Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Kirtland girls claim third straight CVC title

INDEPENDENCE—Kirtland’s dominance of the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division continued on Thursday as the girls won their third straight league title with 158 points. Independence finished second with 111 ½ and Cardinal was third with 101.

“We're just ecstatic about our third straight conference championship,” said Kirtland coach JP Moran. “It's been our goal since Day 1, so we're pumped about it. The kids are hitting their stride. There were so many good times and performances.”

As always, senior Katie Straus turned in some of those good times and strong performances.

Straus won the high jump (5-2), broke her own school record in the 100-meter hurdles (14.75), won the 300-meter hurdles (45.50) and ran the anchor leg in the 4×400-meter relay to lead the Huskies to a win in 4:08.33. Sophomore Danielle Bryll, junior Grace Powers and senior Julia Ricketti also competed in the 4×4.

Kirtland’s 4×100-meter relay team also broke a school record. Ricketti and Powers teamed up with seniors Maddie Zuberer and Emily Kadas to win the event in 51.78 seconds, 2/10 of a second better than the previous school record set in 1985.

“We've been chasing that thing all season,” Moran said. “We've been close and finally to get it, a 31-year old record, is awesome.”

Straus and her 4×4 team missed another 30-year old school record by less than a second.

Kirtland’s other individual winners included sophomore Sydney Snyder, who won the 800 in a time of 2:30.15, and Powers, who won the 200 in 26.88.

Seniors Lauren Covetta and Christine Walsh teamed up with Powers and Snyder to win the 4×800-meter relay in 10:20.29, over 16 seconds better than the runner-up, and Kadas and Ricketti partnered with sophomores Jessica Hepper and Kristi Bryll to win the 4×200-meter relay in 1:50.30.

Kadas finished second in the 100-meter dash (13.55) and third in the 200 (28.310.

“We had some rock-solid senior performances from Emily Kadas and Julia Ricketti,” Moran said. “They're in the relays and Emily had some pretty good open races too. We put Kristi Bryll and Jessica Hepper in there with our heavy hitters because we wanted to keep Grace for the open 200 and they ended up running a 1:50, which is a season PR. That's just a couple seconds off the school record from 1988.”

Covetta, junior Lauren Bottesch, Danielle Bryll and Zuberer all took home top three finishes.

Covetta finished third in the 800 (2:36.33), Bottesch was third in the discus (103-8), Bryll was third in the 400 (1:03.86) and Zuberer took third in the 300 hurdles (51.05).

Bottesch and junior Kara Aquila came up big for the Hornets with personal best throws in the discus. Aquila also pushed the 100-foot mark with a throw of 101-10.

“Lauren Bottesch and Karen Aquila both threw over 100 in the discus for the first time,” Moran said. “That's two huge PRs there.”

Aquila also took fifth in the shot put with a toss of 30-2.

Other Kirtland scorers included fifth place finishers Kristi Bryll, who ran a 14.05-second time in the 100, Zuberer , who cleared 7-feet in the pole vault, and Walsh, who ran a 13:26.04 time in the 3200.

Senior Claire Neibecker and sophomore Holly Samf finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the long jump to help the Hornets hold off runner-up Independence.

Neibecker cleared 14-feet, 10 ½ inches while Samf jumped 14-8 ½.

“Claire Neibecker and Holly Samf in the long jump had a great night,” Moran said. “Independence was in second and the girl took fourth and we took sixth and seventh, so we were able to stop them from gaining too much there.”

Walsh also finished seventh in the 1600 (6:00.04) and Snyder and senior Sarah Kadas collected eighth place finishes. Snyder ran the 400 in 1:13.27 and Kadas completed the 3200 in 15:11.93.

Kirtland’s boys team finished sixth.

Seniors Johnathon Guenther and Peter Gabor both took home third place finishes. Guenther collected his with a 19-foot, 4 ¾ long jump and Gabor ran the 400-meter dash in 53.10 seconds.

Senior Jake Knox was fourth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 17.81 seconds and fourth in the high jump with a cleared height of 5-feet, 6-inches.

The 4×100-meter relay team of freshman Jake Neibecker, sophomore Chaz McPeak and juniors Antonio Rini and Jeremy Davis also finished fourth with a time of 47.77.

Other top five finishers included sophomore Joey Zovko, who ran a 2:12.86 time in the 800, and the 4×400 and 4×800-meter relay teams.

Gabor and Guenther teamed up with sophomores Zovko and Dylan Aquila to run a 3:45.13 in the 4×4 and Zovko, sophomore Colton Zanko and freshmen Konner Duncan and Ethan Thomas ran a 9:27.39 time in the 4×800.


Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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