COLUMBUS — Minster got to the top of the podium after the first event in the state track and field meet on Friday at Jesse Owens Stadium and hopes there again after the last event on Saturday.
The Wildcats’ 4×800 relay of Emma Watcke, Kaitlynn Albers, Madeline Magoto and Cassie Francis finished first in 9:18 — 12 seconds ahead of second-place Gilmour Academy.
“It feels great to start off the tournament with a bang,” Magoto said. “We’re just hoping the rest of the weekend goes our way and that our hard works pays off.”
Minster has finished as Division III runner-up the last three years, including a narrow second-place finish behind Anna last year. They’re out to get a title this year and are in a good position after qualifying for Saturday’s finals in three relays.
The 4×800 relay was the only track final held on Friday, while all field event finals were held Friday.
Minster is in second place in team standings behind Findlay Liberty-Benton. The Wildcats amassed 18 points on Friday, thanks to the 4×800 relay’s victory and Grace Butler and Paige Thobe finishing fifth in pole vault and long jump, respectively.
The 4×800 was the first event on Friday morning, and Minster fell behind early against Mohawk in the first two legs while Francis and Albers ran. Watcke and Magoto pulled the Wildcats way ahead late as Mohawk fell behind (ultimately to 13th place).
Francis said the group was confident heading into the relay.
“It was no different (today),” Francis said. “We just go out and do our thing, and we did. They all raced awesome.”
Francis is a senior, Albers and Magoto are juniors and Watcke is a sophomore. The same four competed in the 4×800 last year and finished third in 9:22.
“We all share the same goals and sacrifice so much together,” Albers said. “I think that those bonds and those relationships just carried through.”
Butler was fifth in pole vault by clearing 17-3.75 to finish fifth. Thobe was fifth in long jump with a leap of 17-3.75.
The Wildcats qualified for Saturday’s finals in all three relays during preliminary races on Friday. The top nine finishers qualified for Saturday’s finals.
Paige Thobe, Jessica Falk, Lillian Hirschfeld and Ivy Wolf finished seventh the 4×100 relay in 50.80. The same four were ninth in the 4×200 in 1:47. Francis, Magoto, Hirschfeld and Courtney Prenger were seventh in the 4×400 in 4:03.41.
In addition to the relays, Watcke and Gwen Meiring will run in the 3,200-meter run on Saturday, Watcke will run in the 1,600 and Francis will run in the 800.
Cavaliers make three finals
Lehman Catholic girls were in three races — and all made Saturday’s finals.
Senior Alanna O’Leary teamed with sophomores Rylie McIver and Lauren McFarland and freshman Lindsey Magoteaux for the third fastest time in the 4×100 relay in 50.69.
“I was the only one who had run over here before,” O’Leary said. “So, to get to finals, I think the pressure is off a little bit. Those three have run here now.”
McFarland used one word to describe the experience.
“Crazy,” she said.
McIver had a similar reaction.
“Awesome,” she said. “I can tell you I have never experienced anything like this (the atmosphere at Jesse Owens Stadium).”
O’Leary has the sixth fastest time in the 200-meter dash (26.07).
“I ran a pretty good time today,” O’Leary said. “We will see how it goes. You always want to finish high on the podium. For the relay team, winning is always a good goal.”
Magoteaux has the ninth fastest time in the 100 (12.81).
“It feels good to make finals in both events,” she said.
Fort Loramie, New Bremen, Botkins girls advance
Fort Loramie’s Kennedi Gephart qualified for Saturday’s finals in two events on Friday. She was third in the 200-meter dash in 25.87 and fifth in the 400 dash in 58.33.
Fort Loramie’s Alyssa Wrasman tied for eighth in 100 hurdles (15.256).
New Bremen’s Macy Puthoff was sixth in long jump with 17-1.5.
Botkins’ Adriana Jutte finished eighth in 300 hurdles in 46.30, while New Bremen’s Julia Goettemoeller was ninth (46.63).
Goettemoeller, Rachel Kremer, Macy Puthoff and Paige Jones were eighth in the 4×400 in 4:03.69, just behind Minster.
Three more relays for Versailles
Ellen Peters has the opportunity for three podium finishes tomorrow for tomorrow
The 4×400 relay (Liz Watren, Ellen Peters, Lindsey Winner, Kenia McEldowney) has the fifth fastest time (4:00.32) the 4×200 relay (Cassie Peters, Watren, Ellen Peters, Ava Moran) has the eighth fastest time (1:44.87) and the 4×100 relay (Lucy Prakel, Ellen Peters, Ali Moran, Ava Moran) has the ninth fastest time (49.97).
“I don’t feel like we ran up to what we were seeded,” Peters said. “There is some strong competition over here and we need to step up to the challenge.”
Peters is hoping to add three more medals to her collection.
“I am not as nervous over here as I have been in the past,” she said. “I think the 4×4 should be shooting for top five. The 4×2 should be shooting for top six and the 4×1 at this point, we are just hoping to medal.”
Shoemaker qualifies in 300 hurdles
Anna’s Hannah Shoemaker had a rough go in the 100 hurdles, but she bounced back in the 300. She finished 17th out of 18 runners in the 100 (15.89) but came in fourth in the 300 (44.70) to earn a spot in Saturday’s finals.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.