Newark’s boys distance runners have been in the spotlight much of the season.
The Wildcats’ girls stole it Wednesday. Newark junior Stacia Kyler outdueled Newark Catholic’s Mary Richardson during the anchor leg of the 3,200 relay, and the Wildcats bested the Green Wave in the Licking County Honor Roll Meet at Granville High School.
Newark finished in a season-best time of 10:05.43. NC ran a season-best 10:09.24.
“We wanted to beat Newark Catholic so bad,” said Kyler, who joined Meghan Roche, Michaela Trawick and Mylanda Bunch on the relay. “(Roche) caught on so fast, and working with (Richardson) helped me push myself faster and faster.”
Newark had a significant improvement Saturday when the Wildcats finished in 10:19. They dropped more time Wednesday with Roche running the third leg. She ran a personal-best split of 2:25 to get Newark into contention.
“I was not ready for that 2:25,” Roche said. “I just wanted to catch Newark Catholic. They pushed me.”
Richardson anchored NC to a victory in the Licking Valley Invitational a week ago, and she did her best to stick with Kyler. Kyler, however, edged away with about 200 meters left.
“I thought she was going to come up on me,” Kyler said. “She seemed so close when the coaches were talking to her. She worked me hard.”
It was an all-around strong day for an unheralded group of Wildcats. Trawick ran a personal best in placing fourth in the 1,600 (5:45.15), and Roche again broke 2:30 in placing fourth in the 800 (2:28.20).
“I am really happy,” Roche said. “We have been working hard, coming in during the mornings and running. We have been pushing it. We are close to the school record (in the 3,200 relay).”
The rest of the night belonged to the host Blue Aces. Granville senior Lizzie Gabel won the 100 (12.98) and teammate Rachel Blumling edged her in the 200 (26.62). Each were a part of the winning 400 (50.05) and 800 (1:45.16) relays.
Allison Brunn and Erika McCort joined Gabel and Blumling on the 800 relay, and Ainsley Harmon and McCort rounded out the 400 relay. Blumling, Taylor Beitzel, Devyn Cook and Brunn capped the All-Star meet by winning the 1,600 relay (4:12.97).
“We got our (personal best) in the (400 relay) last weekend, so that was really exciting,” Harmon said. “We finally broke 50 seconds. That is a big step for us. Hopefully, we just improve from here. Our goal is to get the school record.”
Granville’s other champion was Amanda Frey in the 300 hurdles (47.44).
Watkins Memorial’s Josie Woosley and Licking Valley’s Mackenzie Butler waged a battle in the 1,600 during the Hank Smith Invitational on April 20. They met again and didn’t disappoint.
With Granville’s Micaela DeGenero also staying within reach, Butler took the lead to start the final lap, but Woosley moved past down the stretch. Woosley finished in a season-best 5:08.91, and Butler (5:10.08) and DeGenero (5:10.36) were just behind in second and third.
“I need someone there because I am person that doesn’t want to lose,” Woosley said. “If I have to kill myself, that is what it is going to take, and I am OK with that. I was nervous. I stalk milesplit — I am not going to lie. I saw that (Butler) ran 5:10.”
Woosley also won the 3,200 (12:17.33). Other Watkins winners were Stephanie Robb in the 400 (59.08) and Sammi Miller in the pole vault (9-3).
Other winners were Heath’s Alexis McJunkins in the shot put (33-10.25) and Brianna Walsh in the discus (100-9), Johnstown’s Elizabeth Blenk in the long jump (16-4.25) and Kendall Colvin in the high jump (5-3), Butler in the 800 (2:20.02) and Licking Heights’ Skyler Ortiz in the 100 hurdles (15.42).