Area athletes bring home a host of district titles
PEMBERVILLE – Olivia Smith took the first step in her quest to repeat as a state champion.
Her Calvert teammates also made progress on a trip to Columbus.
Smith won the 800 – the race she conquered at state a season ago – at the Division III district meet at Eastwood. Later, she was part of another win, when she teamed with Morgan Smith, Danielle Kontak and Marisa Horn to claim the 4×400.
It was the foursome’s second title in three days. It won the 4×800 held Thursday.
Olivia Smith’s time in the 800 was a personal best for this season.
“I just went out there and did what I could today,” she said. “It went really well.”
That’s something of an understatement. The junior won the race by almost five seconds, finishing in 2:19.74. Hopewell-Loudon’s Kailey Coleman finished the race two spots behind Smith, qualifying for regionals in 2:43.81.
All told, Smith was part of three district titles.
“For her just to lead the team the way she does and lead by example I think says tremendous things about her as a person and as an athlete,” said Senecas coach Stewart Behm.
The 4×4 team finished in 4:12.78.
Olivia Smith said the group is comfortable with each other.
“We just work really well together,” she said. “And we’re working day in, day out to get where we are right now. We just went out there and … it’s the last race of the day and you just have fun with it.”
Calvert also advanced the 4×2 team to next week’s regionals at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. The foursome was the same as the other two qualifying relays, with one exception: Behm opted to replace Olivia Smith with Kerrigan Kwiat. The team finished fourth in 1:52.32.
“The fact that we switched things up and took Olivia out of the 4×200 and the girls still qualified out,” Behm said, “I think as impressive [as anything else].”
The Senecas were the top-finishing area team at the meet, placing seventh with 41 points. Toledo Christian won with 100 points.
Also for the Senecas, Morgan Smith qualified for regionals by placing third in the 400 in 1:01.96. The school’s 4×1 team had a good shot of moving on, but was disqualified for dropping the baton.
There were two other area champions Saturday – both from Lakota.
Cariss Reese overcame a disqualification in the 110 hurdles to edge out Toledo Christian’s Darian Westmeyer in the 300. Reese used a late charge to overtake Westmeyer and win in 47.06, four hundredths of a second faster than the 110 hurdles champion.
“Over the last hurdle, (Westmeyer) – I don’t know -after she got over it, she almost stopped,” Reese said. “I just took off. I tried to get her.”
Reese nearly had another championship. She dueled with teammate Makayla Kiser when the pair were the last two remaining in the pole vault. Each cleared 9-6, with Kiser winning on criteria.
“It was kind of good, because either way we had 1 and 2,” Reese said. “It was exciting. We were happy for each other.”
Hopewell-Loudon’s Logan Frank also got out in the pole vault, placing fourth by clearing 8-4. As for Reese and Kiser, they qualified for the regional in the 4×100, joining teammates Taylor Smith and Paige Alloway to finish fourth in 53.9
Old Fort will have a few competitors in Tiffin next week. Molly Cleveland took third in the long jump (16-2 3/4), while Kayla Garza qualified in the 1,600 by taking fourth in 5:35.86.
Morgan Kemenah advanced Thursday in the high jump, as did Cleveland.
“It will be (Cleveland)’s first time at regionals in the long jump,” Old Fort coach Tony Miller said. “She did a tremendous job today.
“Garza ran a beautiful race,” Miller said. “She PR’d by almost 20 seconds.”
New Riegel had one regional qualifier Saturday. Abby Cassidy placed third in the 3,200 in 12:15.36.