B.J. Mayer is an equal opportunity boys' track and field coach, especially when it comes to his very talented 4x100 relay team.
Whether the Marietta High boss intended to or not, all four classes are represented on the relay, which will be running in the East Central Ohio League Championship meet at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Don Drumm Stadium.
When the fast foursome last competed at Don Drumm, they covered the distance in 45.02 seconds at the Noon Lions Invitational on May 3. That clocking was good for a first-place finish.
Leading off for the Tigers at the ECOL will be sophomore Bernard Johnson. At 180 pounds, this student-athlete can fly.
"At 180 pounds, he's big and he can run," Mayer said. "That's why he's first. He gets us started."
An all-around athlete, Johnson also competes in the 100, long jump, and is a leg on the 4x200 relay. He's also a member of the school's record-setting long jump relay team, which also includes Aaron Elliott and Quinton Coffield.
"Bernard didn't run for me as a freshman last year," Mayer said. "I'm expecting big things out of him in the future."
Elliott didn't run either, because he was an eighth grader. Now a freshman, he's become one of the top scorers on the team. At Noon Lions, he posted 24.5 of the Tigers' 84 overall team points with a first-place finish in the long jump (20 feet, 1.25 inches), a runner-up in the high jump (6-2), and a fifth place (11.53) in the 100. He was leg of the winning 4x100 relay team.
"He's such a great athlete, and only a freshman," Mayer said.
After Elliott gets his handoff from Johnson, he'll do his thing, and then give the baton to third leg Austin Jones, a junior.
Last year, Jones was injured.
"He's finally healthy," Mayer said.
With Jones competing, it's been a boon for the MHS boys' track and field team. He also runs the 100, 200, and is pretty much a team player all the way.
Then, there's the "old man" of the fast foursome - Quinton Coffield, the anchor of the 4x1. A senior, the 5-foot-6, 145-pounder is the team leader.
"Quinton has so much heart and desire," Mayer said.
"Plus, he's a heckuva athlete."
Coffield can pretty much do it all in track and field - 100, 200, 400, long jump, 4x1, 4x2, sprint medley.
When Coffield was a sophomore, he was a leg on the school record-setting 4x1 and 4x2 teams. Also on the 4x1 then were Mitchel Gearhart, Dustin Baker, and Eli Parmiter. Their time was 44.58.
On the 4x2, the other members were Matt Roberts, Baker, and Parmiter. Their time was 1:31.87.
As it looks now, Coffield may be running track and playing football in college after he graduates from Marietta High.
If any of the fast foursome needs a breather, Mayer has the perfect "sub" to replace him in junior Garrett Davis.
"Garrett is a jack-of-all-trades on this team," the Marietta boys coach said. "He'll do anything for me. He can run on any of the relay teams, and he's even thrown the shot and discus, and done the pole vault."
So, there you go...if you get a chance, check out this 4x1 team on Friday. And, don't blink, because they - this freshman, sophomore, junior and senior - are a blur on the track.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org