By Rob Kiser
All eyes were on Piqua senior high jumper Ashley Ho Tuesday afternoon Alexander Stadium/Purk Field as the girls high jump competition was drawing to a close.
And while Ho will admit she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight — she did not disappoint.
On her second attempt at 5-5 1-4, Ho sailed over the bar at the Miami County Invitational on Piqua’s Senior Night, as she she set the school record she had been chasing all year.
The previous record was 5-5 by AngelaKatifiaz.
“I wanted that one quarter inch,” Ho said with a smile about claiming the record for herself. “I normally don’t like the spotlight, but I think it helped having everybody around here. Being at a place where I was familiar with the standards and the high jump area.”
And while Ho missed on three attempts at 5-6, she hopes she is not done soaring to new heights.
“At the beginning of the year, I think the goal was 5-6,” she said. “But now, after tonight — I am thinking 5-7, maybe even 5-8. That would probably qualify me for state, which is something I have never done.”
The seed was planted early this year.
“The very first dual meet against Sidney,” Piqua girls track and field coach Courtney Downs said. “She didn’t get the record that night, but she was close. Ever since then, she has been going for the record.”
Last Saturday, at the Vandalia Invitational, Ho cleared 5-4 for the first time and could have gone for the record.
“I asked her if she wanted to go for the record — and she elected to go for the meet record, which is 5-6,” Downs said. “Tonight was her time. She is a senior and this was the time to do it.”
As one by one, the other competitors went out, it became just Ho and her quest for the record.
After missing her first attempt at 5-5 and 1-4, she got some advice from another coach.
“The Bradford coach told me to go more to the side (with her steps),” Ho said. “That kind of helped relax me. It is just kind of good to have the stress of getting the record out of the way.”
The adjustment didn’t surprise Downs.
“The great thing about Ashley (Ho) is she is smart enought, she can kind of coach herself and do that on her own,” she said. “She understands what she needs to do.”
And Downs expects her to just keep soaring.
“When you start talking about 5-7, 5-8 — those are heights that would put her high on the podium at state,” Downs said. “She’s won the GWOC, she’s won the district, she’s been to regionals twice. Now, she wants to go beyond that and get to state and I think she can do that.”
Piqua also got third-place finishes from Lauryn Gray in the 100 hurdles, 17.46 and 300 hurdles, 51.15; as they finished fourth in the team standings.
Troy girls won the team title, racking up 216.33 points.
Covington was second with 127, followed by Miami East 115.33, Piqua 48, Milton-Union 44.5, Tippecanoe 43, Bradford 28, Newton 17.33, Troy Christian 15 and Bethel 7.5.
The Lady Buccs got wins from Natalie Snyder, 100 hurdles, 17.07; Lauren Christian, shot put, 37-9; and the 1,600 relay (Rayna Horner, Morgan Lowe, Paige Boehringer, Breanna Kimmel), 4:08.85.
Finishing second were Breanna Kimmel, 100, 13.24; Horner, 200, 26.80 and 400, 59.27; and the 800 relay (Maci White, Tori Lyle, Lowe, Breanna Kimmel), 1:53.80.
Taking third were Breanna Kimmel, 200, 26.84; Anna Dunn, 3,200, 11:45.84; Christian, discus, 106-3; Kelsey Dysinger (tie for third), pole vault, 8-0; the 400 relay (White, Lyle, Snyder, Lowe), 53.98; and the 3,200 relay (Boehringer, Kelsey Dysinger, Danielle Alexander, Ashlyn Plessinger), 10:34.08.
East got wins from Marie Ewing, 800, 2:23.86; and Jillian Wesco, long jump, 16-3 1-2.
Taking second were Kaitlyn Mack, 300 hurdles, 49.73; Morgan Rose, pole vault, 8-6; the 400 relay (Wesco, Ashlyn Monnin, Bailey Miller, Danielle Bourelle), 53.83; the 1,600 relay (Rachel Ondera, Lindsey Yingst, Ewing, Gabrielle Hawkins), 4:12.20; and the 3,200 relay (Yingst, Lorenza Savini, Mack, Ewing), 10:15.25.
Finishing third were Hawkins, 100, 13.37 and 400, 59.67; Yingst, 800, 2:32.85; Liza Bair, high jump, 5-2; and the 800 relay (Wesco, Monnin, Bailey Miller, Bourelle), 1:57.14.
Bradford’s Karmen Knepp had another strong showing, winning the 3,200, 11:36.29; and finishing second in the 1,600, 5:19.86.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.