By SETH STASKEY
For the News-Register
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Regardless the event, track and field is a speed sport.
St. Clairsville’s Jaylon Brown finished his home career by breezing to three OVAC?Titles.
Homestanding St. Clairsville features the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference's fastest sprinter in senior Jaylon Brown. As you'd expect, that paid ultimate dividends in a meet in which 36 teams cracked the scoring column as the OVAC's five-day track and field championship came to an end Saturday afternoon at Red Devils Stadium.
With Brown pocketing three individual championships and getting plenty of help from his teammates, the Red Devils hoisted their 11th OVAC Class 4A championship trophy, and first time since 2012.
Along with the class title, the Red Devils' 106 points was five better than Cambridge for the overall crown.
The Bobcats snapped Wheeling Park's string of consecutive championships at 10 in the big-school division. Linsly is making room on its wall for its 20th conference championship and fourth consecutive.
In the small-school division, Caldwell won its first boys' title under legandry coach Dugan Hill. The Redskins finished with 39.5 points and held off a strong effort from Shadyside for the crown.
St. Clairsville made a big push for the conference title last Sunday when coach Ben Frye made a decision to enter Brown in the long jump, which is an event he had not competed in since his freshman year.
"Anytime you have an athlete like Jaylon, he makes you look smart," Frye said. "That's athleticism and you can't coach that. He's a natural-born athlete, who has worked hard and deserves all of the accolades he's received."
Brown didn't disappoint as he leaped off the board to a mark of 21-feet, 5-inches to win the title. Adding to the mix for the Red Devils was the fact that freshman Jordan Vincent marked the sand at 20-11 1/2 to finish second.
Brown didn't slow down after the long jump as he headed to the track where he continued to be the area's most dominant sprinter. He notched the 100 title in a time of 10.81, then added his first 200 title in a time of 22.24.
"It's a great feeling to win, especially since it was my last meet at St. Clairsville," Brown said. "Winning the 200 feels especially good since it's the first time I won that at the OVAC. Our goal was to win the team title and we've been working all season to try and get that done, so it's great to win the title again."
While Brown stole the sprinting show, he wasn't alone. The Red Devils had a field day in the field events, scoring multiple placers in each event except the discus.
Seniors Colby Lindsay and Michael Eaton both finished third in their respective field events. Lindsay posted a discus mark of 152-5 and Eaton cleared 12-6 in the pole vault.
For the third consecutive season, the Martins Ferry boys grabbed their class' runner-up plaque.
Martins Ferry remained unblemished in the 400 and 800 relays. The Purple Riders foursome of Jack Fitch, Brian Styles, Andrew Watts and Hunter Hill posted a 44.04 to win the lap relay and a short time earlier ran two laps in 1:31.04 for the title.
The same foursome also finished second in the 1,600 relay, trailing Meadowbrook.
Linsly's boys have long been one of the OVAC's top track and field programs. However, Coach James Cowart's team captured its latest crown by being a little bit more under the radar.
The Cadets didn't win an event, but placed high in a few. Linsly finished with 55.5 points to outdistance runner-up Bellaire by 15 points.
"It was tough," Cowart said. "We had to replace a lot of guys, but our younger guys are talented, which helped out. We knew we qualified well, especially on Wednesday, so we thought we'd have a shot, but we also knew we'd have to take care of our business."
Linsly was led by shot putter Chimechi Oparanozie, who finished second with a mark of 47-8 1/2. Sophomore Matt Hurley finished second overall in the 110 high hurdles in 15.42.
By ending the Park domination, the Bobcats captured their sixth conference title, but first since 2000 with 101 points, which was good for second overall.