Tigers win 20th MAL?title

ATTICA – The only thing deeper than Seneca East’s tradition Saturday was its depth, and that’s saying something.

The Tigers rolled to their fifth Midland Athletic League title in a row and their 20th since the first league meet in 1986 in dominating fashion, cruising past Calvert 192 1/2-99.

Talented depth definitely helped.

Seneca East had five individual winners and claimed a relay, but the Tigers also scored in every individual event, had two placers in all 13 individual events and finished fourth or better in each relay.

“We didn’t win a whole lot of events, I think. It’s not like we won every event,” Seneca East coach Justin Ruffing said. “It’s just not having a zero as you go through the meet. I don’t think we had a zero today. This is our fifth [title] in a row, and all those four other times, we had zeros on those days, so that was nice.

“We just really try to make sure we have good depth and we’re able to score in as many events as we can,” he said. “All year we try to scheme to try to fill all of our holes. If we’re good in one event, we’ll try to move some things around and fill holes in other events.”

The Tigers certainly did that, but they also had some standouts.

Ben Hahler swept the shot (55-1) and discus (154-5), and Jason Willman did the same in the 1,600 (4:30.49) and 3,200 (9:43.85).

Owen Best backed up Hahler by taking second in the shot (46-3) and third in the discus (133-8), and Wesley Pipher ran second in the 3,200 (10:19.01) and fourth in the 1,600 (4:47.84).

Zach Gregg (13-10) and Cory Depinet (12-4) went 1-2 in the pole vault, with Gregg also capturing second in the long jump (19-3 1/2).

Jordan Phillips (52.37) and Adam Hall (53.54) finished first and second in the 400.

Kevin Moore captured the final Seneca East win by taking the 110 hurdles (15.24). Ben Frankart added a fourth in the 110 hurdles (17.3) and a third in the 300 hurdles (42.76), with Garett Boesser taking seventh in the 300 hurdles (44.43).

Seneca East also scored twice in three other events: Brayden Walker tied for third in the high jump (5-6) and Cory Depinet (5-6) took fifth in the same event; Depinet (12.04) and Adam Hall (12.15) ran fourth and fifth in the 100; and Hall (25.05) and Moore (25.32) took sixth and seventh in the 200.

Karl Burgderfer added a third in the 800 (2:09.92) and led off the winning 4×800 (8:40.36).

Phillips, Pipher and Rob Schaffer rounded out the relay.

Depinet, Walker, Gregg and Ian Watson added a second in the 4×100 (45.54). Phillips, Moore, Burgderfer and Frankart took third in the 4×400 (3:42.41). Moore, Walker, Frankart and Watson finished fourth in the 4×200 (1:36.79).

An added bonus to this year’s title was the fact it came on the Tigers’ own track after a move from Fostoria.

However, Ruffing said serving as hosts didn’t add any extra pressure.

“It was nice. Me and coach Ed Phillips were talking. We have a lot of home dual meets and small meets here,” he said. “It was actually less stressful having this here because all the schools run each event and all that’s taken care of. It was really nice.”

The result not only gave the Tigers their fifth MAL crown in a row, but also their 26th league championship since 1980. The Tigers won the Lake Shore Conference crown from 1980-1985, and MAL titles in 1986, ’87, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’95, ’96, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’03 and ’05 before the most-recent five-title stretch started in ’09.

The only thing the Tigers didn’t accomplish Saturday was a meet record.

Runner-up Calvert came the closest, with Austin Ball, Tyler Long, Tim Puesey and Shane Boehler tying the meet mark while winning the 4×100 in 44.2 seconds.

Boehler also figured in three other wins.

The junior also ran to victory in the 100 (11.47) and 200 (22.72) and anchored the 4×400 team’s win (3:34.87). Donovan Stith, Ball and Dan Reineke joined him on the relay.

Carey held off Mohawk 73-67 for fourth, followed by Hopewell-Loudon (49), New Riegel (32 1/2) and Lakota (13). St. Wendelin and North Baltimore tied for 10th (3).

The area’s other wins came from Mohawk’s Grant Ekleberry in the 300 hurdles (40.76), and Carey’s Ben Kromer in the 800 (2:07.78) and Tommy Arredondo in the high jump (6-2).