As the weather warmed up a little Saturday for the Newark Invitational, so did the performances for the girls.
Sophomore Tana Barrett overcame a disappointing high jump finish early on with a title in the 300 hurdles and a runner-up finish in the 1,600 relay, leading the Wildcats to an impressive third place out of 15 teams with 74 points. Westerville Central won with 92.83 and Dublin Scioto was second at 89.
With teams battling through biting wind and cold in the morning, Barrett placed fourth in the high jump at 4-feet-10.
“I was just cold. I had to wait for a while,” she said. “I needed to do a better job of warming up. I felt pretty good but just didn’t get enough jumps going in. I’m still aiming for 5-7.”
Barrett ran 50.09 in the 300 hurdles and ran on the second-place 1,600 relay (4:23.45) with Meghan Roche, Mylanda Bunch and Stacia Kyler. Roche also was third and Kyler fourth in the 800, and Lauren Fischer placed third in the 1,600.
The 3,200 relay of Roche, Bunch, Fischer and Kyler started the meet off with a bang, winning in 10:37.58.
“It was really tough with the wind, but you just have to push through it,” said Kyler, who was the anchor. “We have an amazing relay and did much better than last season in this meet. Coach re-did the order. Mylanda runs as hard as she can, and the third leg is improved a lot.”
Skyler Ortiz won the 100 hurdles in 16.44 for Licking Heights, which finished seventh with 44.5 points. Also winning was the 800 relay (1:51.19) of Mykala Suggs, Alexis Sanidad, Chanlier McBride and Mika Cox. Cameron Bryant took second in the 400 in 1:01.57.
“My time wasn’t quite what I wanted, but getting first place gives me a big lift going forward,” Ortiz said. “Usually, I run against the girl from Canal (Winchester) who is real fast. But she wasn’t here today.”
Heath was led by its third-place 3,200 relay of Kelsey Wilson, Ali Allen, Cheyenne Farris and Caity Rice. They ran an 11:10.08. The Bulldogs finished ninth with 32.33 points. Licking Valley was 15th with 5.5.
Coach Jeff Sheets said the meet, featuring many bigger schools, was good experience for the Bulldogs.
“We got to see how they would handle some adversity,” he said. “Between the weather and the competition, they had some big eyes at the beginning, but as it wore on, they competed. It showed we can run with these types of teams, and I think the Licking County League meet will be even tougher.”