Track and Field prepares for upcoming GLIAC championship


The Pioneer track and field team will be participating in its first ever GLIAC outdoor championship next week at Ashland University.

After competing in its first indoor conference championship this past winter, Pioneer track and field coaches and athletes are ready for the outdoor championship and hope to surprise its competitors in a stretch of events.

Junior sprinter Lepear Smith (right) hands the baton off to sophomore sprinter Malik Felton in the men’s 4x100m relay at the Stark County Championships. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

From the quick 100m dash to the long 25-lap 10k race, Pioneers will line up on the track next week with confidence and determination.

“Our sprinters on the men’s side are looking very impressive entering the GLIAC championship,” head coach Mark McClure said.  “The 4x100m relay team (junior Lepear Smith, sophomore Malik Felton, sophomore Jason Keniston, and senior Johnnie Legrair) broke the school record a couple weekends ago that has been up since 1999.”

Legrair and Smith will have a handful in the meet as both will be competing in numerous events. Legrair will be competing in the 100m, 110m hurdles and 4x100m relay.

Along with his numerous sprinting events, Legrair will also practice in field events such as long jump.  Smith will be in 100m, 110m hurdles, and 4x100m relay.

“Practice has been going great for the team and we are looking forward to this meet,” Smith said. “Especially for me because I have had success the last few meets with personal records in all my events.”

On the women’s side, the sprinters are stronger than ever with Pioneer’s fast duo freshmen Karli Oprian and Crystal Barber.

“The women are also looking strong,” McClure said. “Karli Oprian tied the school record two weekends ago and Crystal Barber also had a respectable day with a time that placed her third all time in the schools 100m.”

Along with the sprinters, the distance runners are also looking to make an impact on the team’s performance next week.

“I feel everyone is ready to go next weekend,” head distance coach Jack Hazen said.  “Everyone has been improving all year.  We are hoping that Mitch Williams, Nick Fresenko, Tony Migliozzi and Andrew Trusty will score in their events on the men’s side. Matt Hendrix is another guy who has a great chance at scoring in the 800m as well next week.”

Freshman Karli Oprian races alongside opponents in the 100-meter dash. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

The women’s distance team is just as strong as the men’s distance team.

Tina Oprean has a very good chance to score as well as Madison Schuler,” Hazen said. “But there are a lot of people on the bubble that have a good chance to score if they run their best race of the season.”

“Placing at the outdoor meet is going to be incredibly tough as we saw from indoor,” Smith said.   “There are only a few spots and a lot of great talent aiming for them. Our athletes at Malone are very strong spring runners so we’ll just have to wait and see how everything plays out.”

“Finishing the season placing whether it’s me or a teammate will be a great way to finish,” Smith said.

The 2013 GlIAC outdoor track and field championship will take place next week from Wednesday, May 1 to Friday, May 3 at Ashland University.

 Justin Davis is a sports writer for The Aviso AVW.

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