Kirtland senior Katie Straus entered her final year of high school track with three school records to her credit.
On Tuesday, she added another when she ran 58.8-second time in the open 400-meter dash in Kirtland’s 83- ½ – 58 ½ win over visiting Chagrin Falls. The previous record of 59.7 seconds was first set in 1980 by Karen Dwyer and tied in 1987 by Noelle Manzi, now known as Mrs. Bottesch, a Kirtland Middle School teacher.
“It feels really good, exciting actually, to have gotten that record,” Straus said. “It was up for 27 years.”
Straus, who holds other school records in the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and high jump, normally doesn’t compete in the open 400 because it is run back-to-back with the 300 hurdles, knew she Chagrin Falls had a very good runner in the race and she took the opportunity to push herself for another record.
“I had heard that Chagrin Falls had a really good 400 runner and that she would really push me and then I also heard that I was close to the record, so I figured why not,” Straus said. “It was really good to race against her because she really pushed me to PR. I was really happy that she had decided to run it, and in the same heat too.”
Chagrin Falls junior Halle McClintock finished second in the race with a time of 59.8 seconds.
With the postseason approaching, it looks like Kirtland’s other track records are safe. Straus plans to focus on her main events as she gears up for a run at the state track meet.
“I'm running out of time to look at any other records,” she said. “I'd like to break my hurdling and high jump ones and I would really like to go for the 4×400 record. The hard thing with that is all the runners in the relay have to be healthy and ready. It wouldn't happen if someone is tired, sick or injured. Mostly though I am focusing on (the Chagrin Valley Conference meet) and postseason more than any other records.”
Straus also won the long jump and high hurdles and ran a leg in the 4×400 relay that finished first.
Grace Powers, Emily Kadas, Jenna Sayle and Christine Walsh also won individual events for the Hornets and Kirtland’s 4×800, 4×200 and 4×100-meter relay teams also finished first.
“Having such a successful season and a great group of seniors and so many good performances, it’s starting to get stressful,” said Kirtland coach JP Moran.
Moran is working hard to find the right combination of athletes to send out in each event. That’s no easy task when he has so many talented runners at his disposal.
The 4×100 relay team of Maddie Zuberer, Julia Ricketti, Powers and Kadas finished in 52.9 seconds, just one second off a school record that has stood since 1985.
Powers ran the 200 in 26.9 seconds, less than a second off the school record of 25.8 seconds that was set in 1985 and Kadas ran it in 27 seconds flat.
The 4×4 relay team of Straus, Powers, Ricketti and Danielle Bryll, who filled in for Sayle, who is battling a minor injury, set a new personal record with a time of 4:15.2.
"Jenna’s hips were hurting her a little bit so Danielle Bryll moved in there and Julia Ricketti beat out Sydney Snyder by two seconds and they went out and PR’d,” Moran said.
The lineup in that relay is fluid as Snyder will get another shot at Ricketti later this week and Sayle is expected to return to run her leg.
Kadas won the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.2 seconds and Sayle won the mile in 5:32.
Kirtland’s boys dropped a 66-58 decision to the Tigers.
Jonathan Guenther led the Hornets with first place finishes in the long jump and 200. Jake Knox won the high jump, Kevin Cumming won the 1600 and Peter Gabor finished first in the 400. Kirtland’s 4×800-meter relay team also finished first.