Mother nature held steady at the OHSAA Div. II track and field regional championships hosted at Lexington High School on Thursday, May 23, and the Orrville High School track and field squads gave their best effort to survive the first day of competition.
The Red Riders had a lot on the line. Half of the field event finals took place on Thursday with the top-four placers advancing to next week’s state championship meet. Other than the 3200-meter-relay final, the rest of Thursday’s track-related events were semifinals with top-eight performances qualifying for Saturday’s finals.
On the boys’ side of the ledger, Orrville’s Jason Suppan placed eighth in the long jump with a leap of 21-02.50, which was a season personal best for the senior when he landed it on his last attempt of the prelims to qualify for finals.
The Red Riders’ boys 3200-meter-relay team (8:35.04), led by senior Stuart Kirkbride, juniors Ben Amstutz and Caleb Endicott, and sophomore Trevor Jones, placed 13th, completing the relay’s third straight regional appearance for the Red Riders after years of Orrville not having a boys 4-by-800 relay squad qualify for the regional meet.
Senior thrower Ed Burns and Suppan will compete on Saturday for the Red Rider boys in the shot put and high jump finals.
On the girls’ side of Thursday’s regional competition, Orrville’s 3200-meter-relay team consisting of juniors Maya Hamsher, Sierra Hamsher and Sedona Goodard and senior Alyssa Plumley punched their ticket to Jesse Owens Stadium for next week’s state championship meet by placing fourth in the regional finals (9:47.67).
The rest of the Orrville girls squad took a step toward continuing their successful season with multiple athletes advancing to Saturday’s finals. Orrville’s duo in the hurdles, sophomore Daysia Hargrave (15.60) and junior Ashley Stiffler (16.47), qualified for the finals in the 100-meter hurdles with Hargrave also qualifying for the finals in the 300-meter hurdles (45.42). Stiffler and Hargrave teamed up with junior Sedona Goodard and junior Maya Hamsher to earn a spot in the finals of the girls 800-meter relay (1:47.29).
The Red Riders’ 1600-meter-relay team of the Hamshers, Stiffler and Hargrave turned in the seventh best semifinal time (4:12.39), giving Orrville two relays a chance to run on Saturday with an opportunity to join the 3200-meter relay at the state meet.
Other Lady Riders who competed on Thursday were senior Mikayla Carpenter, who placed eighth for the Red Riders (37-03.50) and made it to the regional podium in the shot put. Chloe Johnson joined fellow senior Karlie Lax, junior Hailey Copeland and sophomore Isabel Cartagena to finish 15th in the semifinals of the 4-by-100 relay (53.68). Goodard finished her semifinal in the 400-meter dash in ninth place (1:02.00), just missing Saturday’s final.
The Red Riders hope to carry Thursday’s semifinal success into Saturday’s finals, where the girls should get a good shot in the arm from Maya Hamsher in the 800-meter run, sophomore Tamara Turner in the long jump, and Lax and freshman Ainsley Hamsher in the pole vault.
For further info on the Lexington regional and to see all results from day one, click here.