By Heather Smith
Special to The Oxford Leader
Sunny skies were a welcome sight April 21 as the Oxford High School Track & Field team hosted boys and girls teams from 22 other schools at the 56th Annual Elmer Ball Invitational.
Despite some fierce competition, Oxford athletes persevered with the boys team placing fifth (57 points) behind Oak Park (114), Lake Orion (71.5), Walled Lake Central (63.5), and White Lake Lakeland (65).
Senior Dominic Bruce crushed his personal bests running the 1600m in 4:23 (third place) bettering his PR by 8s and running the 3200m in 9:32 (fifth place) bettering his PR by 12s. Bruce was joined by teammates sophomore Scott Masterson, senior Zachariah Smith, and junior JJ Bagans to place seventh (8:17) in the 4x800m relay while senior Ulises Rodriguez also ran well in the distance events, placing ninth (9:43) in the 3200m annihilating his PR by 14s.
Sophomore Shane Ross and freshman Barett Coleman continued their successful season in the hurdles with Ross finishing fourth (15.86) in the 110m hurdles and third (41.56) in the 300m hurdles setting a PR while Coleman finished seventh (43.51) in the 300m hurdles also setting a PR. Coleman was the only freshman in the top 20 hurdlers at this distance. Also placing in the top-ten for the boys running events were sophomore Simon Arnold, JJ Bagans, Ross, and Smith running the 4x400m relay in 3:41 for 10th place and sophomore Trey Townsend, senior Peter Bagans, Ross and Masterson running the 4x200m relay in 1:35 for sixth place.
The Wildcat boys made an impressive showing in the field events with junior Sam Murray placing second (11’6″) in the pole vault. Townsend placed sixth (6’0″) while teammate junior Anthony Romeo placed eighth (6’0″) in the high jump. Senior Thrower Rick Galbraith set a new PR by 1’7″ in the shot put placing second (45’2″) and setting a new PR by an amazing 7 ft in the discus, placing sixth (129’3″). Teammate senior Ben Krause placed third in the discus with a throw of 132’7″.
For the Oxford Wildcats girls team, there were some great top-ten finishes, despite finishing 11th (26 points) overall.
Sophomore Antonia Vackaro was competitive in her events placing second (1:02.44) in the 400m and ninth in both the 100m (13.48) and the 200m (27.19).
Sophomore Maddie Lukens, freshman Ellie DiMalanta and senior Bridget Cusick joined Vackaro to place seventh (4:28) in the 4x400m relay. Cusick, DiMalanta, and Lukens were joined by freshman Lauren Schiller to place seventh (10:24) in the 4x800m relay. Senior Micah Dymond faced a blistering field placing ninth (50.77) in the 300m hurdles while the 4x400m relay with junior Ashley Hershman, and sophomores Lauren Brasza, Mattie Johnson, and Emma VanLoon also placed ninth (54.38).
The Oxford girls scored several points in the field events including senior Jessica Campbell placing third (107’3″) in the discus throw, and sophomore Gihon Maxwell placing eighth (29’6″) in the shot put, bettering her PR by 9 inches. Sophomore Jillian Hagberg shared a 5-way tie for fourth place in the high jump with a leap of 4’5″ and fellow sophomore Shania Mccallister placed ninth also with a leap of 4’5″. Senior Tabitha Sterner set a PR in the pole vault placing sixth (7’) with teammates sophomores Sage Brocco placing eighth (6’6″) and Mattie Johnson placing ninth (6’6″).