To nobody’s surprise, the Westshore again has a strong contingent of track and field athletes heading to this weekend’s state meet in Columbus.
Let’s just say this year’s field is looking a bit blue.
Bay Rocket blue, that is.
The Bay boys and girls squads made school history last Saturday at the Ravenna Division II regional meet. The boys, behind four championships, won the school’s first-ever regional crown with 52 points to edge past Orange (48.10) and Cortland Lakeview (46). The girls left Ravenna with 53 points and the lead over Canton South (45) and Perry (43).
The girls’ title, however, remained uncertain as of this writing. That’s because an official’s mistake in the 3200 mandated a re-running of that event yesterday. Fourth-place Mantua Crestwood had two girls slated to run in that event, and Perry one.
Bay junior Hanna Sterle, the Midview district champ, was in that race as well. So it was all up in the air for the Rockets, who got a pair of record-setting performances from senior hurdler Bridget Doughty.
“We watched the boys go up for their trophy and medals,” said Bay girls head coach Kirsten Millet, who said a possible appeal may cancel the OHSAA-mandated 3200 rerun.
“We got together with them and took pictures, but it was like we weren’t sure how to react,” Millet said Sunday. “Should we be happy? Should we celebrate? It was a very different situation, that’s for sure.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know we were winning the meet,” she said. “You see the disappointment in the faces of the kids when they don’t make the top four, because that’s the main goal – to get to state. But after the 200, we realized we were still scoring a lot of points and had a good shot at it.”
For boys head coach Ron Rutt, it was a continuation of the success his squad that started in winning the West Shore Conference meet. the Rockets them went on to win the Midview district title, giving the program its first district crown since 1993.
“It was another nice week,” Rutt said. “We’ve been building for this all season long. We’ve got a group of guys going to Columbus who are pretty pumped right now.”
That group was led by senior distance ace Michael Brajdic, who won the 1600 with a time of 4:19.41 and the 3200 in 9:29.29. He also led off the winning 4×800 relay as he and Alec Petro, Nick Banks and Sam Allen won it with an 8:00.28 clocking.
“Michael is coming along great right now,” Rutt said. “His times are coming down each week, and that’s what it’s about. And the experience our 4×800 got last year at state should help us this time around.”
Allen was the other champion on the day for the Rockets, taking the 800 with a time of 1:56.28. It was enough to get past Field’s Billy Darmon, who came in at 1:57.38. Brajdic was pushed by Elyria Catholic’s Dan Kuhman in the 3200, with his Panther counterpart finishing at 9:29.76.
The Bay pole vault duo of Marek Mutch and Kaylee Kish played a big part in both squads finishing on top in Ravenna. Mutch took third in the boys competition with a 12-06, while Kish finished fourth for the girls with a 9-09.
But on the girls side, the spotlight was on Doughty.
The Rocket senior began her day with the 100 hurdles, as did longtime rival JeRica Sanders of Lake Catholic. Last Saturday, Doughty scorched the regional record of 14.45 with a blazing 14.19, just .05 off the Division II state record. Sanders also broke the regional mark, but had to settle for runner-up honors with a 14.28.
Doughty then finished fifth in the 100, her time of 12.44 just .03 shy of the final state qualifying time. But she scored four team points and still had the 300 hurdles and the 4×100 relay to go.
The relay failed to qualify for the finals, but the 300 – Doughty’s specialty – still remained. She took a big lead on Sanders and came in with a new meet record of 43.03, besting Sanders’ old mark of 43.44 set last year. It was oh-so-close to the state record of 42.83 set last year at the state meet by Collinwood’s Amber Smith.
Along with Doughty and Kish, Amelia Strickler also advanced to the state meet with her 39-01 effort in the shot put. That was good for the runner-up spot behind Painesville Harvey’s Kenya Simmons (41-09.50). Sterle still had her chance to qualify yesterday in the 3200.
For complete regional meet results, go to www.baumspage.com.