October 26, 2014

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Track and field regionals: Athletes one step from qualifying for state

Highland’s Sam Duale, right, hands off to Colleen Hoynes during the finals of the 4x400 relay at the Suburban League Meet. The relay will be competing at the Amherst Division I Regional. (AARON JOSEFCZYK / GAZETTE)

Highland’s Sam Duale, right, hands off to Colleen Hoynes during the finals of the 4×400 relay at the Suburban League Meet. The relay will be competing at the Amherst Division I Regional. (AARON JOSEFCZYK / GAZETTE)

The members of the Wadsworth girls 4×800-meter relay are well aware of what they could accomplish in the next two weeks.

With the second-fastest time in the state, according to milesplit.com, the Grizzlies are looking to not only return to the state meet, but possibly walk away with the top prize in Division I.

None of the members are talking about that just yet, as they prepare for today’s finals at the Youngstown Regional in Austintown.

“It’s always our goal to go out and win the race, and to be in contention to be winning that at state, I don’t want to speak too soon,” senior Sarah Berger said. “We still have (today), and you have to take it race by race, but it would be really cool to bring home a state championship.”

Berger, Courtney Palange, Madi Salem and Leah Runkle won the Nordonia District in 9:81.64, a time that is second to Perrysburg (9:17.97) in the state rankings.

“We watch 4×8 pretty closely because we know that we can have a good relay there,” Berger said. “We’re all getting better. There is still a ton of time to drop, so it’s really exciting.”

Perrysburg will run today at the Amherst Regional and should be pushed by Medina’s Maria Scavuzzo, Tarynn Cullings, Kimmy Vidika and Sarah Pack, who have the fourth-fasted seed time.

Amherst D-I

The girls 4×1 preliminary today should provide a lot of excitement for area fans, as Brunswick, Highland and Medina will vie for a spot in the final Friday night.

The Hornets’ Sarah Carpenter, Sam Duale, Emma Grantier and Colleen Hoynes bettered their school record by clocking a 49.36 at the Lakewood District. The time is the eighth-fastest in the state.

Another Hornet, sophomore Carlee Rhoads, continued her record-breaking performances, resetting the school record in the 3,200 while clocking what is believed to be a Medina County record of 10:51.23. She is one of 14 runners in the state to break 11 minutes this season.

Brunswick freshmen Andre Bollam-Godbott and Rebecca Craddock will look to continue their impressive seasons in the 1,600. Bollam-Godbott also was a member of the 4×8 with Brandon Emert, Tyler Laffin and Justin Swords that won the Amherst District for the first time since 2006. Brunswick has had a boys 4×8 in regionals in 11 of the past 12 years.

Medina’s Pack is just two seconds behind the state’s top time in the 800 after her 2:15.34 at districts, while Maria Scavuzzo advanced in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Cullings (1,600) and Dylan Dombi (800) knocked seconds off their season lows.

Bees thrower Mike Hierholzer improved his shot put distance from 58-2¼ to 61-2¾ at Amherst. This came on the heels of breaking his school record in the discus with a throw of 182-7 at the NOC Meet. His mark in the shot is fourth in the state rankings, while his discus is fifth. Fellow Medina throwers McKenzie Moran (shot) and Carolyn Wilder (discus) had career-best tosses last week.

Brunswick’s Gabby Maslowski and Bailey Lack will be busy, as each advanced to regionals in four events. Along with teaming with each other in the 4×1, 4×2 and 4×4 relays, Maslowski has the area’s best time in the 300 hurdles and Lack secured a spot in today’s 100 prelims. The 4×4 of Maslowski, Lack, Kristine Camper and Amber Neitzel has the second-best seed time.

Medina resident and St. Edward senior Steele Wasik will be in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, high jump and long jump. His season-best times in the 110 hurdles (14.03) and 300 hurdles (37.78) are second in the state.

Youngstown D-I

Wadsworth senior Hunter Williams can easily recall the feeling of walking off the track at Falcon Stadium wondering, “What if?” last season. The experience has driven Williams and he’s going to use that fuel this week in the 100, 200 and 4×2 relay.

“There’s more motivation now,” he said. “I have to make it to states. I learned to stretch before every race and get warmed up a little more. I was tight the last race last year.”

Williams’ 200 time dropped to a season-best 21.88 with his win at Nordonia and is the fastest in the regional. The same goes for his 100 time (10.84). He also is the anchor of Wadsworth’s 4×2 that, with the addition of Ryan Looser, recorded a season-low 1:29.21.

Runkle’s 400 time is just behind Chardon’s Stephanie Ferrante (56.02) and Lake Catholic’s Frances Bull (57.03). Runkle also is the anchor of the Grizzlies’ 4×4 that has the fourth-fastest time in the state with Berger, Palange and Madison Gilger.

Cloverleaf’s Ashley Murray is at regionals for the second straight year and has the second-fastest seed time in the 3,200. The senior is on a mission after battling mononucleosis, bronchitis and a case of runner’s knee this offseason.

“I think it helped me realize what I want to do,” Murray said of the setbacks. “I really want to run because I was honestly getting burnt out and this reminded me how much I really love this.”

Wadsworth senior Nick Winkler dropped his 800 time to 1:57.04, which puts him in the thick of things to reach the finals. He also will run on the 4×8 today with Jon Bach, Jeff Batey and Matt Beidler.

Lexington D-II

Buckeye freshman Hannah Hartley has hit her personal best high jump of 5 feet in back-to-back weeks in the postseason. The near-misses with the bar higher last week at the Midview District have her fired up.

“I’m going to go in as confident as I can, especially with knowing that I was so close to getting 5-2,” Hartley said. “I’m just going to give it my all and see what happens.”

Hartley also anchored the 4×4 to regionals, as Courtney Styfurak, Brianna Vaiksnoras and Allison Wilk will compete in prelims Thursday. According to coach Ashlee Strang, the relay’s fourth leg, Kelsey Verhoff, is expected to be cleared for practice after a strained calf sidelined her at districts. Styfurak also will compete in the 400 prelim Thursday, while Aidan Gallagher (1,600) and Colin Theis (3,200) will take part in Saturday finals. Theis’ seed time is sixth.

Fairless D-III

No matter what happens today, Black River girls coach Aaron Munyan is pretty proud. His 4×1 of Romi Smith, Autumn Lampshire, Emily Cartwright and Makayla Koerner locked up the final regional bid last week at Independence in a season-low 52.75.

“They have really surprised me,” Munyan said. “To have seen their faces after the district finals and learning they had qualified was something special. Those four girls have a no-quit attitude and they want to win.”

Koerner also will be making her second trip to regionals in the long jump. The senior has cleared 16-3 this season, but hasn’t broken 16-0 in the postseason. Her seed of 15-7¾ is seventh in the 16-person field.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.