Sasha Dailey likes running on the basketball court, but not so much on a track.
That doesn’t mean the Rogers junior isn’t good at both. In fact, not-too-distant history reveals Dailey is an exceptional runner, particularly when it comes to sprints.
As a freshman, she was a state finalist in three events to help Rogers earn a state runner-up finish in the Division II team competition.
She ran second in the 200 meters (24.90 seconds) and fourth in the 100 (12.52). She also ran a leg on the 800 relay team that placed second (1:42.17).
Yet Dailey, a three-year starter on the basketball team, chose not to run track last spring. Instead, she participated in AAU basketball.
“Track is easier, but I love basketball,” Dailey said. “To me, track, it’s just running.”
But she’s determined to succeed again.
“I always knew after last year I was going to run this year,” she said.
Rogers boys track coach Eric Browning, who spends time working with sprinters and hurdlers on the boys and girls teams, has been impressed by Dailey’s return. Her time of 12.4 seconds in the 100 a few weeks ago at St. John’s Jesuit was better than her best time as a freshman.
“She’s been working really hard, and she’s very coachable,” Browning said.
Rogers is now in Division I. Moving up to the largest school division has only motivated Dailey.
“I think Division I will be more competitive, and I’m ready for it,” she said. “I’m competitive, and I like competition. I think I should be faster, and I’m stronger, and I’m more in it to win. In my freshman year, I didn’t really know how to come out of the blocks.”
She isn’t alone with her ambition about the this season.
Seniors Janelle Noe, Robin Foster, and Abigail Masters, along with sophomore Mallory Small, lead a strong contingent of Northview distance runners.
“The strength still lies in the distance for us,” Northview coach Jodie Smith said. “We’re a little lower in the numbers in our distance squad this year than we were last year, but I would definitely say that’s where our strength is.”
The top three returners (Noe, Masters, Small) ran together on the 3200 relay team that placed third (9:08.52) in Division I at state last season.
Noe, who placed second at the D-I state cross country championships, is looking to finish out her high school career on a strong note. Her versatility makes her among the state’s top hurdlers after finishing third in the 300 hurdles (46.05) last year.
“I’m hoping to improve on all the events that I run,” Noe said.
Northview junior Alysha Welch looks to improve on last year’s four-way tie for seventh at state in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches).
Bowling Green’s Maria Horrigan enters her sophomore year with plenty of motivation after placing third at state in the pole vault (11-8).
Clay senior Nicole Breeden is among the top returners in the discus. She placed fourth at state (138-10).
Notre Dame junior Chantalia Young was a state runner-up in the 800 (1:42.30).
Central Catholic senior Cheyenne Owens and junior Kiana McClendon provide an optimistic outlook for the Irish. They were members of the Irish’s 400 relay team that qualified to state.
Perrysburg senior Emily Wyrick was a state qualifier in the 800 (2:17.85), while teammate Taylor Monheim, a junior, placed 11th in the 3200 (11:20.64).
Among Division I boys, St. Francis senior Kyle Lach and sophomore David St. John are among the top distance runners.
Lach finished 13th (4:24.76) in the 1600 at state last year, while St. John had a 34th-place showing at the state cross country championships to help the Knights take ninth in the team standings.
Southview looks strong in sprints and middle-distances. Juniors Jernard Pinckney, Nate Hall and Nathan Hill, as well as senior Jeremy Cook, were members of the state-qualifying 1600 relay team.
Pinckney also returns as one of the state’s top long jumpers, placing sixth at state last year. Johnson is the Northern Lake League’s defending champion in the 100 and 200.
Southview junior Berry Grant has already recorded efforts better than 50 feet in the shot put and 150 feet in the discus.
“I think we have a lot of potential as a team,” Southview coach Lee Boyer said. “I'd like to see our relay teams return to Columbus.”
Findlay senior Tyler Brown is one of the state’s best all-around jumpers. He cleared 6-6 in the high jump for sixth place at state and took third in the long jump (22-3½). Teammate Cody Swisher was sixth at state by in the pole vault (15-0).
Fremont Ross senior Shanquise Mills finished seventh at state with a long jump of 21-10½. Teammate Jared Ballenger should contend for a discus title after taking sixth (173-6) last year.
Whitmer’s Devin Miller is one of the area’s top returning sprinters, along with Rogers senior Mike Lipkins, the defending City League 100 and 200 champion.
The Liberty-Benton girls team figures to contend for the Division II state championship.
Juniors Katelyn Baumlein and Mackenzie Briggs and sophomore Maddie Greiner lead a seasoned group of runners. They are returning members of a state-qualifying 3200 relay team.
Juniors Katie Hyre and Jessie Selhorst helped the Eagles place ninth at state last season as part of a state-qualifying 400 relay team. Hyre and Briggs also competed in the 1600 relay. Liz Streaker (discus) finished fourth with a throw of 132-8.
Rossford juniors Courtney Morris (high jump) and Jessica Pietrasz (800) are also returning state qualifiers.
Wauseon sophomore Taylor Vernot is one of the top returning distance runners after finishing 10th at state in the 1600 (5:16.76).
Eastwood senior Isaiah Conkle is one of the area’s top returning Division II athletes. The senior is a three-time state qualifier in the sprints. He placed ninth in the 100 (11.42) and qualified in the 200.
Eagles sophomore Brennan Seifert and senior John Rogers were also on the state-qualifying 800 relay team.
Genoa junior Logan Bryer figures is one of the area’s top field competitors. He was runner-up at state in the discus (177-4).
Rossford’s Manny Durden and Ryan Clay have high expectations for the season. Durden, a junior, placed second at state in the high jump (6-5) while Clay, a senior, was a state qualifier in the 800.
Archbold junior Jacob Ott and sophomore Levi Wyse return as two of the area’s top middle-distance runners. They were members of the a 1600 relay team that finished fourth (3:23.46) at state.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.