Hard work pays off

CORTLAND – Last season, the Girard girls track and field team peaked too early, and it showed.

The Indians performed well at the Trumbull County meet, but when the postseason rolled around, they took the runner-up trophy at districts and qualified just the 4×200-meter relay team to Columbus.

This season, the Indians changed the training schedules, adding tougher workouts and looked to peak for the postseason, and they saw the fruits of those labors come to fruition on Saturday at the Division II district meet at Don Richards Memorial Stadium, taking home the district championship with a total of 124 points.

“We came in with an attitude that we’re going to come in and take the title – we’re going to work to take it,” Girard coach John Spano said. “You have a lot of girls working through injuries to make that happen – a lot of guts.”

Beating second-place Ursuline by 34 points, Girard recorded points in every event outside of the shot put and sometimes had multiple athletes to score in an event.

Seven individual Indians and three relay teams finished in the top four of events to qualify for the regional meet next week in Austintown. They also had four titles. Senior Alexis Cloud and junior Caitlyn Trebella set new meet records in the 300 hurdles (45.75) and pole vault (9 feet, 6 inches), and senior Justine Kagy and sophomore Savannah Teter took home district titles in the 400 (59.75) and the high jump (5-3.5).

“Last year, we came close, and so this year, we tried to put everyone in different events so we could score enough points to finally win (a district title),” Kagy said. “For our seniors, it was our last year, and we just had to do it for us.”

The Indians showcased some depth that they lacked last year, which they gained with a strong freshman class.

This year’s freshmen won the junior high state track meet last year, and some of them made an immediate impact on a senior-laden squad. Makayla Trebella placed fourth in the 400 with a time of 1:00.7, while the 4×100 relay that finished in third had three freshmen run a leg – Emily Marsico, Kacian Hamilton and Tarayla Wolfe.

Both Cloud and Kagy said they love the dedication they see from their younger teammates and blending them into the team wasn’t an issue.

“The freshmen that came up this year, they’re a good class,” Cloud said. “When they came up, they were ready to go and we have good leaders with our seniors. It’s really awesome that we have more people this year.”

While the Indians can check off one goal set for this season, they have an even bigger goal in mind – to advance to the state level. Spano said the hope is to advance as many of the seven individuals and three relay teams to Columbus as possible.

“We’ll be in good shape at regionals,” Spano said. “Trying to get the title is going to be tough with all the teams coming in, but we’ll be very competitive. We’re hoping to get our individuals out and our relays out to the state level.”

The athletes themselves seem to be very confident about their chances.

“As long as everyone still feels good, I think our chances are good because we’ve done things a lot differently this year,” Cloud said. “We’ve done harder workouts to set ourselves up for this, so I think we’ll have pretty good chances.”

URSULINE RELAYS RUN STRONG: The Ursuline 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams set new district meet marks en route to winning their events.

The 4×100 team of Korree Cotton, Precious Williams, Paige Hall and Alexandra Carnathan blitzed for a 49.68, which beat the mark they set on Thursday in the preliminary race. The 4×200 team of Makayla Berry, Lavonte Powell, Carnathan and Williams beat the two-year mark of 1:46.08 by CVCA with a 1:44.88.