LEBANON — “Mother Nature” nearly put an early end to the Lebanon Invitational.
“The Lebanon Invitational was a cold, rainy meet that we were happy to be able to complete. It didn’t look as if we were going to be able to get the meet finished once it started raining during the 1,600-meter run, but the rain slowed down enough to allow us to complete all the events,” Eaton coach Randy McKinney said. “Our pole vaulters had a tough time holding on to their poles and our discus throwers had a tough time holding on to the slippery disc.”
Eaton’s boys finished fifth overall with 54 points. Eaton’s “B” team was 11th with three points. Host Lebanon won the meet with 151 points. Loveland was second with 127 and Middletown was third with 116.
For the girls, Eaton was eighth with 38.5 points, while the Lady Eagles “B” team was 11th with eight points. Lebanon won the meet with 181 points. Summit Country Day was second with 111.5 and Franklin was third with 73.5.
“Overall, this was a good meet for our athletes. We had solid performances from our athletes against a very solid field of schools. Lebanon also allowed all the schools to place additional athletes and relays which we took advantage of to give more of our athletes an additional chance to compete,” McKinney said.
Eaton had several top five finishes at the meet along with two first place finishers.
Seth Gard placed first in the 3,200-meter run while Sasha Taxter placed first in the women’s 800-meter run.
Katie Bassler ran a very smart and strong 1,600 to place third overall as did Claire Meyer in the 3,200 run to also finish with a third place finish, according to McKinney.
Chase Smith placed third in the Discus, despite the slippery conditions.
The women’s 4×800 relay team consisting of Bassler, Meyer, Brooke Caplinger and Sasha Taxter placed third overall while the men’s 4×800 relay team consisting of Gard, Cole Bulach, Steven Cottle and Tanner Titkemeyer placed fourth overall.
Darius Benton placed fifth in the 110 hurdles with a strong finish.
The men’s 4×200 relay consisting of Caleb Puckett, Austin Puckett, Michael Watkins and Dylan Suding placed fifth overall and the men’s 4×100 relay consisting of Austin Puckett, Suding, Watkins and Seth Hodapp also finished fifth overall.
Connor Gowanny ran a strong 400-meter dash to place fourth.
Braden Clabaugh placed fourth overall in the men’s pole vault and Kylee Moore placed fifth overall in the women’s pole vault.
“Lebanon is always a great meet for us to compete in at this later point in the season because of the overall strong competition . We also get the opportunity to compete against a few teams like Middletown, Fairborn, Northmont and Lebanon that we only get to see once a year at this meet,” McKinney said.
Up next for Eaton is the Southwestern Buckeye League meet at Monroe on Thursday, May 11 and Saturday, May 13.
“There are some very strong teams and individuals on both the men and women’s side this year. I look forward to the competition and am anxious to see how our athletes stack up against the other six teams in our division at this point in the season,” McKinney said.
The meet will begin on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. with field events and running at 5 p.m. with finals in the men’s discus, high jump, pole vault, 4×800 relay and 3,200-meter run. All other hurdle, sprint events will have semi-finals qualifying the top eight to the finals on Saturday.
On Saturday the field events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the running finals beginning at 10 a.m.