Girard, Lakeview take second

CORTLAND – Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy has garnered much respect around the state with its distance programs.

Saturday, CVCA captured the boys and girls Division II Lakeview district track and field team titles as another distinction.

However, this isn’t the Royals’ first rodeo here. They swept districts last year as well.

“CVCA is good, real good,” said Lakeview boys coach Mark Swinning, whose boys team took second to CVCA, 129-89. “I think they have a shot at a state title this year if they can get guys out of the regional. They’re really good.”

Girard took its second straight runners-up district trophy, falling short to the Royals, 118-85.5.

“They have the depth,” Girard coach John Spano said. “We don’t have the depth that they have. Our girls give it everything they have every time out.”

Frankly, the Indians weren’t looking for second this season, Destiny Hall said.

“It would be a big accomplishment, but we’re not going for second,” she said after the team’s 4×400 relay and before knowing the final results. “We’re going for first. We don’t say, ‘Oh yea, we want to get second.’ We’re going for first.”

Earlier this season, during the indoor campaign, Girard’s girls 4×200- and 4×400-meter relay teams placed in the top two at the Division II-III Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches meet in Akron.

“Those girls have worked since the early days of the indoor season,” Spano said. “They haven’t stopped working. They stay after practice, longer than anyone else. They know what it’s all about.”

Saturday, the 4×400 placed third and the 4×200 team of Alexis Cloud, Justine Kagy, Caitlyn Trebella and Hall was first in a time of 1 minute, 47.65 seconds – about two seconds faster than their time coming into the district finals.

The top four in each district final advance to next week’s regional at Bedford High School.

Last season, the Indians took fifth in the 4×200 and seventh in the 4×400 at Bedford. The top four in each regional final advance to state.

This year, Girard wants to reverse its fortune.

“Our main goal is state. That’s it,” said Hall, who took second in the 200.

As for Lakeview, like Girard, it has a strong contingent heading to regionals.

The Bulldogs boys Jordan Lowther, who took second in the discus Thursday, advanced in the shot put. Pole Vaulter A.J. Miller was second.

“I’m really proud of the way our guys competed today,” Swinning said. “Ben Biehl was fifth in the 100 by 1/2-tenth of a second and fifth in the 200 by four one-hundredths of a second. He ran his heart out. Some of the other guys, Eric Harris in the 800 and 1,600, he ran some nice races there and scored a lot of points for us.”

And the 4×100 took second, “which was nice to see those guys go out and have three solid exchanges and have a nice race.”

Regionals might be interesting for Lakeview.

“We’re getting enough guys to the regional where we can make some noise there,” Swinning said. “Who knows? Maybe we can get some guys to Columbus and finish out the season on a real high note.”

HURDLING TO BEDFORD: LaBrae senior Megan Gunther won the 300 hurdles (46.86). She beat out Crestwood’s Marissa Midgley, who tumbled after the finish line and was lying on the ground minutes after the race.

“She’s the sweetest thing,” Gunther said. “She’s been running with me since freshman year. She’s so supportive. I love her. She really pushed me in that race.”

Gunther took second to Streetsboro’s Destiny King, who set a district record of 15.05, in the 100 hurdles. Gunther ran 15.10.

“Not my best 100 hurdle time today, but it’ll do for making it on to regionals,” Gunther said. “I really like running with Destiny. She really pushes me – 0.5 seconds apart. The 300 race was really exhilarating. Everybody was pushing each other.”

As for her lower back injury that hindered her from hurdling last month, she’s been able to control it. Gunther said she suppress the pain by ignoring it.

“It’s a character builder,” said Gunther, who will run for Youngstown State University next season. “I haven’t had a chance to run with an injury before. In college, I hear there’s a lot of injuries. Maybe this will condition me for that.”

JUMP FOR JOY: Champion senior Tyler Bishop placed first in the boys high jump with a jump of 6-1. He came into districts with a 6-2 under his belt. Garfield’s Alex Radwanski, who has jumped 6-6 this season, was second with 6-0.

Bishop is the first Golden Flashes high jump district champion since Andrew Austin won the event at the Division II Andover District meet. Austin went on to finish second in the state with a jump of 6-6. Dayton Stivers’ Nathan Davis took the state title that year (6-7.).