Dalton Bulldogs

Red Riders prove their worth as girls’ champions of the Triway Invitational

Alex Eby's big day leads Red Riders to a Triway Invitational title

The Orrville Red Riders’ girls’ track team showed some toughness and plenty of depth, and rode a wave of consistent finishes to a title at the 2017 Triway Invitational. There were plenty of great efforts and tight finishes for the girls at the 2017 Triway Invitational Saturday, April 22 at Triway High School.

“I’m very happy with how things worked out obviously,” said Orrville head coach Jason Ayers. “Coming into this meet, knowing how banged up we were, I was hoping we’d finish second, but figured we could drop lower than that.  I’ve never had a team struggling with so many injuries as we do this year. We went into this meet with only 15 girls and left about a half dozen of our big guns at home, girls that would normally score points. So, all this just makes me that much more excited about how we’ll be if we ever get to full strength.”

On a brisk day that saw competitors stay bundled up, there was more than enough drama to keep fans chattering.

In the pole vault, Orrville’s Alex Eby and Karlie Lax, who earned All-Ohio status in Div. II pole vault last year by placing second and eighth at state, respectively, went at it with Waynedale All-Ohioan Sami Ice, who was runner-up last year in the state Div. III meet.

Every jump was mesmerizing as even at 11-00 all three were working hard to clear it. Lax tipped the bar at 11-06 on her final jump, and hit it just enough to knock the bar down, settling for third. Ice cleared it late, then looked like she had cleared 12-00, but she too ticked the bar just enough to send it flying to the mat on her second jump. When Eby cleared it, she had taken the title at 12-00.

She then almost got 12-03.

“That was really exciting,” Eby said of the event. “I’m there with a teammate in Karlie and I do indoor with Sami so we all know each other really well. It was a battle all the way to the end. I really wanted to clear 12-03 because it would have been a PR, but to get a win here is exciting.”

In the girl’s shot put, West Holmes junior Madison Kandel and Triway All-Ohioan shot-putter Kaitlyn Merwin put on a fantastic show. Merwin, who took home the shot put crown with a heave of 43-07 to easily bounce Kandel’s throw of 36-03 to second-place, came in with a discus throw of 121-11. Kandel out-did her, letting rip a toss of 123-05, a PR that went six feet beyond her throw at state last season.

“It felt really good to beat Merwyn because she has always beaten me before,” Kandle said. “It feels good to come here and perform and to throw a PR, even though I thought it was shorter than it was.”

West Holmes superstar distance runner and All-Ohioan Michelle Hostettler turned in another winning performance in the 1600, where she and Cloverleaf’s Riley Freeland ran away from the field. Eventually Hostettler ran away from Freeland and cruised to victory in 5:15.92, with Freeland taking runner-up honors in 5:19.99.

While the lady Knights got some nice individual efforts, it was far from enough to keep them near the top of the pack, and there was good reason for that.

“Prom night is killing us,” lamented West Holmes coach Ty Harris. “We’ve got kids who aren’t here at all, kids who are leaving early and it has left some holes. It makes it tough, because you want to come here and compete at this level with your best.”

All day long Orrville, who didn’t have prom issues, was at its best, and pulled out a title with 92 points. Shelby was second at 81, while West Holmes ended up seventh in the 16-team field with 45. Loudonville placed eighth at 37, Smithville earned ninth with 36.5, Waynedale was 10th at 35.5 and Garaway ended up 11th at 35.5. Triway placed 1th and Dalton was 16th.

In the 100, Briana Busic of Rittman ripped to victory in 13.07, besting runner-up Emily Weber of Loudonville’s 13.14. Brianna Potts of Waynedale placed third in 13.52.

Smithville’s Jasmine Beery claimed third in the 200, with Dalton’s Lora Knopp placing fourth and Kaylin Martin of West Holmes taking sixth.

In the 400, Mandy Ebert of Waynedale grabbed fourth place in 1:05.72, while in the 800 it would be Maya Hamsher of Orrville ponding out a 2:30.25, good for third-place.

Eby doubled up in the win column by roaring to victory in the 100-meter hurdles, where her time of 15.53 edged out runner-up Carly Jacobs of Garaway’s time of 16.29. Ice took home third in 16.41 while Taylor Yerian of West Holmes was fifth in 17.19.

In the 3200, Emma Hinkle of Loudonville earned third-place, while Garaway’s Ariel Wentworth placed fifth.

While finishing runner-up in the 100 hurdles, Jacobs gained a spot in the 300-meter hurdles, winning it in a time of 48.42. The sophomore continues to look impressive. Orrville’s Kayla Maximovich placed second in 48.90, while Loudonville’s Stephanie Kline was third and Orrville’s Chloe Johnson took fifth.

The long jump went to Loudonville’s Emily Weber who leaped 16-04.5, with second going to Orrville’s Ally Brown who soared 15-11.5. Other top finishers in field events included Smithville’s Linda Rose was fourth in the discus, Garaway’s Mykayla Miller, who was fifth in the discus, and Orrville’s Mikayla Carpenter placed third in the shot.

In the relay races, Orrville gained some valuable points that helped pave the way to a title. The 4×100 team of Stiffler, Tehya Hall, Maximovich and Brown took third-place, the 4×200 team of Eby, Johnson, Lax and Maximovich came out on top in a time of 1:50.5, the 4×400 quartet of Stiffler, Maximovich, Johnson and Sierra Hamsher ended up third and the 4×800 team of Ashley Kinnaird, Maya Hamsher, Regan Seifried and Sierra Hamsher took fifth.

For the surprising Red Riders, there were great performances all around, and Ayers said the team continues to come together.

“Alex Eby continues her dominance in the 100 hurdles and the pole vault,” Ayers said. “It’s nice have that ace in your hand going to these big meets. The 4×200, which has run multiple different lineups, continues to get better and it’s exciting because we have about six or seven girls that could end up on that relay at the end of the year and they are all hungry and want to get back to Columbus in June. Kayla Maximovich is beginning to figure out the 300 hurdles which is a new event for her this year and I think she’ll just keep getting better. Ally Brown and Ashley Stiffler are starting to get comfortable with long jump and are both on the verge of some big jumps, and Mikaila Carpenter is in the same situation in shot put. We’re getting to that point in the season where the times really start to drop and distances/heights begin to climb. It’s gonna be an exciting few weeks leading up to the post season.”

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