Tigers roar to their first district title

By Theo Tate
Posted 5/12/23

Six weeks ago, Jacob Mandrell’s senior season with the Wellsville-Middletown boys track team was in jeopardy after he injured his left hamstring in practice.

On May 6, he became part of …

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Tigers roar to their first district title


Six weeks ago, Jacob Mandrell’s senior season with the Wellsville-Middletown boys track team was in jeopardy after he injured his left hamstring in practice.

On May 6, he became part of the first district championship team in school history.

Mandrell helped the Tigers win the Class 1, District 2 championship meet at South Callaway High School by turning in a solid performance, winning the 110-meter hurdles, placing second in the triple jump and helping the 800-meter relay team come in fourth. He will compete in all three events at the Class 2, Sectional 1 championship meet on May 13 at New Haven.

“It’s great coming off an injury, then winning districts,” Mandrell said.

W-M scored 127 points and won the 15-team district meet by 24 points over Vienna. The Tigers qualified a total of nine athletes to the New Haven sectional meet. Besides Mandrell, seniors Dylan Alsop, Lucas Moore, Kaleb Peak and Logan Pursifull and sophomores Jonah Slovensky, Cooper Henderson, Gage Marshall and Hunter Bickell are the Tigers’ other sectional qualifiers in the boys division.

Mandrell said he hopes all of the athletes will qualify for the Class 1 state meet on May 19-20 at Jefferson City.

“It will be amazing because we have a really strong boys team that just won districts,” Mandrell said. “We had almost everyone making it out. Hopefully, we can perform the same, if not better, at sectionals and get a big team going to state.”

Also, junior Bethany Slovensky qualified for sectionals in three events for the W-M girls team. She won the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles and placed second in the long jump.

By winning the district championship, the W-M boys earned their second straight district trophy. Last year, the Tigers finished second at the district meet in Glasgow.

W-M won this year’s district meet by 24 points over Vienna. The Tigers had first-place finishes in five events.

“To be able to do this is a career milestone and a capstone for these seniors who have been able to be involved in so many great things,” W-M coach John Slovensky said. “We had fantastic performances. They knew that they had an opportunity to do something good and something well. They seized that opportunity.”

In addition to Mandrell’s win in the triple jump, the Tigers also had wins from Marshall (high jump), Pursifull (shot put), the 3,200-meter relay team of Marshall, Peak, Bickell and Jonah Slovensky and the 400-meter relay team of Slovensky, Alsop, Moore and Peak.

Marshall said he was happy to win his first district championships. Last year, he came up one place short of qualifying for sectionals in the high jump, finishing fourth.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s quite the feeling. I worked hard all season and I’m so glad that I could see the results. The thing I like about track is I can really see the results at the end of the year.”

Mandrell won the district title in the 110-meter hurdles for the second year in a row, finishing with a time of 18.42 seconds. Mandrell jumped a 38-7.5 in the triple jump and helped the 4x200 – which included Jonah Slovensky, Moore, Peak and Alsop – ran a 1:42.79.

A year ago, Mandrell won district titles in the 110-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump to qualify for sectionals for the second time.

Mandrell said he was glad to make another trip to sectionals with four of his senior teammates.

“We have a lot of strong seniors this year,” Mandrell said. “It’s amazing how we all step up after losing seniors from last year. Those were big shoes to fill and we ended up filling them.”

Mandrell injured his hamstring a day before the Tigers started their season on March 21 at the Montgomery County Invite. He competed in just five meets, including the district meet.

“It’s such a shame, especially for Jacob because he had all of these plans coming into the season,” John Slovensky said. “He hurt it the day before the first meet, so he had to sit out the meet. We gradually got it back into things. It was a very long process. It’s also been scary for him.”

Mandrell will continue his track career at William Woods University next year. He signed a letter of intent in March.

“It’s very exciting,” Mandrell said. “I know I never thought I would be like a big college athlete guy. It was weird with a mix of emotions, but I’m super excited for it because now I can keep practicing every day and see how good I can get.”

Also at districts, the Tigers had second-place finishes from Bickell (3,200), Henderson (110-meter hurdles) and the 1,600-meter relay team of Bickell, Alsop, Marshall and Moore and fourth-place finishes from Marshall (300-meter hurdles) and Bickell (1,600).

Three W-M seniors wrapped up their high school track careers at districts. They were Kaylee Marshall, Natalie Boeckelman and Molly Scott.


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