Mentor’s Billy Dennison dials in for postseason with pacey mile win, two-mile runner-up at GCC track and field – News-Herald


BRUNSWICK — Billy Dennison has never met a distance duel he didn’t like.

May 10 during the Greater Cleveland Conference meet at Brunswick, the Mentor junior not only found the ideal duels that will aid his cause on the postseason road.

He found an adversary who couldn’t have been more helpful in preparing him for what’s looming — prevailing in one duel and nearly edging the other.

Dennison captured the 1,600-meter in one of the Ohio’s most formidable conference meets and was second in 3,200 in two outstanding duels with Medina’s Jake Sebaugh.

His 1,600 was a tone setter as the road to Dayton beckons, hitting the line in a News-Herald coverage area best time of 4 minutes, 19.54 seconds. That surpassed what was the top time for nearly 24 hours, Chardon stalwart Taman Chokshi’s 4:20.15 to prevail in a deep Western Reserve Conference meet field.

Dennison was clinical in executing his last 250, holding off just a bit with his backstretch attack before going for it wide and reeling in gold.

“At 250, I know the wind is really bad back there, so I knew I just had to fight through the wind,” Dennison said. “I knew (Sebaugh) didn’t have a crazy amount in the wind, so I thought that was the best time to take him because taking people on the turn is too hard, and I know he’s pretty tall. So the last 100 would have been bad. So I kind of just went with everything I had. I kind of let up a little with 50 to go, but I put enough on him that I could secure the win.

“(Learning how and when to pick spots is) definitely a lot of experience. I wanted to take him with 600 to go, but I thought I might as well sit right behind him for a little longer. Because I know he has a really good . It also helps when I know who I’m against. I’ve been against him since I was a freshman. He’s awesome.”

In 3,200, a pack of four at the mile mark eventually turned into another Dennison-Sebaugh clash, and did it ever deliver. An attempt at another backstretch charge didn’t quite materialize like 1,600, with Sebaugh doing well to fend off the challenge as Dennison recorded a 9:31.59 to Sebaugh’s 9:30.89.

“There, it was kind of we were both pretty tired,” Dennison said. “So we took it out slow. I kind of sat right on him in the mile, so might as well take the two-mile and help him out a little bit. Me and (Sebaugh), we kind of just ran that together and gave everything we had that last 800. It was a grind. It was tough. But we ended up closing in, I think a 63, which is way faster than I’ve ever closed a two-mile before.”

The timing of the GCC Day 2, on the Friday before district, and the distance caliber that typically takes part in the meet is vital for Dennison and his contemporaries, a key he doesn’t take for granted.

“Oh, it’s so helpful,” Dennison said. “It’s right before district. It’s toward the end of the meet, when we’re finally shaping up the legs and getting to move faster. And the fact that it’s been one of the better conferences in the state for the past couple of years is awesome. Because you’re always going to get a fast race, no matter what you .”

On the girls side, Kylie Coleman was in peak form as she dialed in on her own postseason aspirations. The Mentor multi-event staple won 200 with a 25.70, was third in a tight 100 final in 12.37 and second in long jump with a coverage area-best 17-9 1/2.

Coleman got her high-17 on her second jump in prelims, and what was right up there as far as encouragement was a string of 17s through the competition, including a pair if 17-3s in the final round.

“So the past couple months, my jumps haven’t been where they usually are because I’m having some shin issues,” Coleman said. “I’ve been finally getting back to it in the past couple weeks. I’ve finally been feeling myself, especially with long jumping. And that one just felt amazing. I got up. I got out. It felt great.”

Her 100 was impressive in its closing power, with a 12.37 that dropped two-tenths off her previous regular-season PR and is the fourth-fastest time in The News-Herald coverage area this spring. With better out of drive phase, Coleman likely could have been deeper in the 12s in a strong heat with Medina’s Brooke Diello (12.22) and Marcie Patilla (12.24).

In the field, Mentor’s Addison Lyles captured the GCC pole vault crown, clearing 10-3.

Lyles had the coverage area’s top pole vault this spring at 10-9 coming into competition May 10 and has been more consistently in the 10s in after reaching 10-0 in the regular season as a junior in 2023.

“Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good,” Lyles said. “It’s been a little bit of an up-and-down season, but I’m ready for postseason to start.

“I feel like the more practice I have, the more resting I have, too, helps a lot. And I’ve just got to get my confidence back. … down the runway (on the 10-9 earlier in the season), it was just like any other vault in my brain. Then after I cleared it, and I knew I cleared it, I was really excited. Because I know I was working hard for it.”

Other News-Herald coverage area individual-event top threes at GCC Day 2 were Mentor’s Melody Garrett (first, discus), Jaden Russell (second, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles), Matthew Penkowski (third, 1,600) and Aiden Shiels (second, 800) and Euclid’s Amiyah Moore (third, 100 hurdles), Tamra Houston (first, 400), Malik Hogan (third, 800) and boys 4×400 (second).





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