’
“(In the 800) it was really nice to have that kind of competition. (Williams) is such a good runner. It was really an honor to run with her.”
West G sophomore Chantel Richardson successfully defended her CVC titles in the long jump (17-8) and 100 hurdles, took the 200 in 26.37 and anchored the winning 4×200 (1:49.75).
“I don’t run well in the cold, so I had to tough it out today,” said Richardson with a laugh. “It’s CVC finals — get it in and get it done. … I just wanted to get some points for the team — get some points in and get first.”
Other area CVC champions Monday were Chagrin Falls’ Mike Hageman (high jump), Kenston’s Kim Gallavan (discus), West G’s Williams (400) and Kori Chapic (300 hurdles), and the Harvey boys 4×400.