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"Our strengths are distance and sprints. We have a lot of depth in both," commented Minerva coach Olivia Scott when asked about her 2017 girls track and field team. "Our throwers have improved as well, so hoping for big things from them. We lost some key hurdlers, but we still have Madison Pearson and have gained Abby Stoffer. We have positive attitudes, and I am seeing a great deal of team unity this year."
Letter winners back are senior Emmalee Markins (sprints); juniors Ava Burman (400, relays), Jordan Crowe (throws), Jenna Daulbaugh (distance), Leah Hrush (sprints), Renee Hartong (throws), Ashley Gulling (sprints), Kayla Kinsey (sprints), Brittany Moyer (middle distance), Madi Pearson (hurdles) and Mack Scott (distance); and sophomores Natalie Crum (throws), Sarah Carver (400, 4x800, 4x400, 800), Kala Eddy (middle distance), Alyssa Markins (sprints), Amanda Kukunis (sprints), Idre'sia Leavell (sprints), Shelby Wheeler (high jump) and Nelle Yankovich (middle distance).
Carver, Scott and Yankovich were members of last year's regional-qualifying 4x800. A. Markins qualified to regionals in the 100, Pearson qualified to regionals in the 300, and Yankovich qualified to regionals in the 800.
Also being looked upon to contribute are sophomore Hannah Wiedlebacher (sprints) and freshmen Audra Burman (sprints), Abby Chaddock (high jump, middle distance), Abby Stoffer (relays, hurdles) and Skyler Trussell (sprints, middle distance).
"We are a very young team with only four seniors and two of those have never participated in track before," noted Coach Scott. "Emmalee Markins is back this year. She was a state qualifier in the 100 in her freshman year. Ashley Gulling was a regional qualifier her freshman year, moved her sophomore year, but has returned for her junior year.
"Our distance girls were eighth in the state in cross country. They are strong and some of the most driven athletes I have known. Our league, district and regional are unbelievable in distance events. These girls will have to fight, but I know they will give it their all.
"We have been runners-up in dual meets the past two years in the NBC. Louisville is always tough, Marlington is strong in distance events, and Carrollton will be tough for anyone to beat when they have one of the top sprinters, distance runners and throwers in the state.
"I am confident our girls will improve weekly and do all they can for us to place in the top of the league."
Madi Pearson, Alyssa Markins and Nelle Yankovich each won two individual events as the Lady Lions opened up the track and field season with a 103-25 win over West Branch.
Pearson won the 100 hurdles in 17.2 and the 300 hurdles in 52.5. She also finished second in the high jump (4'4).
Markins captured the 100 with a time of 12.7 and the 200 in 27.7.
Yankovich won the 1600 in 5:44 and the 800 in 2:38.
Also placing first were Jordan Crowe in the discus (87'2), Natalie Crum in the shot (29'4), Sarah Carver in the 400 (1:04), and Mack Scott in the 3200 (12:26).
Minerva swept the relay events - the 4x800 (10:52.3) consisting of Yankovich, Carver, Jenna Daulbaugh and Scott; the 4x200 (1:56.9) consisting of Idre'sia Leavell, Ashley Gulling, Ava Burman and Markins; the 4x100 (54.07) consisting of Leavell, Gulling, Abby Stoffer and Markins; and the 4x400 (4:39) consisting of Yankovich, Joaquina Rossi, Ava Burman and Carver.
Seconds went to Renee Hartong in the discus (84'10) and shot (26'6), Gulling in the long jump (13'9) and 100 (13.4), Kala Eddy in the 1600 (5:53), Burman in the 400 (1:06.3), Rossi in the 800 (2:43.5) and Abby Chaddock in the 3200 (13:33).
Finishing third were Crum in the discus (75'5), Daulbaugh in the 3200 (13:34), Chaddock in the high jump (4'2), Hannah Wiedlebacher in the long jump (13'), Hailey Lawson in the 100 hurdles (19.3), and Burman in the 100 (13.6).
"We are extremely pleased with our first meet of the season as we were able to dominate West Branch in all three facets - sprints, distance, and field events," commented Coach Scott. "Alyssa Markins had a big showing tonight scoring points in both of her individual events and her relay teams.
"Madi Pearson swept the hurdles, Natalie Crum and Jordan Crowe swept the throws, Ashley Gulling had a great showing in relays and long jump, and the distance girls Nelle Yankovich, Kala Eddy, Sarah Carver, Jenna Daulbaugh and Mackenzie scott dominated distance events.
"Great performances were turned in by newcomers Abby Chaddock, Joaquina Rossi and Audra Burman.
"We are excited about the ladies attitudes and efforts. We look to build on this and expect big things this season."