Local Sports, Sports

Clay-Battelle hosts county meet to open 2022 track season

BLACKSVILLE – It didn’t take long for this track and field season in Monongalia County to see records be broken as Clay-Battelle welcomed Morgantown and University to open each teams’ seasons.

MHS senior Lucas Howell set a personal best and school record on the pole vault at 14 feet, seven inches. This clears the previous record of 14-1 by half a foot. Howell is a four-year member of the team who picked up pole vaulting early on as a freshman, saying even though it was early in his high school career, he knew then that pole vaulting would be something he could focus on being the best at.

“I actually started lifting for track and met coach Cork who kind of recruited me for it and every since then it just happened naturally for me,” said Howell of his introduction to the event.

Pole vaulting isn’t the only thing he participates in for MHS, but for Howell, vaulting is the event he knows he can excel in.

“I’ve run a few other events, like the 200 (200-meter dash) which I am decent at, but I hold all my eggs in the pole vaulting basket,” he said confidently.

As any senior would wish, Howell is hopeful for a “good, fun, productive senior year”, one where he can improve overall in all of his events.

“I’m looking for improvement in all my events but I think I will see the most improvement in this one for sure.”

Improvement for Howell would mean moving closer to the state title, as he previously finished fourth in the state just a season ago.

MHS head coach Steve Bilinco agrees with his senior and knows his individual accomplishment at CBHS on Tuesday is a good sign for things to come this season for his team overall.

“We have a lot of potential on the field events, not only on the pole vault, but on the long jump also and we have a huge amount of potential in our throwers as well,” Bilinco said of his season-ahead. “It looks like Mon County turning into a throwing county and hopefully we can be all three (throwing, sprinting, distance) one day.”