Rockets girls earn fourth straight SBC title

Rockets girls earn fourth straight SBC title

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Rockets girls earn fourth straight SBC title

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CASTALIA

Oak Harbor freshman Athena Eli knows how important her team’s four seniors have been to sustained success that includes a fourth straight Sandusky Bay Conference championship after Friday’s meet.

And her teammates know the significance of the reinforcements Eli brought with her as outstanding performer for the girls meet. Eli won the 400 and was part of first-place 4×400 and 4×200 relays.

“It’s a great feeling,” Eli said. “It makes you feel like the hard work and practice pay off. It’s the best feeling in the world, especially coming to a new school but they brought me in like family and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Eli seemed to take extra pride in sharing each relay with at least one senior. Andrea Cecil, Allie Jett and senior Allie Dombrowsky rounded out the 4×400 relay while Jett, Karis DeWalt and senior Sidney Allen completed the 4×200 relay.

“My fantastic team,” Eli said. “It’s four girls running hard and pushing themselves. We do that every race. We have to show them what we’ve got and come through.”

There is a unique pressure for a freshman who already doubles as a team standout.

“There’s pressure to win for them and give it all you’ve got,” Eli said. “(The seniors) have. It will be hard without them next year.

“(The pressure) makes you want to give your all and show what you’re made of. I don’t think age matters. You’re the underdog but you can prove yourself.”

Eli put no limitations on herself as a freshman.

“You want to push yourself and set goals high,” Eli said. “Achieving them makes it the best. I didn’t know so much could happen so soon. You set high goals and when you do it, it’s unbelievable. It was a surprise. I can’t express how happy I am.

“There’s pressure but it all pays off. It’s nerve-racking and exciting — as a freshman you’re nervous.”

Oak Harbor senior Jordan Giesler won the discus Friday. Allen, Dombrowsky, Jett and Rebekah Rayburn won the 4×100 relay.

“I was ranked second going in,” Giesler said. “I won on my last throw. I’ve been throwing for four years and this is my first SBC title. I’ve worked hard but always been second best. Hard work paid off. It was a relief to break through. Within the last few weeks I’ve thrown my best. I’m looking forward to districts.”

Senior Allie Dresser said the Rockets consider the championships to be a team competition.

“We compete as a team,” she said. “We all come together when we need to. We couldn’t win without everyone doing their part. (The title) means the world. I’m blessed to have girls who love the sport as much as I do and compete. We knew it would be close and we’re looking forward to districts.”

But first they’ll allow a fourth straight conference crown to sink in.

“It’s a big deal to bring that (championship) home for a fourth time,” said Eli, who hopes to play a similar role to the current seniors down the road.

Oak Harbor coach John McKitrick said Allen, Giesler, Dombrowsky and Dresser are the team’s torch.

“What they did motivating this group to SBC champions and the invites — they taught the kids how to win in a respectful fashion,” he said. “They make our job as coaches very simple. Seniors are not always so welcoming. It’s noteworthy for the four seniors to go out on a high note like this.”

Collin Rieman won the 400 and Ben Wollenslegel won the high jump as Clyde’s boys were second.

“My main goal was to win the 400 seeded first,” Rieman said. “I knew I’d have to push through my three other events and keep my strength for the 400. Coming around the backstretch, me and Danzell (Harris of Huron) were head to head. I pushed to get past him, heard his footsteps and brought it home.

“I was second last year to (Clyde graduate) Adam Turner. He pushed me to be the best I could be.”

Paula Wollenslegel won the high jump as Clyde’s girls were fifth.

Tyler Sievert won the 800 as Oak Harbor’s boys were fourth.

Margaretta’s boys were seventh while the girls were eighth. Perkins’ boys won their portion for the eighth consecutive season.

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Rockets girls earn fourth straight SBC title
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