Junior Cole Stark and senior Hayden Althauser joined five Golden Eagle teammates in sharing the spotlight at the annual Big Walnut Boys Track Awards Banquet held on May 27 in the high school auditorium.
Stark, who placed 10th in the long jump at the Division I OHSAA State Meet and won four events in the the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division Championship Meet, was the recipient of the team’s High Point Award. Althauser was presented with the coveted Golden Eagle Award which recognizes both academic and athletic achievements for a senior with a 3.0 Grade Point Average and is based on 40 percent character, 30 percent scholarship and 30 percent athletic ability. The awards were presented by Golden Eagle head coach Eric Myers.
Stark, who qualified to the State with a third-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 1 inch at the Division I Central District meet at Hilliard Darby and a distance of 21-3 at the Division I Regionals at Pickerington North High School, jumped 21-7 1/4 in his first-ever appearance in the State held in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at The Ohio State University.
Joining Stark and Althauser on stage as special awards recipients were junior Alec Evans, who received the Most Improved Award; freshman Matt Halbaken, the Rookie of the Year Award; senior Austin Thomas, the Coaches Award; junior Joe Muench, the Leadership Award; and sophomore Isaac Lucas, who received the Flying Eagle Award.
The highlight of the season for Big Walnut’s 59-man was the Golden Eagles’ second-place finish squad behind New Albany in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division Championships. NA’s Eagles won the conference title with 162.50 points with the Golden Eagles closing second with 134 points. Franklin Heights followed in third with 114 with Delaware County rivals Olentangy Orange (66), Delaware Hayes (57.50) and Olentangy (52) taking spots three through six. Mount Vernon (46) and Worthington Kilbourne (27) rounded out the final standings.
Posting top three finishes for Big Walnut at the OCCs were Stark with firsts in the long jump (21-9), high jump (6-1), 110-meter hurdles (0:15.66 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (0:41.31); Muench first in the 400-meter dash (0:51.52); Austin Crow second in the shot put (49-5); Lucas second in the long jump (21-7); Jon Kahrmann, Michael Buckles, Logan Perry and Muench second in the 4x800-meter relay (8 minutes, 30.05 seconds); Zach MacDonald, Buckles, Tyler Martin and Muench in the 4x400 relay (3:33.10); and Michael Takatch third in the pole vault (12-8).
Myers awarded 31 varsity letters led by Perry who was the recipient of his fourth varsity letter in track. Three-year letter winners were seniors Kaden Thompson and Austin Thomas along with juniors Robert Bogantz, Christian Johnson, Kahrmann, Martin and Stark; second-year letter recipients included seniors John Lankford, Benjamin Muench and Takatch; juniors Jared Boseker, Joseph Mazzi, Joe Muench, Anthony Pavuk, Adrian Thomas, Jacob Thompson and Buckles; and sophomores Matthew Brockway; and first-year letter winners included seniors Jack Brown, Tanner Conaway, Althauser, Austin Hale, Joel Windle and Crow; freshmen Bradyn Anderson, Noah McKinney, Halbakken and MacDonald along with Evans and Lucas.
Senior Plaque recipients were Crow, Hale, Perry, Thompson, Windle and Austin Thomas.
Four senior members of the squad, including Crow, Perry, Windle and Austin Thomas, also earned their Senior blankets.
Junior varsity awards were presented to juniors Mitchell Fitzsimmons, Jacob Pickrell and Benjamin Wright as well as to sophomores Larry D’Amico, Dalton Edwards and Ethan Hale. Twenty-two freshmen, including William Bell, Terrell Bohanan, Samuel Boyd, Dominic Chumley, Harrison George, Ilya Geraci, Garrett Gollihugh, Christopher Hale, Joshua Jerome, Joshua Kent, Kaleb Kocak, Michael LaMonda, Matthew McFarling, Ethan Pecci, Zachary Pruyn, Tyler Ronk, Jonathan Schnipke, Sandy Smith, Seth Vogel, Parker Wooton, Mason Wright and Sean Zabarsky, were awarded their freshman numerals as well as their JV awards.
Twenty-four members of the boys’ track and field squad, led by Kaden Thompson who was recognized as both an OCC Scholar Athlete (Senior, 3.50 Grade Point Average) and a Big Walnut Scholar Athlete (Varsity Letter, 3.20 Grade Point Average) were honored for academic achievements. Joining Thompson as a Big Walnut Scholar Athlete were Althauser, Bogantz, Brown, Buckles, Conaway, Evans, Halbakken, Austin Hale, Johnson, Lankford, MacDonald, McKinney, Martin, Mazzi, Benjamin Muench, Joe Muench, Pavuk, Perry, Stark, Adrian Thomas, Jacob Thompson and Windle.
Myers was assisted in the awards presentations by assistant coaches Don “Red” Edwards, Joe Weaver, Mike Ryder and Melissa Pecci.