High School track and field: ‘Dedicated’ Dunbar chasing 26th straight City League title

Dunbar's Myles Lacking (with baton) and the Wolverines have won 25 straight City League championships. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED
Dunbar's Myles Lacking (with baton) and the Wolverines have won 25 straight City League championships. Greg Billing/CONTRIBUTED

Sidney Booker’s high school boys track teams have won too many district and regional titles to remember in his 34-year coaching career at Dunbar High School, the last 31 as head coach.

He does know this – for the past 25 seasons (excluding the COVID-cancelled 2020 campaign) the Wolverines have won every City League championship. That challenge gets tougher with a smaller team this season.

Normally the Wolverines are about 25 strong. Booker has 13 athletes this year.

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“A lot of kids stayed online with their Zoom classes,” Booker said. “Because of that they didn’t come out for track. A lot of kids did not go back to the classroom. The ones that did are out here.

“We still got a hard-working team. We don’t have a lot of experience but they’re hard-working kids. And they’re dedicated. Once you get some dedicated, loyal kids you got a chance.”

Among them is captain Myles Lacking. The sprint standout was ready for a breakout season in 2020. A year later he’s ready to lead Dunbar to another City League title, and maybe even a state title. Dunbar has 10 of those, too, the last coming in 2017.

“I felt last year was definitely a year we could have won state outdoor,” Lacking said. “My junior year would have been my first year running meaningful races. I was definitely looking forward to it. It sucks we couldn’t run but this year we can get our redemption.

“We expect a state title every year. That’s the expectation of running at Dunbar High School and I’m willing to live up to that.”

Lacking is joined by, among others, Joshua Williams, JaQuan Lusbrough, Brandon Wright, KeShawn Harrison, Jacari Morris and Antonio Thompson. The Wolverines opened their season at the Springfield Shawnee Relays on Saturday. Dunbar finished fourth overall, winning five of the eight events they entered.

In normal seasons Booker prefers challenging his Wolverines with bigger meets against the state’s top Division II teams. But with a smaller and less experienced group he preferred to ease into this season.

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“I have a lot of first-year guys. Ordinarily I wouldn’t come to local meets much,” Booker said. “I try to go to where the best Division II teams are, regardless of where they are. I scaled down our schedule a little bit so our younger guys will get the right kind of experience. Hopefully they’ll have some success.”

Overall, Dunbar has won 10 outdoor state titles (seven under Booker) with seven runner-up finishes. The Wolverines have eight indoor titles with one runner-up finish. Lacking thinks the Wolverines will be in the running for another state title, even with those smaller numbers.

“That’s fine with us. We’re all we’ve got and we’re all we need,” Lacking said.

“Book is definitely an influence on a lot of kids. It’s a great help to have him around. … (He tells us to) stay humble. I know coming in sophomore year I wasn’t thinking I was going to run open races at state. But now I’m running open races. Just stay humble and wait for your time. Hard work is definitely going to pay off.”

Dunbar competes in the Edwin C. Moses Relays at Welcome Stadium on Thursday. It’ll be their first look at fellow City League programs like Belmont, Ponitz, Stivers and Thurgood Marshall, who are also entered.

“Our number one goal is to try and defend our league championship,” Booker said. “Hopefully things will start falling in place after that for our team.”

2019 STATE PLACERS

(Returning athletes)

BOYS

Cameron Stevens, senior, Centerville (3rd, 800 relay)

Jalaquan Lusbrough, senior, Dunbar (1st, 400 relay)

Brandon Wright, senior, Dunbar (1st, 400 relay)

Jason Ward, senior, Chaminade Julienne (3rd, 400 relay)

Kenyon Owens, junior, Chaminade Julienne (3rd, 400 relay)

Colten Gasson, junior, Fort Loramie (4th, 3,200 relay)

Dawson Hildebrand, senior, Newton (5th, shot put)

GIRLS

Juliann Williams, senior, Beavercreek (3rd, 3,200 relay; 7th 1,600 run; 6th, 1,600 relay)

Emma Bucher, senior, Centerville (4th, 1,600 run)

Brennah Hutchinson, senior, Troy (6th, 400 relay)

Hannah Falknor, junior, Troy (6th, 400 relay)

Kiersten Franklin, junior, Troy (6th, 400 relay)

Camilla Nicholas, junior, Piqua (8th; 400)

Abigail Hobbs, senior, Beavercreek (6th, 1,600 relay)

Ashtyn Gluck, senior, Beavercreek (6th, 1,600 relay)

Grace Hartman, junior, Oakwood (1st, 3,200 run; 5th, 3,200 relay; 2nd, 1,600 run)

Jadyn Haywood, junior, Chaminade Julienne (2nd, 800 relay; 1st, 400 relay)

LaTiyah Littlejohn, senior, Dunbar (5th, 1,600 relay; 6th, 800 relay)

TyZhanae Twitty, senior, Dunbar (6th, 800 relay)

Ali Moran, senior, Versailles (7th; 800 relay)

Kate Griesdorn, senior, Versailles (7th, 800 relay)

Lilly Johnson, junior, Valley View (8th; 1,600 relay)

Morgan Grudich, senior, Milton-Union (5th, long jump)

Ella Boate, senior, Minster (2nd, 3,200 relay)

Corynn Heitkamp, senior, Fort Loramie (5th, 3,200 relay)

Claire Rethman, junior, Fort Loramie (5th, 3,200 relay)

Olivia Borchers, junior, Fort Loramie (5th, 3,200 relay)

Anna Detrick, junior, Fort Loramie (5th, 3,200 relay; 6th, 800 relay)

Ella Monnin, junior, Lehman Catholic (5th, 800 relay)

Lindsey Magoteaux, senior, Lehman Catholic (5th, 800 relay)

Jenna Heuker, senior, Minster (5th; 1,600 relay)

Ava Grieshop, junior, Minster (5th; 1,600 relay)

Lynn Schwieterman, junior, Marion Local (7th, 1,600 relay)

Alana Pohlman, junior, Marion Local (7th, 1,600 relay)

Sam Hoelscher, junior, Marion Local (7th, 1,600 relay)

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