Part four in a 5 part series previewing the 2015 St. Xavier Track and Field Tigers: Sprints
100 meter dash
200 meter dash
400 meter dash
WHERE DID THEY FINISH LAST YEAR?
100 meter dash – Taijon Smith (5th at Region), Cedric Miller (6th at Region)
200 meter dash – No participants at Region
400 meter dash – Colin O’Daniel (5th at State), Joe Butler (6th at Region)
Taijon Smith – 100 meter dash
Colin O’Daniel – 400 meter dash
Joe Butler – 400 meter dash
The Tiger Track and Field has never been know for their sprinting, but with experience and talent coming back, this could be a big year for the Tiger Sprinters.
Senior Taijon Smith will lead the Tiger Track and Field team in 100 meter dash. He failed to make State last season, as he finished 5th at Region. He is the 3rd best returning 100 meter sprinter in the Region this season, so he could make some noise and possibly make it to Lexington.
In the 200, Juniors Colin O’Daniel and Joe Butler are two of the best St. X has to offer, and they would be the most likely representatives in this event. O’Daniel will most likely not run in the 200 this year at Region and State, as he will probably run in the 400, 4 x 400 and 4 x 200 meter relay along with jumping in the High Jump. So, that probably leaves Butler as the only likely candidate to run in the 200 this year at Region. There is always the possibility that they will just not put anyone in the event, however, like they did last year.
O’Daniel is coming off a very impressive sophomore campaign. After finishing 4th at Region, he shocked the Kentucky High School Track world with a 5th place showing at State. Now, as a Junior, O’Daniel will no longer be looked over. He will be one of the favorites for a podium finish this year.
“I am very excited for the 400 this season,” said O’Daniel. “With my experiences last year I know how to properly train for it and know what it will take to run the best I can. I think with my hard work I can take #1. Also my goal is to drop a second from my PR and get the  record at St. X.”
Who could surprise people this year, though?
“Sophomore Ricky Garr could be a good 100 runner this year,” said O’Daniel. “Max Masterson for the 200. [Jonathon] Coats also for both 100 and 200. Patrick Ritter has also improved greatly on his 400 and is one of our top competitors.”
Next up: Distance
Part two in a 5 part series previewing the 2015 St. Xavier Track and Field Tigers: Field Events
WHERE DID THEY FINISH LAST YEAR?
Discus – Jake Glass (7th)
High Jump – Colin O’Daniel (20th)
Long Jump – Blake Isaacs (4th)
Pole Vault – David Flynn (13th)
Shot Put – Jake Glass (2nd), Stephen Gray (7th)
Triple Jump – Lucas Miller (5th at Region)
Discus – Jake Glass (SR), Michael Richards (SR)
High Jump – Colin O’Daniel (JR)
Long Jump – Max Masterson (SO)
Shot Put – Jake Glass (SR)
Triple Jump – James Bryant (SO)
Senior Jake Glass will lead the field events this season, as he finished 7th in Discus and 2nd in the Shot Put last spring at state. If the Tiger Track and Field team wins their first state title since 2003 this year, Glass will be a huge reason why. With a couple of seniors from other schools graduating and moving on from high school discus, Glass has a huge opportunity to improve on that 7th place finish last season.
“It was a long offseason, and I’ve already done what it takes to be competing for the gold medal,” Glass said. “Once my competition rhythm is back, the tape will tell the story.”
Last year in the High Jump, Colin O’Daniel finished 20th at the State meet. This year, he will be in contention for a top 8 spot and the ability to score for the team.
“I would say I need to work on my form for one thing,” said O’Daniel. “Also, I need to work on saving my legs. My legs were worn out and I had shin splints during state last year. This year I’ll work on stretching them more. We also have a new high jump coach, and I’m sure he will help me improve.”
In the Long Jump, the Tigers lose Blake Isaacs to graduation, but they return sophomore Max Masterson. Masterson finished 11th in the Region as a freshman last season, and he could make some noise this season. He could be a dark horse to make state this season. There are a lot of young horses in the Long Jump around the Commonwealth of Kentucky, so it will be difficult. He was the 2nd best freshman in Kentucky in the event last year, so expect to hear even more about Masterson in the coming years.
The pole vaulters on St. X lack major experience, as no one on the roster has vaulted at state. This will be an event to watch throughout the season, as it will be interesting to see who steps up and takes the roster spot for Regionals.
Triple Jump will have one member coming back form the Region team last year. Sophomore James Bryant will be vying for a spot in State and an opportunity to score points, a chance St. X did not have in last season’s State Meet.
Glass will also participate in the Shot Put this season. He is coming off a runner-up finish last season in the event, and it will be a great matchup between him and Landon Young of Lafayette, last year’s state champion. It will most likely come down to those two, and if Glass could become an individual champion in the event, those two extra points could go a long way in the team standings.
“I’ve put in just as much, if not more, time than any athlete in this state, and now I’m walking into this season as a different entity,” Glass explained. “I’m stronger, faster and I don’t think anyone in the state can beat me.”
Next up: Hurdles
Part one in a 5 part series previewing the 2015 St. Xavier Track and Field Tigers: Relay Teams
4 x 100 m
4 x 200 m
4 x 400 m
4 x 800 m
WHERE DID THEY FINISH LAST YEAR?
