LEXINGTON -- Lexington Wildcats Track Coach Matt Oberly has been trying different combinations this season in hopes of finding ones that will give his team the best chance to compete in the various relay distances. He may have found them at last week's Mellow Mushroom Relays in Wando.
Colby Coulter signs with Winthrop
The Wildcat boys team took first place in two of the four relay events at the March 17 event, setting a new state record in the 4x1600, and the team of Tony Morales, Austin Bruber, Erik Wendt, Zaach Langston and Blake White placed first in the DMR.
The team just missed a fourth first-place finish, completing the 800 sprint medley in 1:36.20. The James Island boys team placed first with a time of 1:36.16.
"The guys got really excited. We got some of our sprinters involved and got some guys in events that we don't usually do," Oberly told scrunners.com. "We tried to pull everyone together and compete hard."
Track officials were forced to throw out times in the 1600 Sprint Medley after it was discovered that the lane markings were incorrect, leading to some running lanes being shorter than others.
"The lane markings were off a little, but it was still very entertaining to watch. Competition wise, it made for some good racing," Oberly said.
The Wildcats boys set a new state record in the 4x1600 relay with a time of 17:53.96, which is also the third fastest time in the country. Their time in the 4x800 was 8:23.54, and they ran a 10:30.38 in the DMR.
Oberly said trying different combinations for the relays has produced a core group of five runners: White, Langston, Morales, Wendt and Colby Coulter.
"Those five guys are very good competitors. They've been working real hard in practice and at meets," he said. "We've been doing different combinations with them in the four-by-eight. We're just trying to give the guys who do the relays to run with other guys and compete a little harder."
Oberly is in his first year at Lexington after four years at Newberry High. Before that he ran track and cross country for Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, south of Cleveland. He said the Wildcats' success at the Mellow Mushroom meet, along with the cross country team's achievements last fall, has helped build interest in the two programs.
"We're racing pretty well right now. We still have a ways to go, of course, but it's nice watching the team come together; everybody is kind of getting excited at once," he said.
This weekend the Wildcats travel to Spring Valley High School in Columbia for the SCTCCCA Coaches Classic. Check scrunners.com this weekend for results from that event.