Spring Preview: Girls Track
Jonathan Alder: Pioneer coach Donita Hampton said her squad is young this spring.
“If we can avoid injury and get back into shape we will be OK,” she said.
Among the Pioneers top runners are sprinters Savannah Thomas and Shelby Wilson; middle distance Emma Daugherty; and distance: Sami Koester
Daugherty and Whitney Rapp also are among the top pole vaulters, while Cassie Beachywill pace the Pioneers in the high jump and long jump.
“We always look forward to the Miami Trace Invitational,’ Hampton said. “Another big meet is the Madison County.”
London: The Red Raiders return a load of talent with nine returning letterwinners.
In the sprints, Courtney Colwell, Sarah Dunham, Rachel Eaton, Hunter Mouser and Morgan Slone will lead the way.
Kayla Crager and Jessica Stewart will be the top middle-distance runners, while state cross country champion Sarra Taylor and Marisa Davis will lead the distance runners.
“In terms of overall numbers, this is a small team for London,” coach Andy Crawford said. “However, we’re not saying, ‘We only have 18 girls.’ Instead, we’re saying, ‘We have the right 18 girls.’
“Our distance girls speak for themselves. Our two state qualifiers might grab the headlines, but their real collective strength comes from the fact that each one of them would sacrifice that kind of individual glory for the others. They sweat and bleed for each other. It’s a joy to watch them go to work every day.”
The coach added the team has the components to compete in the South Central Ohio League.
“All of our points at last season’s SCOL meet were provided by just 11 girls, yet we were still able to give the eventual winners from Washington all they could handle before falling 170-150,” he said. “It’s come down to those two teams the last three years, and there’s no reason to believe that we aren’t headed for a fourth straight showdown. Will it be different this time? All I can say for right now is that, in my heart of hearts, I believe that we will be better come May than we were 12 months before.
“As we look ahead to the SCOL meet and to districts, if we can find a way to become more competitive in the five field events, I like our chances. We feel we have the athletes to compete with top teams like Washington, Bexley and Granville once we get them on the track. It’s been getting there, and getting to the starting line healthy and not worn-down at season’s end, that has held us back in the past. That’s the hump we hope to learn to get over.”
Madison-Plains: The Golden Eagles return six from last year: Anne Brady, Jenna Champer, Rachel Garrison, Mary Jones, Katlin Justice and Erin Phillips.
Magente Binion and Jessica Lahna will lead the sprinters, while Brady, Justice and Lahna will be the top hurdlers.
In the distance races, look for Erin Phillips, Bailey Phillips and Annette Siniff.
Rachel Garrett and Champer will be the throwers and Brady and Justice the jumpers.
“In the South Central Ohio League, Clinton-Massie, Miami Trace and Washington always have been strong,” coach Jim Miller said. “We intend to do our best.”
West Jefferson: The Roughrider girls will be led in the field events by Emilie Elfrink in the shot/disc and Megan Jester in the long jump.
“Emilie Elfrink will be one of the top shot and disc throwers in the state,” Roughriders coach Nick Millican said. “A lot of colleges are in heavy pursuit of her.”
The coach added that he expects Jester, a freshman, to have the ability to make an impact in long jump, hurdles, and sprints.
“She has consistent form and strides in the hurdles and great speed in the sprints,” he said. “You wish she could do six events. It will be interesting figuring out her top four — which says a lot for a freshman.”