Senior Katie Straus helped lead Kirtland to a first place finish on the first day of the Division III Independence District track meet on Wednesday at Stan Skoczen Stadium.
Straus, who qualified for the Division II state meet last year in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, cleared 5-feet, 4-inches to win the high jump. Kirtland’s 4×800-meter relay team also finished first to lead the Hornets to the top of the team standings after the first day. Kirtland scored 27 points while Cuyahoga Heights is second with 24 ½.
“I personally was very happy with my jumping,” Straus said. “It just seemed to click today. It also means that on the first day of districts our team is taking some people to regionals for sure, since the 4×8 got out as well. It is encouraging to myself, and I at least hope, to other teammates to start off districts with some momentum, which leads to high spirits, which leads to better performances for everyone. It's was a good day for the team overall, but for most, it was only prelims, so there's no excuse for people to stop trying now.”
Kirtland seniors Lauren Covetta and Christine Walsh, junior Grace Powers and sophomore Sydney Snyder teamed up to win the 4×8 in 10:21.90.
“I have to say how incredibly proud I am of this group of girls,” Covetta said. “I have only been a Hornet for two years now after transferring from Perry, and I'm so thankful to have been welcomed onto a team and relay with such great, uplifting athletes. We are thrilled to have placed first today and are looking forward to making another appearance at the regional championships and certainly have our sights set on the podium. We have a strong, competitive time and are working to bring that down as we begin to move up to the next level in the post season.”
Cardinal senior Nate Peters punched his ticket to the regional meet with a first place finish in the shot put with a season best throw of 49-feet, 9-inches.
“It was such a relief getting a great throw right out of the gate,” Peters said. “With this it makes me more confident for Friday. I'm very happy with how today went.”
Cardinal senior Emily Kruse, sophomores Megan Maddox and Paige Webb and freshman Camille Cummins will join Peters at the Navarre regional next week. They finished third in the 4×8 relay with a time of 10:42.46.
“I was really happy with the 4×8 team today,” Kruse said. “I wasn't so sure how we would do by looking at our first two legs but the third runner, Megan, ran really well and put me in good position to catch up to finish third. It definitely gives me a confidence boost for finals on Friday knowing that I can run a 2:30 split. I was pleased with my split, as I've been pushing to reach that all season. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens on Friday and at regionals.”
Independence’s girls are in fourth place after the first day of action and the boys are in third behind Cuyahoga Heights and Trinity.
Senior Ellie Clymer led the Blue Devils with a third place finish in the pole vault with a successful vault of 8-feet. Clymer qualified for the Division II regional meet last season.
“I'm looking forward to regionals and grateful to my coaches and teammates for helping me qualify once again this year,” Clymer said. “I was happy with my vaulting today but I'm looking to do even better at regionals.”
Independence also had several other athletes qualify for regionals with top four finishes in the high jump, boys pole vault and the boys and girls 4×800-meter relays.
Freshman Sam Richardson cleared 4-8 in the high jump and senior Colin Jedrzejek cleared 10-6 in the pole vault.
Juniors Maria Sagi, Lauren Taras and Dana Zaccardelli and freshman Emma Wensink ran the 4×8 relay in 10:43.33 and Jedrzejek and juniors Jesse Belitz, Kevin Clymer and Tyler Polman finished the 4×8 in 8:41.09.
“I was pleased with our performance,” Polman said. “Qualifying for regionals has been a goal for us for a few weeks now and we all came prepared to race today. Kevin, Colin, and Jesse had multiple events today and they overcame the pressure and exhaustion of a competitive field which led to the successful performance in the 4×800. They all ran perfect tactical races, leaving me in a perfect position to finish off the job. Although we ran our best 4×800 time for this season today, I believe we all can run a few seconds faster and possibly even surprise a few teams at the regional meet.”
The district meet resumes on Friday at 3:00 p.m.