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Field events give Solon girls winning edge
Field events give Solon girls winning edge
By TONY LANGE
The field events gave them an edge on Shaker Heights last Friday as the Solon girls claimed the Division I Ravenna Northeast District track and field title with 107 points. The Red Raiders settled for second place with 100 points.
The West Geauga girls' team finished sixth with 56 points, and Kenston finished ninth with 27 points at the 16-team meet, which included four relays, five field events and eight individual running events. The Comets outscored Shaker Heights, 25-0, in the field events.
"That definitely put us over the edge with Shaker," Solon head coach Leigh Ann Leugers said. "They've got some amazing runners who are some of the best in the state, so it's really exciting when we can edge out someone like that."
Leading the way for the Comets in the field events were freshmen Elizabeth Obi and Tinisee Kandakai, who both cleared 5 feet in the high jump and advanced to the regional meet in Youngstown at Austintown-Fitch High School. The finals for that meet begin at 4 p.m. May 27.
Four girls cleared 5 feet at the district track meet in Ravenna, but Obi claimed the victory, because she cleared each height on the first attempt. Kandakai placed fourth.
"In high jump, my two freshmen went one and four," Leugers said. "It's really awesome to watch them grow as a freshman and then to add to our team depth and talent that we already have."
Also taking home a first-place finish for the Lady Comets was sophomore Therese Haiss, who won the 1,600-meter run with a 5:06.99, which was 0.09 second faster than the second-place runner.
That was her best time by two seconds. At the 2010 state meet, Haiss finished 10th as a freshman with a 5:13.53, missing the top-eight podium finish.
"I wasn't in first until the third lap, when I took the lead. It was a good race," Haiss said. "I would like to keep getting faster."
Haiss also advanced to regionals in the 800-meter run with her third-place finish at 2:18.03, which was 0.03 second ahead of fourth place. She was concentrating on finishing in the top four, she said. "I was just finishing in, because I knew I was going to come in third or fourth, and I only needed to be in top four, so I wasn't really worried about it," she said. "Once I finished, I thought I came in fourth until I heard that I came in third. I was just thinking about finishing."
Coming up big for West Geauga in the meet was sophomore Chantel Richardson, who single-handedly posted 28 of the Wolverines 56 points.
Richardson won the 100-meter hurdles with a 14.78 and the long jump at 17 feet, 3.75 inches and placed second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.64. At the 2010 state meet, she finished fifth as a freshman in the long jump at 17 feet, 10.25 inches.
Also posting second-place finishes for the Wolverines were senior Kelly Williams with a 2:17.61 in the 800-meter run and sophomore Denise Volcensek in the pole vault as she cleared 9 feet.
Juniors Lindsay Visner and Jessi Genske had third-place finishes for the Wolverines. Visner cleared 5 feet in the high jump, and Genske threw the shot put 35 feet, 10.75 inches.
For Kenston, leading the way was senior Kim Gallavan, who finished second in both the discus and shot put at 119 feet, 11 inches and 39 feet, 8.75 inches, respectively. Also, Kenston's four-by-800 relay team of Allison Porter, Allison Molnar, Maygen Semall and Alexis Taylor finished fourth with a 9:37.07 and advanced to regionals.
Assisting Haiss in tallying points for the Comets' team victory were second-place finishers Paige Yaeger, a junior, and Jelvon Butler, a freshman.
Butler took silver in the 100-meter dash with a 12.75, beating Shaker Heights' third-place finisher by 0.02 second.
Butler is very talented, and that was evident when she came to the varsity team from eighth grade, Leugers said. "She's a huge team player who is always trying to push herself," she said.
During Yeager's second-place performance, she clocked a 44.49 in the 300-meter hurdles. At the 2010 state meet, she finished ninth with a 44.66 in that event.
"Her baby is the 300 hurdles," Leugers said. "She absolutely loves that. For regionals, she's sitting third, so that's exciting. I hope she makes it to state again this year, because I know she wants to try to get on the podium this year."
Butler and Yeager also teamed together on Solon's triumphant four-by-200-meter relay, which also included Kandakai and senior London McNair. They won the event with a time of 1:42.12.
Individually, Kandakai, who placed fourth in the high jump, also placed third in the 200-meter dash for the Comets with a 26.28.
McNair and Butler also teamed on Solon's second-place four-by-100-meter relay with senior Kristen Baldwin and sophomore Natalie Ockunzzi. They finished with a 49.50, which was 0.04 second behind Shaker Heights' triumph.
Solon's third-place four-by-400-meter relay was led off by Melissa Yanowski, who handed the baton to McNair, Haiss and Yaeger. They finished with a 3:57.78, which beat their school record by four seconds, Leugers said.
Haiss, who won the mile, said she doesn't worry too much about the four-by-400 relay, because she's in good shape for it.
"I kind of enjoy it. Of course, I try my hardest, but I don't worry about it as much as running two laps or four laps. It's just like one time around," she said. "I always think that, if I run faster, it's going to make it easier for Paige, because she's really good at racing. So, if there is someone to catch, she can usually catch her. Or, if there's someone to hold off, she can hold them off. She collapsed once at the end of a race, so I just think about going faster, so she doesn't have to collapse again."
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