Running away with the MAL
ATTICA – Bluntly put, the Midland Athletic League Championship has become more than a tradition for Seneca East – the Tigers won the first meet in 1986 and 19 of the next 27, including the one last year.
Saturday, the MAL went out like it came in, with the Tigers in the lead.
And as in the past, it came from a combination of talent and depth.
The Tigers won six events, going 1-2 in two of them, while placing in all events and getting two scorers in 13 of the 17 individual events.
In other words, a typical MAL meet for the Tigers.
“I get more nervous about today than they do. They just have such great confidence,” said Seneca East’s Jared Ruffing, who was also named the league’s top boys coach. “We have very few, knock on wood, letdowns; very few times do people not finish where they should. They just kind of come out and take care of business. They’re just kind of used to it, I think.
“I think part of it is, we put expectations on them year after year after year, even through the year,” he said. “Every meet we go to, they know they’re expected to perform well. As a team we’re expected to perform well, and when they come out, it’s just another day at the office.”
The office was humming Saturday as the Tigers rolled to the final MAL title. The league disbands after this year.
Wesley Pipher (4:45.34) and Jason Willman (4:45.74) went 1-2 in the 1,600, and Jared Stockmaster (9:59.81) and Willman (10:34.04) did the same in the 3,200.
Zach Gregg doubled up wins in the pole vault (14-6) and high jump (20-3 1/2), Owen Best claimed the discus (134-1), and Willman, Stockmaster, Rob Schaffer and Pipher took the 4×800 (8:35.35).
Ben Frankart ran second in the 110 hurdles (16.88) and Adam Hall took second in the 400 (53.27).
Thirds for the Tigers came from Pipher in the 800 (2:07.45), Frankart in the 300 hurdles (43.2) and pole vaulter Kyler Green (11-6), Best in the shot (46-8) and the 4×100 team of Isaac Phillips, Brayden Walker, Gregg and Adam Hall (46.16).
All that added up to 122 of the team’s 154 points, which still would have been enough to beat runner-up Calvert, which scored 103 1/2 points.
“As we went through, our guys basically did what they needed to do and landed right where we thought,” Ruffin said.
“It’s just fitting after doing so well for so many years. It’s kind of the right way for it to finish out,” he said. “It was nice, after what coach [Rod] Schaar has built. He’s been able to be here and he helps out with our jumpers; nice to have him here to help us do well and the kids do well.”
Hopewell-Loudon finished third with 100 points, followed by Carey (77), Mohawk (62), Old Fort (52 1/2), Lakota (35), Fremont St. Joe (26), St. Wendelin (20), New Riegel (17) and North Baltimore (15).
Calvert’s Shane Boehler captured the 100 (11.13) and 200 (23.18), with Tyler Long taking second in the 100 (11.2) and Austin Ball ending second in the 200 (23.63).
Ren Boehler ran to victory in the 110 hurdles (15.69) and 300 hurdles (41.59), with Dan Reineke taking second in the 300 hurdles (42.12).
Ball, Long, and the Boehler twins also won the 4×100 (43.56) and 4×200 (1:31.08).
Hopewell-Loudon’s Noah Breidenbach won the 400 (52.2) by more than a second, despite running in lane 8.
Marcus Ardner added a second in the 800 (2:07.25), and the Chieftains took second in the 4×100 (45.83), 4×200 (1:35.69) and 4×400 (3:38.53).
Elancio Velasquez, Cody Malone, Breidenbach and Eli Tooker ran the 4×100. Velasquez, Patric Gase, Breidenbach and Tooker competed in the 4×200. Breidenbach, Zach Clouse, Ardner and Ben Bodart competed in the 4×400.
Carey’s Ben Kromer, Adam Hyatt, Trevor Cook and Alex Distel finished second in the 4×800 (8:48.17), and Kyle Swartz did the same in the discus (132-11).
Trevor Zender, Mitch Parker, Austin Eaton and Brandon Emshoff captured the 4×400 (3:37.93) for Mohawk.
Old Fort’s Brad Bannister took the 800 (2:02.51) and Hunter Perry won the high jump (6-3). Adam Alexander ended second in the pole vault (13-6).
Kevin Crowe of Lakota took second in the shot (46-8 1/2).
Gabe Walters took second in high jump (6-2) for St. Wendelin.
New Riegel got a second from long jumper Timmy Ink (19-9).