The impressive stories of junior hurdlers Haley Gregory and Tiara Wiggins continued to develop Friday.
Gregory, a junior from John Glenn, reached the final in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles to lead area runners in the Division II state track meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
A junior from Zanesville, Wiggins broke her own school record in reaching the final of the 300 hurdles in the Division I girls meet.
Gregory takes the top qualifying time into the 300 hurdles after winning the second heat in 44.79 and is second in the 100 hurdles at 14.48 — her personal record.
Gregory ran four events Friday, also competing in the 100 and 400 relay with teammates Kelsey Knellinger, Emily Brown and Ashley Ryan that was 13th (:50.91).
Gregory failed to qualify in the 100 despite finishing fourth in her heat and setting a new personal best with a 12.36, as she missed the final spot in the final by just .004 seconds.
Three runners ran 12.04 or better.
“I had a lot to do today like I did last year, but I’m a veteran at this now so I was using that experience to my advantage when it came time to do four events again,” Gregory said. “All I wanted was to help get my teammates there. We brought three new ones with us this year, and even though they didn’t make it to (today), it was a great experience for them to get involved with.”
Gregory trails only Columbus Eastmoor’s Cheyenne Carter in the 100 hurdles. Carter ran a 14.38 against Gregory in the first heat. The three fastest times were in the first heat as just four runners broke 15 seconds.
She ruled the 300s, taking the lead near the first turn into a stiff crosswind. She pulled away in the final 100 meters, winning by more than .5.
Her closest competition, first heat winner Carly Truckor — of Evergreen — clocked at 45.29.
“I met my expectations for today, but now I’ve just got higher expectations for tomorrow,” Gregory said. “I feel confident because I know what I can do. My 100 hurdle time is getting quicker with each race. I know I can get faster in the 300 hurdles.”
Brown failed to qualify in the 200 after finishing 15th in 26.84, and the Muskie 800 relay of Knellinger, Taylour Fatheree, Theresa Kuhns and Brown were 14th in the 800 relay (1:49.1).
Wiggins almost matched Gregory’s 300 hurdles time in the highly competitive Division I meet, running another personal best in 44.82, which earned the No. 8 qualifying spot. The times are bunched, with less than .6 separating second from eighth.
Nordonia senior Taylor McDonald’s 43.34 was a full second better than the second-place time in the second heat.
Wiggins lamented another slow start from the blocks, but she more than made up for it with a strong finish that allowed her to overtake two spots in the final 200 meters.
Her state time was almost .5 faster than her regional time.
“They started to get away from me so I knew I had to go,” Wiggins said. “I feel like if the wind wasn’t blowing like it was we all could have ran better times.”
No competitors qualified for the finals in Division III. Rosecrans freshman Samantha Swackhammer was 13th in the 100 hurdles (16.1) and 300 hurdles (48.46).
Seeing the competition in person will help Swackhammer in the future.
“I was a little disappointed with my times,” she said. “This experience is huge for me. I know what to expect next year, and it makes me want to work that much harder.”
Swackhammer, Molly Nash, Peyton Farrell and Megan Erwine fell .2 seconds short of the 1,600 relay final with a time of 4:08.49. Calvert’s 1,600 relay took the final spot in 4:08.27.
The same four finished 13th in the 800 relay (1:50.53), and the Crooksville 400 relay of Hillary Taylor, Taylor Pennington, Ashly Clark and McKayla Chevalier came in 15th (52.77).