Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cardinal opens season with sweep at Newbury

Cardinal’s track teams opened the 2015 season with convincing wins at Newbury on Wednesday. The boys, led by senior Brandon Wicks, who won the 100-meter dash, long jump and 300-meter hurdles, beat the Black Knights, 77-45, while the girls came out on top, 75-40.

“It was good to get out and race,” said Cardinal coach Greg Cicero. “We’ve been in the parking lot a lot because we don’t really have a track. We have cinders so this was realty the first time we raced between the lines. We had some really good races.”

Wicks ran a 12-second time in the 100 and finished the 300 hurdles in 48 seconds. He nearly matched his personal best with a 19-foot, 10 ¾ inch long jump.

“He’s been a lot more dedicated and focused this year,” Cicero said. “He didn’t end last season very well. He got hurt at districts and that left a bad taste in his mouth. He chose not to play basketball this winter to focus on track and he just focused on training, hurdle specific drills and building up some strength. He was so explosive in the long jump. That was interesting because all winter we talked about not jumping this year but he gave it a shot and was within three inches of his personal best (20-2).”

Wicks’ focus has set the example for what is a very young Cardinal roster.

“He’s got the right attitude for a senior,” Cicero said. “He’s come a long way in his dedication and work ethic since he was a freshman and he’s dragging everyone else along with him.”

Junior Lester Troyer won the shot put and discus and freshmen Jacob Revak and Hayden Cummins also turned in strong performances in their first varsity meet.

Cummins won the 800 with a time of 2:24 and finished second in the high jump (5-4). He also ran a leg in the 4×800-meter relay that finished first. Aidan White, Chris Noreika and Jonathan Anderson also ran in the 4×8.

“He’s a really hard worker and I heard really good things from our basketball coaches about Hayden,” Cicero said. “I didn’t really know him before this year but since the first day he’s been one of the people putting in extra work. He stays after practice to put in extra work to get a little better. He’s got a really good future. He has to learn to race a little bit but he’ll gain all that throughout this year with experience and a bunch of races under his belt.”

Revak won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.9 and kicked off the 4×100-meter relay that finished first. Andrew Bolton, Kyle Simms and Craig Shanower rounded out that relay.

“He shows a ton of potential as a sprinter in practice,” Cicero said of Revak. He has a lot of speed. He’s pushing Brandon in practice, which is great.”

Cardinal’s girls’ team is very deep in the throws and it showed against the Black Knights.

Sophomore Sarah Riebe won the shot put and freshman Anna Avalon won the discus. Both throwers first had to win a throw-off at practice on Tuesday, which left them a bit weary heading into Wednesday’s competition.

Riebe gained valuable experience last season and it showed at Newbury.

“She had great improvement today,” Cicero said. “She was throwing just as far as she was at any point last season but she’s more consistent. She’s been working more on technique instead of just the release and she had a great day.”

Avalon kicks off her Cardinal career with big shoes to fill.

Her uncle, Tom Avalon, set the school record in 1994 with a discus throw of 54 feet, 3 ¾ inches back in 1994.

She got off to a great start on Wednesday.

“She’s got really good flight on the disc,” Cicero said. “She keeps her hand really flat and comes through the circle with pretty good speed. She’s a pretty seasoned disc thrower and it runs in her family. She’s got good lineage and as a freshman coming out and winning her first meet is a big deal.”

Senior Ashley Lucarelli won both the 200 and 400-meter runs. She finished the 200 in 30.9 seconds and 400 in 1:10. She also ran a leg in the winning 4×200-meter relay with Caitlyn Lechene, Trisha Cesar and Erin Ross.

“She had a strong season last year and a really good fall season of cross country and carried that right over to track,” Cicero said. “She has the added responsibility of leadership this year and she’s doing a good job of balancing all that and still getting in the work at practice.”

Ross, a sophomore, won the 100 and 300 hurdles, despite having some difficulty perfecting a three-step approach to the hurdles on Newbury’s soggy track.

“She’s a perfectionist and really wants the technique down,” Cicero said. “She had a few interesting flights over the hurdles but still managed to see two wins out of her. We’ll see good things out of her this year. She was ninth in the district prelims last year so she was bummed she didn’t make the finals. She worked hard to get to the finals this year and maybe even get to regionals. She has the ability, she just needs to get the form down.”

The Huskies will compete in the Champion Relays on Thursday.

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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