Few individuals have kept pace with Haley Gregory this season.
The same was true Saturday as the John Glenn junior won three regional titles and led the Muskies to a runner-up finish at the Division II regional track meet at Athens High School.
Gregory defended her regional titles in the 100 hurdles (14.69), 100 (12.41) and 300 hurdles (44.53) and teamed with Emily Brown, Kelsey Knellinger and Ashley Ryan for second in the 400 relay (50.09), a race West Holmes won in 49.97.
Even a quick turnaround from the 100 hurdles to the 100 could not faze Gregory, who returns to state in all four events.
“Having the 100 hurdles before everything else and you always have to worry about an injury,” she said. “I hit my last hurdle (in that race) and felt like it was going to set me back in the 100. You just have to get that much more focused to perform what you are capable of in the 100.”
The top four placers in each event advanced to compete in next weekend’s state meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
The John Glenn girls finished with 67 points to West Holmes, which won with 99½.
Brown qualified in two individual events with a second in the long jump (16-1¾) and fourth in the 200 (26.05). Brown, Knellinger, Theresa Kuhns and Taylour Fatheree were third in the 800 relay (1:47.05), and Rheanna Wilson took second in the 1,600 (5:14).
Although the Muskies fell short of a regional title, coach Doug Joy had nothing but compliments for the girls.
“Haley and I took a picture together with the regional runner-up trophy last season and said next year we wanted to be regional champs,” he said. “We fell short of it, but that’s the only goal we haven’t achieved this year. We still improved as a team and we have set the bar high.”
West Muskingum junior Lauren Paul continued to perform well in the distance events. She won the 1,600 (5:12) and was second in the 800 (2:18.40), one second behind winner Kaele Lightfoot, of Minerva (2:17.45), to reach state for a third consecutive season.
“I improved my times and places from last year,” Paul said. “I increased my strength this year, and I have more confidence heading to state.”
Sheridan also will be represented in the girls competition as freshman Natalie Eberts cleared a personal-best 10-feet-0 to win the pole vault.
Eberts, who broke her foot three weeks ago, knew she was capable of clearing that height.
“I cleared (10 feet) in junior high, and the wind was with me today,” she said. “I knew I could do this, and it gives me more confidence for state.”
A few other girls fell short in the finals. Philo’s Tayler Swingle and Morgan’s Baylee Garrett were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 400. Philo’s Elizabeth Dingey came in seventh in the discus.