Some things you can count on such as death and taxes. These days you can pretty much count on the Orrville Red Rider girls track and field team capturing another OHSAA Div. II district championship.
The Lady Riders once again lived up to Orrville’s strong track and field legacy on Thursday, May 17 and Saturday, May 19 as they were crowned the 2018 district team champion for the fifth time in the last six years. Orrville was aided by four first-place efforts to go along with a bevy of other point-scoring performances as each seat on the team bus will be full when it departs for the Div. II Lexington regional.
Coming fresh off their first PAC-7 team championship a week ago, Orrville had another team trophy in their sights, and the Lady Riders were able to keep their eyes on the prize. With the reigning 2017 Div. III district champion Norwayne Bobcats moving up to Div. II this year, the Orrville district team’s scoring would surely come down to the wire on Saturday afternoon. Orrville claimed the title with 148 points, besting Norwayne, who finished second with 135. Rounding out the top five in team scoring were Brookside (63), Waynedale (53) and Cloverleaf (51.5).
Orrville was once again led by senior Alex Eby, who not only doubled up first-place performances in the pole vault and 100-meter hurdles, but also she did so with gusto by breaking two Div. II Orrville district meet records. On Thursday her 12-00 vault bested the previous district standard of 11-10, set by Allison Plybon (Orrville) in 2015. On Saturday Eby went on to scald the track in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.43, breaking her own OHS record and shattering the 14.90 district record set by Jennifer Musser (Orrville) in 1988.
Eby’s performance set the tone for the rest of her Red Rider teammates as sophomores Sedona Goodard and Maya Hamsher, freshman Daysia Hargrave, and juniors Mikayla Carpenter and Ashley Stiffler all found success in multiple events for Orrville.
Goodard placed second in the 400-meter dash (1:02.18), where she was edged at the tape by Norwayne’s Sarah Schmidt (1:01.82). Hamsher took home the district title in the 800-meter run, cruising home in 2:20.98. Both girls were members of Orrville’s championship 4-by-400 and 4-by-800 relay teams.
Freshman Daysia Hargrave, junior Chloe Johnson, and Goodard and Hamsher helped put the Red Riders on top in a thrilling back and forth in the 4-by-400 relay (4:11.55) with Norwayne nipping at Orrville’s heals for second place (4:12.53). The 4-by-800 relay team of senior Alyssa Plumley, sophomore Sierra Hamsher, Goodard and Maya Hamsher shaved an amazing 18 seconds off the relay’s best time of the season, recorded at the PAC-7 conference meet a week earlier when they crossed the line first in 10:00.84. Goodard rounded out her stellar district performance by helping the 4-by-200 relay team of senior Alexis Tillison, Stiffler and Hargrave to a second-place finish (1:46.89), just a second behind the winning Norwayne team (1:45.86).
Hargrave and Stiffler helped the 4-by-100 relay, joined by Tillison and sophomore Hailey Copeland, to a second-place finish (51.76) with the Bobcats taking top honors (50.83). Stiffler also leaped into regionals with a third-place long jump of 16-00 while Hargrave eeked out second place in the 300-meter hurdles (49.19).
Mikayla Carpenter firmly kicked in the door to making sure she would be throwing at the Lexington regional by finishing second in the shot put (38-5) and snatching third place in the discus throw (114-10).
Other regional qualifying efforts for the Lady Riders were turned in by sophomore Chloe Preston, who handled a lot of adversity in the high jump with some early missed attempts as she overcame 14 total attempts on the day to best her personal record for the season and placed second (4-10); junior Karli Lax, who cruised to a second-place finish in the pole vault (11-0); and junior Ashley Kinnaird, who placed fourth in the 3200 (12:48.23).
Other top-eight finishes at the district meet for Orrville were Stiffler, who took sixth in the 100-meter dash (13.15); Sierra Hamsher, who placed fifth in the 800-meter run (2:39.52); Plumley, who finished in sixth in the 1600 (5:55.46); Lax, who was just edged out of regional contention by four-hundredths of a second and placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (16.77); Johnson, who also just narrowly missed a regional ticket when she placed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles (50.06); freshman Tamara Turner, who landed in sixth in the long jump (15-5); and senior Brandi Bucher, who placed fifth in the discus throw (113-2), ending a solid high school career.
The Red Riders will be back at it on Thursday, May 24 for the first day of the Div. II Lexington regional championships, where half the field event finals will take place in addition to the semi-finals on the track. The other half of field event finals and finals on the track will take place on Saturday, May 26. Click here for a complete Lexington regional schedule of day one and day two.
A listing of Orrville qualifiers for the Div. II Lexington regional girls championships:
Orrville Red Riders
Mikayla Carpenter (11) shot put (38-5) and discus throw (114-10)
Hailey Copeland (10) 4-by-100 relay
Alex Eby (12) 100-meter hurdles and pole vault
Sedona Goodard (10) 400-meter dash (1:02.18), 4-by-200 relay, 4-by-400 relay and 4-by-800 relay
Maya Hamsher (10) 800-meter run (2:20.98), 4-by-400 relay and 4-by-800 relay
Sierra Hamsher (10) 4-by-800 relay
Daysia Hargrave (9) 300-meter hurdles (49.19), 4-by-100 relay, 4-by-200 relay and 4-by-400 relay
Chloe Johnson (11) 4-by-400 relay
Ashley Kinnaird (11) 3200-meter run (12:48.23)
Karlie Lax (11) pole vault (11-0)
Alyssa Plumley (11) 4-by-800 relay
Chloe Preston (10) high jump (4-10)
Ashley Stiffler (11) 4-by-100 relay, 4-by-200 relay and long jump (16-0)
Alexis Tillison (12) 4-by-100 relay and 4-by-200 relay