MOUNT VERNON — The Fredericktown Freddies track and field team has racked up three more awards to add onto what was a superb season.
Isaac Potes was chosen Mount Vernon News’ 2010 Boys Runner of the Year, Jon Gallagher was picked as the News’ 2010 Boys Field Athlete of the Year and Tayler Carpenter was awarded the News’ 2010 Girls Field Athlete of the Year.
Potes was the sole area athlete to earn All-Ohio honors in track and field this spring, finishing fourth (4:23) in the Division III 1,600-meter run. He was also the Mid-Buckeye Conference champion in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, and anchored the Freddies’ 4x800-meter relay team, which won the conference and competed at the state meet. For Fredericktown coach Bob Geiger, Potes’ year was so much more than what times he ran.
“I think that, this year, Isaac broke through,” said Geiger. “He showed toughness in the way that he finished races. He got our Iron Man Award. We ran him in a lot of races to prepare him for the end. He was also our team MVP because he scored so many points. When you step back and think about it, almost nobody beat him all year. It wasn’t until he got to the regional meet that he got beat. He was beaten by two All-Ohioans; he had a wonderful year and he earned it.”
The best part for Geiger is that he gets Potes back next year as a senior.
“I’m really in a quandary next year about what race we’ll focus on,” said Geiger. “He was All-Ohio as a sophomore in the two-mile. He was fourth in the mile this year. He also ran a fast 800 split on the 4x800, so we could try that, too.”
Gallagher’s quiet leadership along with his dependable performances in the high jump made him valuable to the whole team.
“Jon is just a quiet, steady performer,” said Geiger. “If you step back, you realize what a great accomplishment this year was. He was SpecTRACKular champion, he was district champion, he was league champion and he missed the state by one spot. He went about it in such a professional manner that, sometimes, you just forgot about how dependable a jumper he was. His best was 6-2, but the nice thing about Jon was that, every meet, he’d give you a 6-foot or 6-2 jump. He just didn’t have bad nights. He was our team leader — not just in jumping — but, overall. He led the stretches. He led the warm up. He made sure that everyone was where they needed to be.”
Tayler Carpenter’s intense sense of competition, helped her leap her way to a state berth in the long jump this year. Her 15-feet-1.5 was 14th best in the state in Division III. Carpenter, also the MBC champion in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, will get another shot at it in 2011.
“She is a hard competitor and it was wonderful for her to achieve her goal of getting to the State meet,” said Geiger. “I don’t think she’ll ever be satisfied unless she wins it all.”
Carpenter was also runner-up in the MBC in the high jump, and was selected as the MBC Runner of the Year.
Mount Vernon’s Sarah Baker is the News’ 2010 Girls Runner of the Year, and her teammate and fellow runner Brittany Shelhorn was tabbed as the News’ 2010 Girls Sprinter of the Year.
Baker competed at the state meet in the 3,200-meter run for the second year in a row, while Shelhorn placed in three events (300-meter hurdles, high jump and 4x400-meter relay) at the regionals. Baker was the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division champion in the 3,200 and finished seventh in the 1,600. Shelhorn, meanwhile, was third in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the 300 hurdles and tied for second in the high jump.
For this duo, however, it went way beyond performance on the track.
“Both of them will be going on to compete in college,” said Mount Vernon coach Pat Gray. “Both of them easily could have said, ‘I’m going to focus on myself and that’s it.’ Instead, they really took the team to heart. They led all the warm ups and all the stretching. When I had to take care of getting my lineups in at the beginning of the season, they would take the whole team and get them warmed up. Any relays, they were always in charge, so it was really nice to have them around. I’m really going to miss them next year.”
Gray knows that this pair of girls will cast a very long shadow in the coming years.
“Sarah was the hardest worker on the team,” said Gray. “It was her willingness to listen. She always listened to me. She never argued with the coached and that was one of her big successes. For her and Brittany, they taught the young girls the right way to practice, to always listen to the coach, to always compete hard and good sportsmanship. In the next year or two, as I watch those younger girls as juniors and seniors carrying that same attitude, I’ll see a little bit of Sarah and Brittany in them.”
Taylor Jones of East Knox was named as the News’ 2010 Boys Sprinter of the Year. Jones had had a banner year. Earlier this spring, Jones was named co-Most Valuable Competitor at SpecTRACKular. He then won the Mid-Buckeye Conference Runner of the Year award after four first-place finishes. Jones continued his strong competition into the postseason, putting in outstanding district and regional performances in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. He also anchored the 4x100-meter relay in Division II Regional.
Jones’ coach, Jason Ewalt, was named as the News’ 2010 Track and Field Coach of the Year.
Ewalt’s unheralded Bulldogs’ boys gained a team berth in the Regionals with a third-place finish in the district — a surprise to many, but another step on the ladder for Ewalt, whose team has grown with the East Knox athletic program and is now a force to be reckoned with.
“We went to the seed meeting (for the district tournament) and found out that we were voted last by four of the 14 teams in the tournament and that kind of motivated us a little bit,” said Ewalt, earlier this year. “I had a lot of help with Coach (Don) McDaniels. I had him coach the shot even though he didn’t know much about track. I just had him watch over them for me while they practiced. He really took the initiative to learn as much as he could and develop those kids. Eric Morris did a real good job with the throwers. Ron Fannin, the girls coach, coaches both boys and girls distance. I had some past kids come up. Jesse Ramirez taught some of my sprinters the blocks. I’ve gotten a lot of volunteer help, which has really done wonders. Of course, the runners do it all. They have all the talent.”