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Twinsburg Tiger girls win regional track title

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: May 31, 2017 12:00 AM
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Behind the talents of Nya Bussey, the Twinsburg girls track team captured a team regional meet championship.

The gifted sophomore qualified for the state championships in four different events at the Division I Austintown Fitch Regional Meet May 24 and May 26.

In regional action, the top four finishers advanced to the State Championships June 2-3 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University.

Outscoring Solon 60-53, the Lady Tigers won the regional girls crown while Twinsburg's boys netted 15 points to place 15th overall at Spartan Stadium.

Girls head coach Sarah Kmet was excited about performances for both teams.

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"I thought that the girls put together their strongest team effort of the year to win the regional championship," said Kmet.

A gutsy effort from the 1,600-meter relay team clinched the team title for Twinsburg.

"Every event we competed in, we scored in," said Kmet. "The boys did not fare quite as well, but Christian Edgerson made it to states."

Bussey qualified for states in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, the 400-meter relay, and in the 800-meter relay.

"Nya qualified in the four events to lead our efforts," said Kmet.

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In the 100-meter race, Bussey captured second-place overall despite a rough start. She ran second in 12.43 seconds behind Euclid champion Caisja Chandler, who won in 12.12 ticks.

"She (Bussey) did not have a great start in the 100, but recovered nicely," offered Kmet.

Twinsburg's young and talented 800-meter relay won a regional crown with a time of 1-minute, 42.59 seconds.

Making up the 800 quartet was freshman Alyssa Willis, sophomore Mariah Myles, sophomore Nia Robinson, and Bussey.

Senior Morgan Kelley had a sensational meet as did Robinson, who qualified for states in three events.

Kelley followed a personal record (PR) in the districts with another PR in regionals as she was the runner-up in the 1,600-meter race. Kelley crossed in 5:09.92, just behind Solon champion Olivia Howell (5:08.53).

"Morgan ran a near-perfect race and qualify for the state meet for the first time in her career," said Kmet.

"Her eight points in that event were pivotal to the team winning the meet."

The Tiger's equally young 400-meter relay also garnered runner-up honors to reach states. Their time was 48.93 seconds.

Kmet's 400-meter relay included sophomore Briona McDonald, Willis, junior Camari Griffin, and Bussey as the anchor.

Robinson raced to a third-place in a loaded 400-meter race at Fitch. Her time was a blazing 57.42 ticks.

"Nia Robinson qualified in the 400, 4x200 relay, and the 4x400 relay," said Kmet. "Despite a scary final exchange in the 1,600 relay, she ran an awesome anchor leg to place second and clinch the team title."

A deep 1,600-meter relay field, youthful Twinsburg secured fourth-place behind Myles, sophomore Julia Henderson, Griffin, and Robinson.

"The girls capped a phenomenal evening by finishing second in the 4x4 relay in a huge season best of 3:55.98," said Kmet.

Bussey fought for her state berth in the 200-meter dash as she took fourth and the final qualifying spot at Spartan Stadium with a time of 25.57 seconds.

Boys coach Dalanda Jackson had one state qualifier in Edgerson, but the young Tigers had a great season, capped by a district team championship.

Edgerson, a junior, placed third overall in the long jump at regionals with a leap of 22-feet, 9.25 inches. He qualified for states.

"Christian returns to state after having qualified last year," said Kmet.

Senior Sean Silas placed fifth in the long jump at Fitch, just missing a state berth.

Silas capped a brilliant career by qualifying for regionals in four events. In the long jump, he hit for 21-11.5 feet.

Sophomore Etaijen "ET" Easter continues to open up some eyes as he just missed reaching states in the high jump.

Easter lifted to a personal record of 6-4 feet and has immense potential.

The height of 6-5 feet was what won the title by Fitch regional champ Jakari Lumsden and runner up Dai'Quan Johnson (Massillon GlenOak) while Maple Heights' Ronald Bright and Canton McKinley's Deshawn White cleared 6-4.

Easter and Lumsden (a junior) were the only underclassmen among the top five.

"ET just missed states in his first regional appearance and cleared a PR," said Kmet. "This performance comes from a young man who is new to the sport and has only been jumping a few months."

Senior Omar Perrin also competed in the high jump at Fitch and will be missed.

Silas reached the finals in the 200, where he was eighth in 23.35 ticks. He had a 22.91 time in the prelims.

The 800 relay just missed the finals with a time of 1:31.32 behind the running of Silas, Edgerson, junior Khalid Thornton, and sophomore Kaleb East.

East ran 10th in the 100 in 23.41 ticks and was the highest finishing sophomore in the event.

Edgerson also ran 13th in the 100 (11.28) while Thornton was 16th (11.51). The 400 relay ran 14th in 44.76 seconds with Silas, East, Edgerson, and sophomore Gilbert Campbell.

Other girls who scored for Twinsburg included junior Emily O'Connor and standout freshman Alyssa Deeds, who ran sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 3,200 race.

O'Connor had a strong time of 11:23.81 while Deeds was at 11:23.97. Kmet called their point-producing races "gutsy".

The 3,200-meter relay ran seventh in a loaded field in 9:48.11. This group had Kelley, sophomore Angela DeFabio, Deeds, and O'Connor.

Junior Kelsey Dunn competed in the shot put, where she had a toss of 33-9.25 feet.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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