AUSTINTOWN - When the Girard girls needed someone to fill in the anchor spot on the 4x200-meter relay team, freshman Makayla Trebella stepped up and answered the call.
Girard senior Destiny Hall, the anchor and arguably the best leg on the relay, pulled her hamstring during the annual All-American Conference meet two weeks ago, and the 4x200 team needed a replacement.
Although Makayla is only a freshman, she made one of the biggest impacts on the team Saturday afternoon in the Division II regional meet at Austintown-Fitch High School. She took on Hall's anchor role and helped the trio of Caitlyn Trebella, Justine Kagy and Alexis Cloud make it to state by placing fourth.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Girard’s Alexis Cloud, center, competes in the girls 300-meter hurdles against South Range’s Raianne Mason, right, and Katie Straus during the Division II regional finals in Austintown.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Garfield’s Anthony Workman clears the bar during the boys high jump event. Workman finished sixth.
Going into the last leg of the race, Girard was neck and neck with Ursuline, but Makayla's lean at the end gave her the edge.
Trebella's sister, Caitlyn, was the first leg of the 4x200 team and got a chance to run with her sister in a relay for the first time.
"It was a dream of mine to run with my sister in a relay and I got to do it and it was really great," Makayla said
Caitlyn shared those same sentiments with her sister. Although she was disappointed that Hall sustained an injury and could not compete, she was happy to be able run with her sister.
"I'm so unbelievably proud of my sister for stepping up as a freshman and coming out here and just tearing it up," Caitlyn said. "It's definitely cool. My parents were really, really excited."
Makayla's teammate Kagy said the 4x200 set the bar for the rest of the meet.
"It came down to the end, and we didn't know until we looked up at the board because we didn't know if it was us or Ursuline who crossed first, and we just hugged and were so relieved," Kagy said.
Makayla also was the key anchor on the girls 4x400 team that earned a second-place finish, good enough for state. The finish also was good enough for the Indians to secure the team runner-up spot.
Girard's and Ursuline's bids for meet runner-up went down to the wire, and the 4x400 was the event that sealed the deal for the Indians.
"All the girls have a big heart," Indians coach John Spano said. "I went to them and said, 'Girls, we need third or better to get runner-up in this meet,' and they said, 'Coach, we got this.' "
After the 4x200, Makayla said that if Hall is healthy enough to compete in the state meet next week, she will be more than willing to allow her to take back her spot in the relay.
"It was my honor to take her spot because eventually, I hope she gets better because she can take my spot and run in the state meet," Makayla said.
Selflessness and sacrifice for the team must run in the Trebella family, too.
Caitlyn, who placed second in the pole vault to advance to state, jumped a personal-record 10 feet in the pole vault and chose not to jump anymore after reaching the mark. Content with the leap and thinking of her team first, she placed the Indians' priorities above her own.
"She came to me and she goes, 'Coach do you mind if I don't jump anymore?,' " Spano said. "She was second at that time. She says, 'I want to see if I can get this 4x2 through and get my sister into this meet,' and I said that's fantastic."
According to Spano, the Trebellas' team-first attitude rubs off on everyone else as well.
"Every one of them are like that," Spano said of the girls. "They'll do anything for each other."
Girard also will send an individual to state next week. Cloud, who was the third leg of the 4x200 and second leg of the 4x400, placed third in the 300-meter hurdles.
"It's so great, like everything I've done all summer and winter and now finally pays off, and I can proudly say I made it to state" Cloud said. "We went last year and it was great, but we wanted to see if we could go again this year."
Cloud said last year she didn't even make it out of districts and now one year later, here she is going to state in three different events.
"It's awesome," Cloud said. "To come back and go to state, it's a great feeling."
Since this is Girard's first regional runner-up trophy as a team, these Indians may go down in history as one of the best Girard track teams of all time, if not, the best.
"This group has been special," Spano said. "This group has been competitive all four years growing up, and last year when they got to regionals in the 4x4, they didn't make it out, and everybody was heartbroken, but they remember those things, and they take that into the next year and they work harder to get where they have to get."
Spano said his girls always strive for perfection, and next weekend at state, they hope to cement their legacy and earn one more trophy to place in the halls of Girard High School.
"They're gonna give it everything that they have," Spano said. "They're not going to take a second seat to anybody, and they're just gonna go out there and compete, and that's what they do all the time."
Other Trumbull County state qualifiers: Hubbard junior Matt Jones earned second place in the boys shot put with a throw of 54 feet, 5 inches. Lakeview senior Jordan Lowther placed fourth in the boys shot with a throw of 51-9.5. Lakeview senior Christopher Edie advanced to state in the 3200-meter run with a personal-best time of 9:50.46. Liberty senior Courtney Lukac advanced to state in the girls 800 with a personal-best and school-record time of 2:16.83.