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Prep Track and Field: Van Buren senior Simmons races to MVP at BVC meet

By ANDREW WILLIAMS
STAFF WRITER
From the opening race until the final event of the day, Van Buren’s Ted Simmons focused all of his energy into his final Blanchard Valley Conference track and field championships on Friday at Liberty-Benton.
That effort paid off, too.
The senior captured individual victories in the 800-meter run (2:02.65) and 1,600 (4:48.42), anchored the Black Knights’ winning 3,200 relay team (8:37.31), and nearly earned a fourth win in the 1,600 relay before finishing second to earn the meet most valuable performer award.
“It feels really good,” Simmons said of winning the MVP honor. “I had a good talk with an old friend of mine yesterday. He kind of inspired me just to leave it all out there tonight and do all I could. It feels good to be rewarded for that, and it’s always good to come against your rival and do alright.”
Liberty-Benton won the team title for the 13th consecutive year, beating Van Buren 191-112. Arlington finished third with 77 points.
Anchoring the Black Knights’ 1,600 relay team in the meet’s final race, Simmons chased down Liberty-Benton’s Bob Snook and pulled into the lead before eventually running out of steam in the last 100 meters and finishing a half-second behind the Eagles’ winning time of 3:34.70.
When asked about his leg of the relay, Simmons replied with a smile: “It’s been a long day.”
Cory-Rawson’s Mason Warnimont also put up an impressive display in his first BVC championships.
The freshman was first in the 100 in 11.44 seconds and anchored the Hornets’ winning 400 relay squad that posted a time of 46.01 seconds.
Running against more seasoned competitors like Liberty-Benton senior Chase Cook didn’t intimidate Warnimont. In fact, it actually pushed him to work even harder.
“I was determined to beat him,” Warnimont said of Cook. “That was my goal for this year. Worked hard all week, pushed myself. Just stay relaxed, get focused, run the race.”
Despite getting bested by his younger competitor in the 100, Cook, who captured titles in the 200 (23.58) and long jump (20-6½), had only high praise for Warnimont.
“Doing that as a freshman is amazing,” Cook said. “I thought I was doing pretty well as a freshman here at the BVC meet, but him winning the 100 and beating me was kind of cool. I was upset that he beat me, but the BVC’s his for the next three years. I wouldn’t want to have handed it to anybody else.”
Had it not been for a false start in his 200 preliminary heat, Warnimont would have had a chance to go head-to-head with Cook for a second time. He said some jitters and a minor change at the start of the race caused him to misstep.
“I was just anxious, wanted to get going,” he said. “Had a different guy come in. He fired the gun a little slower. I started leaning and had to do something.”
Cook was happy with his performances in the 200 and long jump, as well as his runner-up finish in the 100, and is glad to be exiting the meet with no lingering hamstring problems which he has battled for much of the season.
“My leg was a little sore, but I’m happy that I’m pretty healthy right now,” he said. In the 200, “I just wanted to get the win. I wasn’t worried about the time. The more events I do, the more my leg starts hurting. Monday was the first day I long-jumped in five weeks.”
Cook was also involved in one of the more strange incidents that took place Friday evening.
In the finals of the 400 relay, the Eagles were running in Lane 4 after posting the top qualifying time of 44.54. They were already competing without third-leg Chase Conkle due to a hamstring injury suffered during the 800 relay, but everything was going smoothly until Conkle’s replacement made it to where anchor-leg Austin Combs should have been.
Except he wasn’t there, and neither was anybody else from Liberty-Benton’s team.
“I handed it off perfect,” said Cook, who ran the second leg. “I’m happy and I’m watching him coming around, have a huge lead, and I guess our guy just wasn’t in the lane. Coach Krout said that was his fault. I guess originally there were two heats and they moved it down to one and they didn’t really tell our anchor guy.”
The Eagles were disqualified from the event, although luckily, their championship hopes did not take a hit because of the miscue.
After a disappointing showing at the Liberty-Benton Invitational where he failed to clear his opening height, Liberty-Benton senior Dylan Cornwell earned the pole vault crown with a height of 14 feet.
