Centerville grad wins New Balance decathlon, out of Pan Am U20 running

Centerville junior Yariel Soto won the pole vault in the D-I district track and field meet at Wayne on Wed., May 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Centerville junior Yariel Soto won the pole vault in the D-I district track and field meet at Wayne on Wed., May 16, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The pesky hamstring injury that Centerville High School senior track and field sensation Yariel Soto couldn’t fully shake last spring finally overtook him during the Pan American U20 track and field championships this past weekend.

A favorite to win the decathlon at the San Jose, Costa Rica, meet after getting off to a blazing start, instead the June graduate was a DNF in several of the second-day events and finished seventh. Soto, competing for Puerto Rico, blasted a career-best 10.61 in the 100 meters – the opening event. That time would have won the event in June’s Division I state track meet at Columbus.

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A month ago, Soto set a New Balance Nationals record by amassing 7,509 points to run away with the decathlon title by nearly 1,000 points at the University of North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. Among his best efforts were the 100 (10.89), long jump (24-3.50), 400 (48.55) and pole vault (15-11). According to posted results, that was the No. 2 all-time boys high school decathlon total.

Soto won the D-I state pole vault and long jump as a junior at Centerville. As a senior, he ran on the 800 relay (1:26.86) that placed third at state, was fourth in the long jump (23-6.25) and fourth in the pole vault (15-6).

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Soto will pursue his decathlon career at the University of Tennessee.

• Matt Boling of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston delivered as expected in the Pam Am U20 Games. He swept the 100 meters in a wind-legal 10.11, the 200 (20.31) and anchored a record-setting 400 relay (38.62).

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Like Soto, Boling also ran for the U.S. National Team in the Pan Am Games and graduated from high school this past spring. Boling ran a wind-aided 9.98 in the 100 last April and was clocked in a sizzling 44.74 in his anchor leg of the 1,600 relay at the Texas state meet. Video of both of those races went viral.

Boling signed with Georgia.

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• The Dayton City League Varsity Club will host the Belmont High School Alumni Night at the TASTE Restaurant (2555 Shiloh Springs Road) in Trotwood on Friday.

This is a continuing effort by Varsity Club members to honor past City League athletic greats in all sports.

There will be four awards. The 1964 Class A boys state champion basketball team will be awarded the Ritter Collett Team of Excellence Award. Those bison blew through nine tournament games winning by an average of 22 points.

The Earl Blaik Coaches Award will be awarded to John Ross. He coached that 1964 title team and later started the men’s basketball program at Wright State.

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The John H. Patterson – Outstanding Achievement Award will be awarded to Paul R. Leonard (1961 grad). Leonard had a lengthy political career and was Dayton’s mayor from 1982-86.

Finally, the All-Star Legend Award will go to Bill Hosket Jr. (1964 grad). He and Don May were the go-to players on that ’64 title team. Hosket was an All-American at Ohio State and member of the winning U.S. team in the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City.

The event will be from 7-11 p.m., with the awards program starting at 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For more information call (937) 416-7870 or see the website

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• Former Trotwood-Madison High School standout running back Ra’veion Hargrove has transferred from Bowling Green State University to Garden City Community College in Kansas, where he’ll play football this coming season. He indicated by Twitter he’ll reopen his recruitment after that with three years of eligibility remaining.

Hargrove had limited action as a true freshman with the Falcons last season, seeing action in the backfield and as a kick returner. He led Trotwood to a 15-0 season in 2017, capped by a D-III state championship. His 7,000-plus career rushing yards is an all-time area best.

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• All of the area high school football conferences have upped their starting kickoff times to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights. That includes the Midwest Athletic Conference.

The MAC was the final area holdout, switching from its traditional 7:30 p.m. kickoffs to the earlier start time, beginning this season. That extra 30 minutes means more daylight at games, at least through the first half of the season.

The football preseason begins on Thursday, Aug. 1.

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