DEFIANCE — Joshuah Taylor has been putting up impressive times early in the 2021 track and field season.
The Bryan junior standout added a record-breaking one on Saturday.
Taylor set a meet record in winning the 3,200-meter run and picked up a victory in the 1,600 in leading the Golden Bears’ boys team to fourth at the loaded Diller Invitational at Ayersville High School.
“Josh had a really solid day. Just missed a PR in the 1,600 and then obviously set a PR in the 3,200 and meet record,” Bryan boys track coach Ken Ciolek said. “Just with the amount of volume that this meet has, it was good conditions for him to get a good time, even though he was running by himself for essentially the entire portion of the race.
“He’s been kind of just clicking the entire season, every week, just getting a little bit better. It’s going to be exciting to kind of see what he’ll be able to do when he gets to run against some of that (strong) competition that he’ll see at the district and regional meets.”
Bryan’s boys team finished with 60 points. Columbus Grove (first with 140.33) and Minster (second with 128.33) finished well ahead in the 20-team field, while Archbold was third with 65. Stryker and North Central’s boys teams also competed but did not score points.
The Golden Bears’ girls team finished ninth with 27, while Stryker was 12th with 13. North Central also competed but did not record any points.
Liberty Center (124) edged Minster (113) for the girls team title.
Taylor tallied two of Bryan’s three victories as senior Owen Potvin added a win in the 200-meter dash.
Taylor finished first in the 3,200 with a 9:43.90, which broke the record of Ayersville’s Noah Fisher set in 2018 (9:44.34). Taylor’s fastest lap was his eighth and final one, which was clocked at 1:06.50.
“Josh has always had pretty good closing speed, and you can see that especially even during cross country and being able to close in the last mile,” Ciolek said of Taylor, who was a Division II all-Ohioan in cross country in the fall. “But with track, you could chase down a lot more. He’s definitely got a lot more to give and that’s where if he gets a chance to really go out and set a pace for somebody early on, that’s where you’re going to see an even faster last mile.
“It’s a good building progression, coach (Garret) Gleckler has got him really kind of dialed in right now. As long as he continues to follow that regimen and we get to see some nice weather, hopefully we’ll be able to see some even faster times coming towards later spring.”
Taylor nearly set a personal best in the 1,600 in winning in 4:28.40. He teamed up with Potvin, Decota Shaw and Lucas Will to finish sixth in the 1,600 relay in 3:45.20.
Potvin’s solid day included a victory in the 200 in 23.01. He joined Shaw, Caleb Kepler and Korbin Shepherd in finishing fourth in the 800 relay in 1:36.62.
“As the meet progressed, the weather kind of got a little bit worse. Early on in prelims, we actually had ideal weather,” Ciolek said. “It was a little colder, but no wind at all. But then the minute finals came along, they started running into a head wind.
“So (Potvin’s) 200 time in the finals was actually going into a pretty solid head wind and still was able to run a pretty solid time against a lot more competition than what we’ve seen in the past so far.”
Shaw finished second in the 400 in 51.89, while Kepler placed third in the 100 in 12.03.
Andrew Cogswell led the Golden Bears in the field events with a fourth-place finish in the long jump (18-11). Thomas Snyder placed sixth in the discus (124-7).
Ciolek said he was encouraged by Bryan’s performance considering several of their top athletes did not compete.
“While resting a lot of kids, we were only (five) points out of third place in this meet. Once we get back to full health and adding in someone like Quinn (Brown), who’s in baseball now but will be with us at conference championships, he’s another add to the relays and the open events that will definitely add a lot of depth and strength to our team,” Ciolek said. “So we’re building in the right directions, we’re starting to see a lot of good things and each of these meets, you can just kind of see that progression build and you can see confidence grow.”
Bryan’s girls had six top-eight finishes. Rachel Fireovid was third in the long jump (15-1.50), seventh in the 100 hurdles (18.28) and teamed up with Allie Zimmerman, Montesa Vollmar and Haylee Wheeler to finish eighth in the 800 relay in 1:55.67.
Aquilina Cordic finished second in the 300 hurdles in 48.33, Wheeler was fourth in the long jump with a 15-0 and Lexi Alspaugh placed fourth in the shot put with a 34-10.5 for the Golden Bears.
Stryker’s girls team also posted several strong finishes. The Panthers’ 400 relay team of Kinsey Myers, Kaila Patterson, Brianna Breier and Sage Woolace finished fifth in 54.42.
Woolace was fourth in the 100 in 13.77, while Breier’s leap of 14-11.5 was good for fifth in the long jump.
Jakob Gaskill led Stryker’s boys team with a 12th-place finish in the discus (118-7).
For North Central, Cameron Laney (11th in 300 hurdles in 46.70) and Joey Burt (tied 12th in high jump with a 5-4) led the boys team. Mireya Cruz (17th in 1,600 in 6:13.56) and Katelyn Balser (19th in 400 in 1:14.82) fronted the girls squad.