Cornwell missed some time earlier in the season with hamstring issues and said returning to form has been a bit of a struggle for him.
“It was a little stressful,” he said. “But (I) slowly just put in the work to rehab it and everything like that and coming back and feeling a lot better. So it’s a good feeling.
“More than anything, I think it was mental. My coach helped me and we got mentally ready for the meet today. Just going one height at a time instead of looking at the big picture of going 15 (feet) or whatever, it helped a lot.”
Leipsic senior Terrill Murriel posted a 15.56-second time to win the 110 hurdles, while Liberty-Benton’s Snook edged Murriel to take the 300 hurdles in 40.80 seconds.
Arcadia sophomore Shae Watkins recorded a toss of 144-10 to grab the discus title and Arlington’s Matt Inniger won the shot put with a heave of 48-4¾.
Liberty-Benton’s Zach Garver earned the high jump crown with a leap of 6 feet, teammate Ty Gleason was the 3,200 winner in 10:31.76 and McComb’s Clay Dysert finished in 52.58 to earn the 400 title by more than a second.

BOYS TEAM STANDINGS
1, Liberty-Benton 191. 2, Van Buren 112. 3, Arlington 77. 4, Pandora-Gilboa 75. 5, McComb 58. 6, Cory-Rawson 35. 7, Arcadia 34. 8, Hardin Northern 31. 9, Leipsic 20. 10, Vanlue 9.
INDIVIDUAL FINISHES
SHOT — 1, Inniger (Arl) 48-4¾. 2, Combs (L-B) 47-4. 3, May (L-B) 46-0¼. 4, Hovest (P-G) 43-6¼. 5, Becker (McC) 42-0. 6, Wagner (VB) 41-7½. 7, Watkins (Arc) 41-5. 8, Forney (C-R) 40-1¼.
DISCUS — 1, Watkins (Arc) 144-10. 2, Boyd (L-B) 135-4. 3, DeLaCerda (McC) 125-1. 4, Hovest (P-G) 122-4. 5, Walther (P-G) 121-10. 6, Lanyo (VB) 120-5. 7, Beeker (McC) 120-3. 8, Knepper (Arc) 119-7.
PV — 1, Cornwell (L-B) 14-0. 2, Starr (Arl) 13-6. 3, Osborne (L-B) 11-0. 4, Schumacker (VB) 11-0. 5, Watts (HN) 10-0. 6, Moore (P-G) 9-0. 7, Keck (VB) 9-0. 8, Schulte (P-G) 8-0.
LJ — 1, Cook (L-B) 20-6½. 2, Lawson (L-B) 20-6. 3, Starr (Arl) 19-7¼. 4, Hunter (Arl) 19-2½. 5, Lugibihl (P-G) 18-9¼. 6, Gossard (HN) 18-5. 7, Parker (McC) 18-0¾. 8, Mowrey (VB) 17-11¾.
HJ — 1, Garver (L-B) 6-0. 2, Miller (L-B) 6-0. 3, Grubb (McC) 5-10. 4, Glick (Arl) 5-8. 5, S. Drumm (HN) 5-6. 6, Neuenschwander (P-G) 5-6. 7 (tie), Saltzman (VB) & Mowrey (VB) 5-2.
3,200 RELAY — 1, Van Buren (Stall, Hiris, Schumacker, Simmons) 8:37.31. 2, Liberty-Benton (Lyberg, Gleason, Wolford, Maag) 8:49.41. 3, Arlington (Jones, Elledge, Ross, McDowell) 8:54.71. 4, Pandora-Gilboa (Herr, Traxler, Lugibihl, Latham) 8:59.16. 5, McComb (Beeson, Minard, Davis, Siferd) 9:15.77. 6, Arcadia (Recker, Johnson, Reinhart, Metzger) 9:39.84.
110 HH — 1, Murriel (Leip) 15.56. 2, Snook (L-B) 15.66. 3, Rath (L-B) 16.22. 4, Huston (Van) 16.52. 5, Recker (Arc) 17.50. 6, Endicott (18.01). 7, Hunter (Arl) 21.33.
