By Rob Kiser
TROY — Covington hurdler Cade Harshbarger is happy to be heading back to the state meet.
Covington sprinter Rayna Horner can’t wait for the experience.
Both won regional titles Friday night at the Troy Division III regional track and field meet at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Harshbarger led the boys to a second-place finish in the team standings, winning the 300 hurdles in 40.48 and finishing second in the 110 hurdles in 15.21.
“You always want to win,” Harshbarger said about the 110 hurdles race to start his night. “But, I ran a PR, so I can’t complain about that. Definitely, it was a goal to get back to state.”
In the 300 hurdles, Harshbarger was neck-and-neck with several hurdlers before exploding ahead after going over the last hurdle to win in 40.48.
“There are always going to be guys pushing you,” Harshbarger said. “It feels good to win.”
He had run a 39.82 in prelims on Wednesday.
“That was my first time under 40,” he said. “I was really hoping to do it again. We will see what happens at state.”
Harshbarger will have several teammates with him at state.
The 1,600 relay (Zane Barnes, Gray Harshbarger, Jayce Pond, Nathan Lyle) ran a 3:26.48 to advance, while Zach Parrett had finished third in the high jump, clearing 6-2.
On Wednesday, Jett Murphy had advanced in the pole vault.
Horner helped Covington to a third-place finish in the team standings.
She was the favorite in the 400 and did not disappoint, winning in 58.02 in a race that was close to the wire.
“It is always going to be close,” Horner said. “They push me so much. I pushed so hard that last 100 meters. I had nothing left when I got to the finish line.”
The other runners weren’t the only thing pushing Horner, who had finished fifth at the regional last year to miss state by one spot.
“I wasn’t going to be fifth again,” Horner said. “I wanted to win. I wanted to make sure I was going to state.”
Now, she will run in Jesse Owens Stadium at the state meet on Friday.
“I am so excited,” she said. “I can’t wait to run against that competition. It is going to be amazing.”
The night got better for Horner, who teamed with Morgan Lowe, Paige Boehringer and Breanna Kimmel for a third-place finish in the 1,600 relay in 3:59.74.
That lowered their school record and earned them a trip to state.
“I am so proud of my girls on the relay team,” Horner said. “We have worked so hard. At the beginning of the year, we just wanted to break the school record. We didn’t know this (going to state) was even going to be a possibility.”
They will have some company.
Lauren Christian, who had advanced in the shot put Wednesday with a second-place finish, added a second-place finish in the discus Friday.
She was sitting in fourth place before uncorking a throw of 118-11 on her first throw in the finals.
Kimmel also advanced in the 100-meter dash, finishing fourth in 12.90.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.