Kaitlyn Barber took a lead role in Whitmer’s efforts to win the girls championship at the Division I district track and field meet Saturday at St. Francis de Sales.
She placed first in the pole vault by clearing 11 feet, 6 inches, which matched the meet record set by former Panthers pole vault standout Courtney Siebenaller back in 2008.
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Her record-tying effort contributed to the Panthers squeaking out the district team championship with 102.90 points. Perrysburg placed a close second with 101.20 points.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Whitmer girls coach Lucas Hoel said. “But Kaitlyn Barber is the heart and soul of this team.”
Barber also took second in the 400 (59.62), third in the 200 (26.42), and was a member of the 1600 relay team that placed second.
Contending for the boys district championship didn't unfold in nail-biter fashion.
Southview and senior sprinter Malcolm Johnson ran away from the field en route to the Cougars claiming their first outright district championship. The Cougars finished with 133 points, followed by runner-up Whitmer with 111.
Johnson swept the 100 and 200-meter events, establishing a meet-record time of 21.35 in the 200. He won the 100 with a time of 10.80 and was also a contributor on Southview's winning 400 and 800-relay teams.
“I really wanted to come out here today and P.R. [run a personal record],” Johnson said. “But with this being the first hot meet of the season, it sort of drained me.”
Yet, not enough to keep him from breaking the meet's 200 record, which was only a couple days old since he broke the previous mark during the preliminary rounds of the event.
Whitmer throwers Alaya Hayes and TiTyana Gardner certainly did their part for the Panthers as they finished 1-2 in both events.
Hayes won the discus with a throw of 126-10 and Gardner was second at 117-11. Gardner claimed victory in the shot put with a throw measuring 40-8 and Hayes took second with a toss of 38-11.25.
Notre Dame senior Chantalia Young and Southview sophomore Alana Johnson proved to be the two fastest sprinters at district.
Young ran a strong 100 and won with a time of 12.46 while Johnson placed second with a 12.56. Then Johnson won the 200 with a time of 25.89 and Young was second at 26.29.
Perrysburg's Courtney Clody also had a strong district showing. She won the 1600 with a time of 4:59.25, the 800 (2:18.87), and was a member of the Yellow Jackets' winning 1600 and 3200 relays.
Taylor Monheim repeated as the 3200 district champion after running away from the pack early and finished with a time of 11:21.56 and was also a member of Perrysburg's 3200 relay team that finished first with a time of 9:24.28.
Clay's Grace Winckowski owned the hurdles events. She won the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.63, followed by Notre Dame's Alison Connelly (15.83), Whitmer's Shayla Crayton (15.96), and Northview's Alysha Welch (16.00). She claimed the 300 title by turning in a time of 45.97.
The top four finishers in each event qualify for regional competiton.
Southview's Chelsey Barwiler ran 58.56 to give the Cougars a victory in the 400.
Clay's Erin Gyurke ran a close second to Clody in the 1600 (4:59.62) and finished second in the 3200 (11:31.84).
Northview's Alysha Welch earned a district title by winning the high jump with an effort of 5-2, holding off Notre Dame's Talajha Parker and Rogers' Ashley Miller, who ended up tied for second after clearing 5-1.
Bowsher's Rachel Marter won the long jump with an effort of 17 feet.
Southview's J.J. Pinckney and Earl Armstrong finished 1-2 in the 400 with times of 49.24 and 49.64, respectively. Pinckney also came through as district champion in the long jump after besting the competition with an effort of 22-2.50.
The Cougars' 1600 relay claimed first to go with the 400 and 800 teams. Southview's Frank Hayes placed second in the 800 (1:58.43) and third in the 1600 (4:25) to contribute to the Cougars' cause.
“It was a complete team effort,” Southview boys coach Lee Boyer said.
St. Francis' Andrew Bonfiglio turned in a time of 14.79 to win the 110 hurdles while Whitmer's Mitchell Kubicki won the 300 with a time of 40.13.
Knights senior Ryan Maraldo was hampered last season by injuries and didn't make it out of the district meet. He looked good on his way to winning the 800 with a time of 1:57.17 on his home track.
“It's exciting,” Maraldo said of becoming a district champion. “All the hard work paid off.”
St. John's Tevin Brown jumped ahead of the pack early in the 1600 and won with a time of 4:22.06. Central Catholic's George McCartney won the 3200 with a time of 9:27.47.
St. Francis' Mo Harris swept the discus and shot put with throws of 170-5 and 57-11.
Springfield's Emanuel Durden came through for the Blue Devils by winning the high jump with an effort of 6-6.
Whitmer's Tylor Miller qualified for regionals by finishing second in the 100 with a time of 11.22, followed by Start's Damar Ellis (11.36) and AW's Samuel Bruno (11.46) to round out the top four spots.
Whitmer's Austin Hanna earned a district title by clearing 13-9 in the pole vault.