100 — 1, Warnimont (C-R) 11.44. 2, Cook (L-B) 11.59. 3, Moser (C-R) 11.75. 4, Combs (L-B) 11.81. 5, Matthes (VB) 1.90. 6, Tousley (P-G) 12.16. 7, Gossard (HN) 12.26. 8, Basinger (P-G) 12.30.
800 RELAY — 1, Panodora-Gilboa (Diller, Tousley, Miller, Basinger) 1:36.62. 2, Hardin Northern (Gossard, Schlatter, Stump, R. Drumm) 1:37.09. 3, Arlington (Marquart, Essinger, Heaster, Oates) 1:38.13. 4, McComb (Auchmuty, Grubb, Dysert, Parker) 1:38.28.
1,600 — 1, Simmons (VB) 4:48.42. 2, Stumpp (VB) 4:57.00. 3, Jones (Arl) 4:57.32. 4, Vorst (L-B) 4:59.66. 5, Beeson (McC) 5:06.25. 6, Burner (L-B) 5:07.17. 7, Traxler (P-G) 5:09.38. 8, Maynard (Leip) 5:09.43.
3,200 — 1, Gleason (L-B) 10:31.76. 2, Schumacker (VB) 10:44.43. 3, Rosenberger (L-B) 10:58.00. 4, Stumpp (VB) 11:03.77. 5, Minard (McC) 11:07.37. 6, Herr (P-G) 11:28.29. 7, Allen (HN) 11:32.35. 8, Marinelli (P-G) 11:35.76.
400 RELAY — 1, Cory-Rawson (Moser, Sands, Waltz, Warnimont) 46.01. 2, Pandora-Gilboa (Diller, Lugibihl, Miller, Basinger) 46.29. 3, McComb (Schroeder, Dysert, Auchmuty, Grubb) 46.50. 4, Arlington (Marquart, Heaster, Hunter, Oates) 46.60. 5, Van Buren (Mowrey, Adolph, Brand, Huber) 47.70. 6, Hardin Norther (Watts, Wilhelm, Drumm, Spearman).
400 — 1, Dysert (McC) 52.58. 2, Matthes (VB) 53.88. 3, Latham (P-G) 53.89. 4, Garver (L-B) 54.86. 5, Biddle (L-B) 56.49. 6, Beck (Arl) 57.02. 7, Schumacker (VB) 57.86. 8, Essinger (Arl) 58.29.
300 IH — 1, Snook (L-B) 40.80. 2, Murriel (Leip) 40.90. 3, Rather (L-B) 41.00. 4, Recker (Arc) 41.10. 5, Huston (Van) 41.20. 6, Endicott (VB) 41.30. 7, Saltzman (VB) 45.58. 8, Auchmuty (McC) 46.20.
800 — Simmons (VB) 2:02.65. 2, Lybert (L-B) 2:10.63. 3, Metzger (Arc) 2:11.51. 4, Wolford (L-B) 2:11.85. 5, Stall (VB) 2:13.10. 6, Jones (Arl) 2:13.94. 7, McDowell (Arl) 2:15.83. 8, Maynard (Leip) 2:20.32.
200 — 1, Cook (L-B) 23.58. 2, Moser (C-R) 23.7. 3, Matthes (VB) 24.3. 4, Diller (P-G) 24.32. 5, Heaster (Arl) 24.67. 6, Stump (HN) 25.68.
1,600 RELAY — 1, Liberty-Benton (Conkle, Lybert, Boehme, Snook) 3:34.70. 2, Van Buren (Schumacker, Hiris, Simmons, Matthes) 3:35.19. 3, Pandora-Gilboa (Miller, Walther, Tousley, Latham) 3:39.20. 4, Arlington (Elledge, Essinger, Hunter, Beck) 3:45.49. 5, McComb (Dysert, Grubb, LaRue, Parker) 3:46.89. 6, Arcadia (Metzger, Counts, Johnson, Recker) 3:53.30. 7, Hardin Northern (Gossard, Stump, Schlatter, Drumm) 3:57.09.
Williams, 419-427-8407
andrewwilliams@thecourier.com