Owls notch dual meet win over Smith-Cotton
While youth has led to a resurgence in the fortunes of Marshall's track and field team, sometimes it's good to be reminded that there are still some veterans around capable of turning in strong performances.
So it was on Tuesday, when senior Jay Ritter came up with four first-place runs and seniors Marshon Stephenson and Ashley Boland combined for six victories during the Owls' sweep of visiting Smith-Cotton.
The Marshall boys nipped the Tigers, 79-74, while the Lady Owls notched an 80-59 win.
Ritter had one of the best days of his career, breaking his personal-best record -- a 24.80-second run at the '99 Chillicothe Relays -- while taking the 200-meter dash (24.80). He was also first in the 400 (55.11) and ran legs in two winning relays. Ritter was joined by senior Derik Lavers, junior Aaron Kleinschmidt and sophomore Shaun Berning in the 800-meter relay (1:37.39) -- just .03 seconds off the season-low -- and Lavers, Berning and sophomore Justin Cary in the 1,600 relay (3:42.55).
Stephenson won for the second time this week in the 100-meter dash (13.64) -- with freshman Sherrell Fain (14.16) and senior Stacey Jasper (14.17) in the next two spots -- in her first try at the shot put (27 feet, five inches) and as the kickoff runner in the sprint relays, along with Jasper and Fain. Sophomore Brooke Jasper was the fourth part of the combo in the 400 relay (55.59) and sophomore Kim Coleman joined the trio in the 800 (1:55.56), which had its top time of the year.
Boland won the 100-meter high hurdles (18.64) for the third time this season and had her best mark of the campaign in the 300 low hurdles (53.65). In addition, junior Megan Kennedy claimed her fourth gold medal in the discus (92-0), junior Christina Crawford had a personal-best in the 3,200 (15:23.66), sophomore Katie Gremaud was first in the triple jump (27-0.75) and Brooke Jasper won the long jump (12-10).
Among the day's most gripping contests was the on-going battle between junior Sam Narron and sophomore Ashley Schlotzhauer in the high jump. Together, they have won six of Marshall's seven meets this season. This time, it was Schlotzhauer (5-0) -- equaling her individual standard -- who nipped Narron (4-10).
Solid second-place performances were turned in by freshman Tasha Gay in the 200 (30.31), Stacey Jasper in the 400 (1:09.73), Crawford in the 1,600 (7:05.34), junior Rachel Clemons in the discus (59-4), freshman Julia Stubblefield in the shot (26-7) and the 3,200-meter relay (12:20.03) team of Crawford, junior Becca Bolling and seniors Audrey Gieringer and Katie Crawford.
Junior B.J. Coslet posted his first victories in the discus (105-6) and shot put (38-8.5), with junior William Weinreich getting his longest throw to-date in the shot (34-8) and senior Randall Failor placing second in the discus (98-11).
The Owls made it a sweep of the relays, with Kleinschmidt and juniors Justin Frauenhoffer, Mike Bradley and Adam Nichols winning the 400 (48.52) and Frauenhoffer, Cary, Berning and junior Donnie Hardwick taking the 3,200 (9:00.00) -- shaving 8.59 seconds off the season low.
The most thrilling race of the day was Nichols' victory in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Sophomore Shannon Frauenhoffer led through the second turn, but Nichols (45.46) overtook him down the stretch to win by a mere .15 seconds. Frauenhoffer (45.61), though, turned in his career-low time.
Bradley had his best time while coming in second in the 110 high hurdles (21.07), as did sophomore James Chevalier in placing fourth in the 1,600 (5:26.22) and Cary in a third-place 800 (2:20.87) run.
Hardwick (59.80) and Lavers (1:01.3) -- sitting out the jumps while nursing a back injury -- were second and third, respectively, in the 400. Berning was runner-up in the 800 (2:07.78), as was Justin Frauenhoffer in the 1,600 (5:16.99) and 3,200 (11:27.69).
Overall, it was a promising day for the Marshall squad, which won 11 of 17 girls' events and 10 of the 18 boys' contests.
"I really like the way the young guys compete," remarked MHS head coach Paul Thomas. "They run hard."
There will be a good chance to see how far the Owls have come Tuesday, when they head to Lexington for the annual Bill Hamann Invitational.