By Rob Kiser
WEST MILTON — The Russia 3,200-meter relay team continues to pick up speed, while Houston’s Caity Falls soared to a district title in the high jump at the Milton-Union D-III district track and field meet Tuesday.
Coming off a meet record in the Shelby County League meet, the Lady Raiders added a new lead runner in winning the 4×800 in 9:40.31.
“It is always nice to get a PR at district,” Molly Kearns said with a smile after the race. “We changed up the order a little bit. Lauren (Heaton, who ran the 3,200 relay instead of 100) is a really good 800 runner. We did the same thing last year (Lauren Heaton moving to the 3,200 relay). It just depends on the situation, but we kind of figured that was going to happen.”
Chloe Flora of Botkins, who finished second in the state in the 1,600, was running the anchor leg for Botkins.
After Heaton, Kearns and Shaelynn Goubeaux built a lead for Russia, Grace York ran a strong anchor leg to hold off Covington and Botkins.
“I was really thinking about that (Chloe Flora running for Botkins),” York said. “I was just trying to make sure I stayed in the good position my teammates had put me in. Definitely, we want to keep running faster each week.”
It turned into a photo finish for second, with Covington’s Ashlyn Plessinger edging Flora.
Carly Shell, Paige Boehringer, Anna Dunn and Plessinger combined for a time of 9:43.16, while Botkins was clocked in 9:43.52.
“To be honest, I didn’t know who she (Chloe Flora) was,” Plessinger said with a laugh. “At the end, I didn’t think I could get her, but I did.”
Her teammates were excited watching the final leg.
“Ecstatic,” Dunn said. “I saw her (Chloe Flora) start to tighten up and I was thinking, ‘Go, go, go now.’”
The Lady Buccs like their position headed into regional.
“We thought we would make it out,” Shell said. “But, you are never sure what can happen.”
Miami East also advanced out of a loaded district, finishing fourth.
Lindsey Yingst, Lorenza Savini, Kaitlyn Mack and Marie Ewing were clocked in a time of 9:57.87.
The smile on Falls face told the story after she won the high jump by clearing 5-0.
Lydia Sink of Ansonia and Andrea Meyer of Fort Loramie also cleared 5-0, but Falls did it on her first attempt.
“I am really happy that I am going to regionals,” Falls said. “I tied a PR. My goal all year was to get to regionals. I am sure I will be nervous. I am already nervous thinking about it. I would like to get 5-2 at regionals.
Covington freshman Lillian Hamilton also advanced, clearing 4-10.
While she is not satisfied yet, Lehman senior Kassie Lee is on her way to regionals after placing second in the shot put with a put of 36-10 1-2.
“Thirty-six 11 something is my PR so I am getting close,” Lee said. “I am happy I made it to regionals, but my goal is to make it to state. If I can throw 37 at regionals, I will be good with that.”
Covington freshman Lauren Hebert also advanced, finishing third.
She had a put of 36-4 1-2, but appeared to injure herself on her final put of the night.
Those qualifying for Saturday’s finals included:
100 Hurdles: Natalie Snyder, Covington, 17.26; Kaitrin O’Leary, Lehman Catholic, 17.82; Kaityn Mack, Miami East, 18.29.
100: Breanna Kimmel, Covington, 13.02; Alanna O’Leary, Lehman Catholic, 13.21; Aliya Stine, Newton, 13.77.
800 Relay: Covington, 1:50.56; Miami East, 1:52.62; Russia, 1:54.74.
400 Relay: Miami East, 53.49; Covington, 55.61.
400: Lauren Heaton, Russia, 59.62; Alanna O’Leary, Lehman Catholic, 60.83; Rayna Horner, Covington, 61.16; Destiny Otte, Bradford, 64.72; Hollie Voisard, Houston, 64.87.
300 Hurdles: Kaitlyn Mack, Miami East, 49.99; Megan Frazier, Russia, 52.85; Kaitrin O’Leary, Lehman Catholic, 53.65.
800: Marie Ewing, Miami East, 2:31.15; Grace York, Russia, 2:37.54; Shaelyn Goubeaux, Russia, 2:37.96; Paige Boehringer, Covington, 2:38.21; Lexi Oburn, Newton, 2:39.33; Marie Schmiesing, Lehman Catholic, 2:40.31; Lindsey Yingst, Miami East, 2:44.86; Allie Voisard, Houston, 2:46.56; Janelle Gravunder, Lehman Catholic, 2:47.09.
200: Lauren Heaton, Russia, 26.39; Alanna O’Leary, Lehman Catholic, 26.61; Breanna Kimmel, Covington, 26.74; Rayna Horner, Covington, 27.35.
1,600 Relay: Covington, 4:13.98; Miami East, 4:15.65; Russia, 4:17.03; Bradford, 4:26.16; Lehman Catholic, 4:32.17.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.