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Last spring Kenton High School’s Terrill Webb, Audrey Miller and Kaily Whitaker all took part in the Division II regional track meet in Lexington as 3/4 of the Lady Wildcats 400 and 800 relay teams.
When the juniors return to Lexington later this week, along with sophomore newcomer Brooke Bostelman, they hope this year they can take the next step and qualify for the state meet in the 400 and 1,600 relay.
“They had a shot at it last year and got to this regional tournament and we just weren’t quite good enough,” Kenton coach Chuck Downing said. “Three of them have some unfinished business and we’d really like to see them get down to the state tournament. Brooke is the new member of the team and she has been a pleasant surprise. She has stepped it up and done marvelous things.”
The top four in each event this weekend will qualify for next week’s state meet in Columbus.
“This week is all about one more step,” Downing said. “The competition is tougher and the goal is to get to the state tournament. That is what all these kids have worked all season for and we’re right where we want to be.”
In the 400 relay, Webb, Miller, Bostelman and Whitaker go to Lexington with a time of 50.72 seconds, which is the third best overall and the second fastest in their heat. Only Granville (50.34 seconds) and Ottawa-Glandorf (50.67 seconds), who the Wildcats beat in the WBL finals, have faster qualifying times.
Whitaker said that competing last year in Lexington was a learning experience for her and her teammates.
“It’s a lot bigger and there’s a lot more competition,” she said. “Coming into it you have to realize there are people there that are as good or better than you are and you have to be ready to run a lot harder.”
The Wildcat quartet has the eighth fastest time (4:09.83) entering the 1,600 relay prelims and the fifth fastest in its heat.
Celina has the fastest qualifying time, running a 4:02.12 at districts last week.
The Wildcat foursome didn’t know they would be competing in the 1,600 relay at the beginning of the season, Whitaker said.
“It isn’t our favorite race,” the KHS junior said. “It was coach Downing’s decision and I think at first we were running it for conditioning. Then we ended up being good at it and we just kept running it.”
That being said, there is only one goal for the Lady Wildcats in both races, according to Whitaker.
“We want to make it into the top four,” she said.
Webb also qualified individually in the pole vault, winning the district with a personal best vault of 10-0. Going into regional competition, she is tied with three others with the second best qualifying vault.
She said that after struggling at the district level each of the past two years, she is peaking at the right time this spring.
“This year has been surprisingly pretty easy,” Webb said of getting to the regional meet in the pole vault. “Last year I wasn’t even close to getting to regionals. I’m feeling pretty good going into regionals.”
Running prelims start at 4:40 p.m. Thursday, while the girls pole vault will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
Times sports editor