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Tiger girls track could be set for huge season

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: March 29, 2017 12:00 AM
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A well-rounded Twinsburg girls track and field team could make some noise this spring.

The Tigers are paced by a deep corps of sprinters and relay runners and should score well in other areas under Sarah Kmet, who takes over the head coaching duties.

"We return all-Ohio sprinters in Rocki Jones and Nya Bussey," said Kmet, who also coaches the cross country program. "I think we are a well-rounded team."

"We will spend the regular season experimenting with line-ups, but we have the talent to win both the Suburban League and district meet, plus have the potential to qualify for states in several events."

Both Jones (a junior) and Bussey (a sophomore) are returning state qualifiers in the relays.

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The standout sprinters and relay runners each ran in the 400-meter relay team that placed fourth in Ohio in 47.81 seconds, plus the sixth-place 800 relay, which won a regional crown with a school record of 1 minutes, 39.22 seconds.

Twinsburg placed third the Division I regionals after winning the Division I district championship at Nordonia.

Jones just missed states as she ran fifth overall in the 100 in regionals after a winning a district title. Bussey reached the 100 regional finals and scored, but Bussey beat Jones in the league meet.

"They (Jones and Bussey) will lead our sprint corps," said Kmet, who is in her 11th season of coaching track.

Bussey also scored in the 200 as she ran seventh becoming a rare two-event sprint regional placer as a freshman. She was a district runner up in the 200.

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Jones and Bussey ran on Twinsburg's gifted 400-meter relay team that won a district championship, set a district meet record as well as a stadium record of 47.94 seconds.

Junior regional qualifier Kelsey Dunn also returns as she scored in the discus for the Lady Tigers.

Dunn was also fifth in the shot put in districts and missed regionals by two inches and was third in the league at 36-feet, 1.0 inches.

"Kelsey is a returning regional qualifier looking to make it to state this year," said the mentor.

A deep sprint and relay crew will also include senior Chelsi Billingsley, junior Camari Griffin and sophomore Nia Robinson.

"I expect significant contributions from Robinson and Griffin," said Kmet. "Seniors Chelsi Billingsley and Kayla Westbrook are veterans with experience. Freshman Alyssa Willis and sophomore Mariah Myles could make some noise."

Griffin and Robinson are promising athletes who ran in the Tiger's 1,600 relay that just missed regionals. Griffin just missed regionals in the open 400 as well.

Billingsley ran in the league champion 800 relay last spring.

Kmet is high on her distance crew, which has plenty of depth.

"Distance-wise, we are deep across the board," she said.

"Freshmen Alyssa Deeds and Rebecca Mold, sophomore Makenzie Hartman, junior Emily O'Connor, and seniors Morgan Kelley and Kayley Irwin will lead our distance crew."

AT districts, the Tiger's 3,200 relay ran fifth overall and just missed regionals as Kelley ran in the relay.

Kelley also ran seventh and scored in districts in the 3,200 race, and Hartman ran 10th.

According to Kmet, senior Nicole Bekesz will add depth along with sophomore Angela DeFabio, plus freshmen Desha Perera, Annabelle Dolney and Gillian McKenna.

Twinsburg will have some youth in the field events, but senior Tayler Gill returns after a strong showing in last year's league meet in the shot put.

Gill also throws the discus while senior Cydney Washington will help in the throws along with junior Amanda Pagano and sophomore Gabriel Pendelton.

"We are young in the jumps -- sophomores Lauren Little and Taryn Vander Weit return from last year," said Kmet.

"Julia Henderson and Trisha Singh, a sophomore and freshman respectively, will help us in both the hurdles and the high jump.

Twinsburg opened the spring at North Royalton March 28, but final results weren't available as of press time.

The Lady Tigers compete April 4 at Brecksville in a league meet and run at the Kenston Invitational April 7 before hosting Stow-Munroe Falls in a league meet April 11.

Dalanda Jackson is an assistant coach who heads the sprint and hurdle crews, Danee Pinckney coaches the sprinters and jumpers, plus Roger Buell works with the pole vault team as the Tigers have some new coaches.

Returning coaches are Chuck Glover (high jump) and Anthony Byrd (throws), plus Gus Crichlow will be helping with distance runners.

Twinsburg will miss graduates like Emmarie Foote, who qualified for states in the 400 relay (4th), the 800 relay (6th), and in the 200 (7th), plus Lauren McKinley, who ran in the 400 and 800 relays.

Bridget Keenan is also gone after placing 9th in Ohio in the discus while other standouts lost to graduation were Rachael Lovett (distance), Alexi Jones (jumps), and Brianna Sanborn (relays).

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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