As the Sandusky Bay Conference final standings were announced, anticipation continued to build. Would it be Perkins, bringing home a ninth straight title? Or would it be Clyde, earning it’s first SBC championship since 1993.
Turns out, it was both.
Clyde was announced the overall winner, edging Perkins by ½ point, but after a third and final tally, and after most teams had left the field, it was declared that the two teams actually tied with 136 points.
“I knew Clyde would be tough,” Perkins’ veteran coach Shane Burrows said. “I’m just happy to go in the locker room and tell my guys, they don’t even know yet. Some of them are really down on themselves. I’m so happy that I get to go in the locker room and tell them that our streak is still in tact”
The Pirates have won nine straight and 12 of the last 14 titles under coach Burrows.
Clyde, meanwhile, picked up its first conference championship in over two decades.
“We knew it was going to be nip and tuck the whole way between Perkins and Edison,” Clyde coach Mike Martin said. “We just had some kids that performed tonight and did what they had to do. Every year, Perkins comes up for the SBC championship and they are always able to find points that they don’t have throughout the year. We were just able to finally do that tonight”
Edison took third with 104.5 points, followed by Oak Harbor (100), Huron (63.5), Margaretta (47), Port Clinton (39) and St. Mary Central Catholic (35).
The Oak Harbor girls kept their SBC streak alive as well, grabbing the team’s fifth straight title with 146 points. Perkins was second with 114.33 points, while Edison dropped to third with 114 points. Clyde was fourth (93) followed by SMCC (67), Port Clinton (48.33), Margaretta (38.33) and Huron (35).
“Once you’ve got that streak going you don’t want to be the group that breaks it,” Rockets coach John McKitrick said. “That’s important to them. We talked about the last time we lost this SBC championship and how, that day, we didn’t really come together as a team. This group decided that they were going to come together as a team. That is something that is really important to them. Obviously it is really important to your coaching staff, but when it is just as important to your kids, it makes my job so much easier. They have found a way to win and I think that is really something they know how to do”
Clyde’s Collin Rieman was the meet's Outstanding Performer on the boys side with 35 points, while Oak Harbor’s Allie Jett was announced as the Outstanding Performer in the girls meet with 36 points.
Clyde’s Thomas Davis won the 100 in 11.59 seconds, while teammate Alex Webber won the 200 in 23.20. Rieman won the 400 in 50.53.
“Every race it was on my mind that every point matters” Rieman said. “We knew it was going to be close. We didn’t specifically talk about it, but everyone on our team knows what’s at stake and everyone on our team has that same goal. The last 100 meters I was just thinking of getting those two extra points between first and second. This feels fantastic, I wouldn’t ask for anything else”
Oak Harbor’s Tyler Sievert won the 800 (2:00.60), and the mile run (4:36).
Perkins, trailing Clyde by four points with two events left, earned some crucial points in the two-mile when Nick Reyes (10:17) and Nick Corso (10:28) took first and third. Huron’s Kevin Tomczyk was second at 10:24.
Oak Harbor’s Thomas Loope won the 110 hurdles (15.69), while Edison’s Tyler Scott won the 300 hurdles (41.91).
Perkins’ team of Connor Trent, Cameron Burrows, Cameron Sleek and Chase Green defended its 4x100 title with a time of 44.44, edging the competition on the final straightaway.
“I was really focusing on the finish line,” Green said after running the final leg of the race. “All the people cheering me on, this crowd out here definitely helps.
“Every single point, every single position, whether it’s eighth or it’s first, every point matters. It is going to come down to the 4x400 at the end. It could come down to half a point. Every position, height, speed, time, it all matters today”
Clyde’s team of Davis, Webber, Rieman and Kaleb Herrera won the 4x200 in 1:32. Webber and Rieman teamed up with Zach Rieman and Mathew Gerber to win the 4x400 in 3:29.16.
Edison’s team of Lucas Wallace, Clay Goodwin, Mike Biltz, and Chris Hoffman won the 4x800 in 8:13.20.
Cameron Burrows won the high jump at 6 feet, 7 inches, while Margaretta’s Trent Balduff won the pole vault at 14 feet even.
Edison’s Brandon Cushler won the long jump with a leap of 22-8, while Clyde’s Collin Mange won the shot put (48) and discus throw (144-3).
In the girls meet, Caitlen Lonaberger won three events. But the most surprising perhaps was the 100 dash. Lonabarger posted a time of 12.98, knocking off defending champion Kennedy Gennari of SMCC.
“Running the 100 dash today, they just threw me in and to win it feels amazing,” the sophomore said. “It’s my second time ever running the 100. I have never ran against (Gennari), so to beat the former champion is so great”
Lonabarger also grabbed a first in the 100 hurdles (15.93) and the 300 hurdles (46.81) defending her SBC title as a freshman.
“Last week me and (Margaretta’s) Kasey Parkhurst went head-to-head so I knew I had to be on my A-game because I lost to her at Margaretta and I wanted to push really hard” she said. “She pushed me to win the second year in a row. I tried really hard to keep getting better”
Athena Eli also picked up multiple wins for the Rockets, posting firsts in the 200 (26.87), the 400 (59.57), and teamed up with Jett, Karis DeWalt, Paige Velliquette to win the 4x200 in 1:46, and DeWalt, Jett and Cydney St. Clair to win the 4x400 in 4:09.
“I don’t want those other jerseys in front of me,” Eli said. “I know what’s at stake. We wanted to make it five in a row this year and I am just trying to make that happen for my team”
Eli’s first-place finish in the 400 defended last year’s win.
“It’s unbelievable, I love coming out here” she said. “This is my favorite sport and this is what I work for in the offseason. This is my favorite event. Coming out here and defending it is awesome. It’s the best feeling in the world”
Tori Stallkamp won the 800 (2:23), but had one of her best races of the season when she won the mile in 5:29.
Stallkamp and defending champion Jenna Hinds were neck-and-neck for two and a half laps, but Stallkamp found some energy to pull away for the win.
“During the third lap I felt so comfortable,” Stallkamp said. “Jenna is such a great competitor to run with because she knows pace. She does so well with knowing where to be and how to pace yourself. She really carried me through that race. Having her as a competitor and as a friend is really nice”
Hinds finished third behind Clyde’s Olivia Hammons.
“That third lap I felt something inside me and I just said ‘why not’ it’s SBCs, why not,’” Stallkamp said. “Maybe deep down inside I was thinking I really want this, but on any given day anyone can win this race. Coming in to this day you have to be positive, you have to be confident, but you have to be ready for whatever the race brings. It really hit me having all the fans and having everyone around me cheering”
Stallkamp also teamed up with Cassidy Pierce, Krisitn McCarthy and Madison Moyer to win the 4x800 in 9:58.
Hinds won the 3,200 in 12:03 to grab some points for the Panthers.
Oak Harbor’s team of Jett, St. Clair, Rebekah Rayburn and Velliquette teamed up to win the 4x100 in 50.56, setting a new SBC record. The previous record (50.66) was set in 2005 by SMCC.
Clyde’s Paula Wollenslegel won the high jump at 5 feet, 6 inches, while teammate Dominique Loparo won the pole vault (10).
Gennari won the long jump with a leap of 17-10.75, while Port Clinton’s Morissa Mallory won the shot put at 37-04.75. Clyde’s Jillian Miller won the dicus at 116-06.