4 x 100 m Relay Team – Finished 5th in Region 3A
4 x 200 m Relay Team – Finished 9th in State
4 x 400 m Relay Team – Finished 7th in State
4 x 800 m Relay Team – Finished 3rd in State
Josh Russell – 4 x 100 m, 4 x 200 m
JR Johnson – 4 x 100 m
Taijon Smith – 4 x 100 m
Colin O’Daniel – 4 x 200 m, 4 x 400 m
Joe Butler – 4 x 200 m
Patrick Ritter – 4 x 200 m, 4 x 400 m
Eli George – 4 x 400 m
William Mulloy – 4 x 400 m
Ben Kleine-Kracht – 4 x 800 m
Last year was a good year for the relay teams, but this year they have a chance to be great.
The 4 x 100 m relay team had a very difficult end to their season last year. A dropped handoff led to 5th place at Region and no trip to Lexington for State. They have a great chance to redeem themselves this year, though. They will be led by three seniors in Josh Russell, J.R. Johnson and TaiJon Smith. They have the memory of failure from last year and will be looking for that trip to Lexington this year.
The 4 x 200 m relay team was oh so close to finishing top 8 last year and scoring at State, 0.42 seconds to be exact. Like the 4 x 100 relay team, the 4 x 200 has great experience coming back. All four from last year’s 9th place relay team are back this season. Russell, the lone senior on this team, will lead the charge along with juniors Colin O’Daniel, Patrick Ritter and Joe Butler.
“It all comes down to the starts and handoffs,” said O’Daniel. “If we don’t get a good start off of the blocks, it is hard to make up for lost time there. Also, having quick and smooth handoffs are key to a fast 4 x 200, and we didn’t execute that well last year.”
The 4 x 400 m relay team is also returning all four members of last year’s team. Seniors William Mulloy and Eli George, along with Ritter and O’Daniel, will look to improve on last year’s 7th place finish at State.
“I hope to pick up where we left off and improve from there,” said O’Daniel. “We have all put in lots of hard work during the pre-season, and I’m sure all we can do is get better from there.”
“We have a lot of talent between Colin, Ritter and Eli,” said Mulloy. “If we can find the right day and order, I think the school record is just there waiting to be broken.”
The 4 x 800 team had the most success last season, as they finished 3rd at State. Senior Ben Kleine-Kracht is the only member of last year’s State relay team to return to the team this Spring. Look for George, senior Tyler Just and junior Matthew Thomas.
What does the 4 x 800 team need to do to reach that level of excellence?
“Commitment,” said Kleine-Kracht. “We have to stay committed, stay healthy and work hard like we always do and success will come with it. Matthew Thomas and Eli George have always been great at the 800, but they were needed in other events last year so look out for them. Also, watch out for Just, who is new to this level of competition in the 800, to step up and surprise some people.”
“We have the talent for [a state championship],” said George. “It’s going to take dedication. Not only going to practice but also in appetite and keeping ourselves healthy. Last year’s team wasn’t as good as it could have been. Injuries and illness came up before state that kept key runners out of the 4 x 800. Matthew Thomas is one of those key runners who has been injury free lately. I also hope to see a big step up from senior Tyler Just as well.”
Next up: Field Events
It wasn’t easy at all, but Saint Xavier got it done once again. They haven’t always looked sharp; there have been many mistakes. But there have been very bright high points as well, and the Tigers keep finding a way to stay alive.
St. X defeated Manual for the second time this season, 12-7, in the second round of the 2014 Class 6A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl. This time, however, Tiger Football earned a victory with one of the oddest plays anyone will ever see.
With the Crimsons holding a 7-6 lead as the second half began, St. X signal caller Noah Houk threw his second interception of the game. It looked like Manual defensive back Antonio Hassell had some running room, but junior St. X receiver Colin O’Daniel was covering ground quickly.
“I just knew when he got the ball that the play wasn’t over,” O’Daniel explained. “I saw he wasn’t holding it right, and I went after it and ripped it.”
O’Daniel forced a fumble, and sophomore phenom Blake Roshkowski picked up the loose ball and scampered 50 yards for a touchdown that completely changed the complexion of the game.
Houk couldn’t get a two-point conversion, but the Tiger defense didn’t need it.
The game started perfectly for St. X, who started the game on defense. On the first play from scrimmage, senior Tiger defensive end Will Edwards forced a fumble and recovered it.
St. X started its first offensive possession in the redzone, but could muster only a 29-yard field goal from Michael “Big Foot” Bennett. Bennett would hit another field goal before halftime to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Crimsons.
“[Manual] isn’t scoring in the second half,” sophomore St. X manager Patrick Wantland said at halftime.
He knows his guys well.
Saint Xavier’s defense flexed its muscles when it mattered most, as they have many times before. The Tigers snared three interceptions in the second half, and they were all at the most opportune times.
Jackie Arnold got his sixth pick of the year, Tyler Boarman stopped a redzone drive by Manual with a leaping grab, and Logan Butler sealed the game with an interception with just over a minute to go in the game.
“We just started reading their quarterback more,” Butler explained. “We knew if we just came off a few times, he would make mistakes.”
Houk repeatedly gashed the Crimsons with his legs, rushing for 96 yards on just nine carries. His effort was especially important because St. X was without two of its top running backs. John Martinez missed the game with a finger injury, and TaiJon Smith injured his quadriceps on his second carry of the game and did not return.
Now, St. X is faced with a second meeting with archrival Trinity. Game time is set for 7:30 PM next Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
We will have much more coverage this coming week, so stay logged on, Tiger Nation.
Go Tigers! We Are!