It might seem like doing something over and over again could get old, but when that something is winning district titles, the Garaway Lady Pirates are nowhere near getting sick of it.
Garaway amassed a whopping 98.5 points to easily win the Div. III Newcomerstown district with runner-up Tuscarawas Central Catholic a distant second at 65.
The championship marks the fourth consecutive title for Garaway’s girls, and head coach Zach Mottice said it was a thrill watching his team perform.
“It was a great night, and we competed really hard because the girls were incredibly focused on winning this title again,” Mottice said. “We know things get harder from here, and we head to a super-hard regional, but for now we are going to celebrate this win because we know how difficult it is to win one of these, let alone four in a row.”
Sophomore Carly Jacobs continued to shine, winning both the 100-meter and the 300-meter hurdles. Her winning time of 15.56 in the 100-hurdles blew away the competition by more than a full second while her winning 300 time of 46.48 was nearly three seconds ahead of everyone else.
“She is an ultra-competitive competitor, and she has worked like crazy to get where she is,” Mottice said of Jacobs. “More importantly, it has been really good from a leadership standpoint because other kids see that work and her success, and they want to follow that. She has brought a real competitive edge to our program.”
The sprints didn’t help Garaway a whole lot with only Mattie Walter scoring points with her fifth-place finish in the 400. Jocelyn Miller advanced in the 400 with a fourth-place finish, carving nearly seven seconds off of her qualifying time in the process, while teammate Lindsey Goehring placed seventh. Ariel Wentworth then took third in the 1600, but the girls made a lot of advances in the relays, where they sent all four relay teams on to the regional level.
The 4×100 team of Bailey Donley, Ashton Gerber, Sara Beachy and Jacobs placed third while the 4×200 team of Donley, Haley Shutt, Gerber and Beachy placed fourth, just sliding by Steubenville Catholic Central to qualify.
The 4×400 team of Walter, Shutt, Jordan Mutchelknaus and Jacobs earned a runner-up spot behind the TCC team of Nicci Zontini, Jada Clendenin, Camry Cummings and Regina Gogano.
In the field Makayla Miller broke the Garaway school record in the discus with a throw of 115-07, about eight feet further than her previous best. Teammate Katya Misko placed sixth and also ended up sixth in the shot. Walter earned a seventh in the long jump, Warkall just missed a bid for regionals by placing fifth in the pole vault and Beachy snuck into regionals in the high jump by securing the fourth and final spot with a leap of 4-06.
With very few seniors the future certainly looks bright for the Lady Pirates.
“Ariel has been such a big part of what we have accomplished the past four years,” Mottice said of the senior distance runner. “But we had a lot of girls step up and perform when they needed to, and you have to have those kinds of efforts to win a district title. We were a little nervous coming in about how some of our younger athletes would perform since this is their first time at districts, and they were fine. They handled the pressure well. They handled things well mentally, and now we have a busload of people headed to Massillon for regionals.”
Mottice said they qualified a lot of athletes for regionals, and they know it will be tough to move on, but he added that it only takes that one big effort to sometimes go beyond what people expect.
The hope is that times will keep dropping, distances will get better and they will have to take a busload of kids to Columbus too.