Mercer County boys, Ridgewood girls win Dale Collis Invite team titles

Mike Landis, Editor
Galva's Tressa Rogers competes in the 100-meter hurdles at the Dale Collis Invite.

The Mercer County boys and Ridgewood girls captured the team titles in Galva’s Dale Collis Invite Friday night.

The MerCo boys tallied 136 points and held off Princeville (125) for the team championship. United emerged in a tight race for third place with 59.5 points, followed by Ridgewood 58, ROWVA-Williamsfield 55, Stark County 53.5, Galva 39 and Abingdon-Avon 35.

Mercer County and Princeville combined to win 13 of the 17 events in the boys meet — the Princes eight and Golden Eagles five — but MerCo’s depth proved to be the difference in the team race.

Galva picked up two wins on the night from Caelin Foley and Peyton Sopiars.

Foley’s quest to break the school record in the 1600-meter run came up just short as the senior posted a winning time and PRof 4:33.2.

“I waited all night long — it was a long wait,” Foley said. “The first lap was good, but the second lap I got way too comfortable and it was way too slow. I got halfway through the race and heard the time — it was 2:17 — and I knew I was behind the pace.”

Foley went all out his final two laps, but it wasn’t enough to run down Tony Strom’s school mark of 4:30.1.

“It was still really fun and the whole night was a great time,” Foley said. “It’s so early in the season, I think I’ll get it eventually. I just wanted to see if I could do it on the home meet — the Dale Collis Invite. Even though I didn’t get it, I was still happy with the race.”

Foley’s attention turns a little more from the 1600 record to preparing for May’s big meets.

“Now it’s just getting ready for the end of the year,” Foley said, adding the record is still a goal but not his lone focus.

“That’s what people are telling me and I agree — just let it happen at this point. If I couldn’t do it here, I’ll just keep running my races and see if it just happens naturally.”

Sopiars, the defending Class 1A state triple jump champion, turned in his best effort of the young season with a winning leap of 42-5.

“I’m really trying to chase my PR still and get up there,” Sopiars said. “It is really early in the year, so I”m just trying to get out there and get comfortable again.”

Also placing for the Wildcats were Cal Larson second in the 800-meter run (2:16.5) and seventh in the 1600-meter run (5:20.46), Sopiars second in the 400-meter dash (55.21 seconds), Keigan Rylander seventh in the long jump (16-4 1/2) and Tyvin Hodge seventh in the triple jump (32-2).

Ridgewood was paced by four second-place finishes — Lucas Althaus in the 110-meter hurdles (19.19 seconds), Lukas Maness in the 300-meter hurdles (47.02 seconds), Bryce Ashby in the long jump (17-6 1/2) and Keanan Dean in the discus (117-5).

ROWVA-Williamsfield picked up a win from Brandon Merz in the high jump (6-0).

The Ridgewood girls finished with 112 team points, followed by Stark County 98, ROWVA-Williamsfield 91.5, Princeville 91, United 87, Abingdon-Avon 51.5 and Galva 12.

Ridgewood won five events — the 4x100 relay (Taylor Sall, Kylie Martin, Anna Paul and Jenna Stromquist) in a time of 54.26 seconds, the 4x400 relay (Stromquist, Sall, Maddie Nuckles and Kalynn Johnson) in 4:32.87, Lauren Anderson in the high jump (5-0), Stromquist in the long jump (15-8 1/2) and Johnson in the triple jump (33-3 3/4).

Placing for the host Wildcats were Tressa Rogers third in the long jump (14-6) and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (19.13 seconds), and Mackenzie Johnson sixth in the 400-meter dash (1:18.95).

ROWVA-Williamsfield’s third-place effort was fueled by runner-up finishes from Taylor Main in the 200-meter dash (28.98 seconds), the 4x200 relay (Main, Hannah Parkinson, Thalia Jimenez and Mia Voss) in 1:59.15, Bella Voss in the triple jump (29-9), and Lexie Little in the shot put (34-5 1/2) and discus (82-1).