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2024 girls track and field area watch list

Apr. 1—ATHLETES TO WATCH

(in alphabetical order)

Eve Clark, Euclid: Few aspects of track and field can be regarded as mortal locks. But after getting to state in D-I 200 despite not being close to 100% health most of her junior season, this Panthers' stalwart will be on a mission as a senior, likely with more of a 200-400 lean. Already one of the most decorated performers in News-Herald coverage area history, she has a crescendo in her skill set, with deep sub-25 open 2s and sub-57 open 4s, to add to that legacy.

Kylie Coleman, Mentor: This junior is only scratching the surface, after taking sixth in long jump and 100 at the D-I Austintown-Fitch Regional a year ago. She should be deeper in the 12s in 100, and her 17-plus ability in long jump continues to grow.

Claire Duricky, Lake Catholic: No question about it, this senior is The News-Herald coverage area's top girls hurdler with room to spare in both 1s and 3s. After taking sixth in D-II 3s at state a year ago, a top three in the low-to-mid 43s is within the realm of possibility.

Emerson Greene, Kenston: A cross country campaign during which she took 13th in D-II and was 2023 News-Herald girls cross country runner of the year should set the stage nicely for this senior in 3,200 to aspire for low-11s and a D-I state berth.

Mila Gresh, Chagrin Falls: A longtime standout for the Tigers in mile and on their vaunted 4×8, this senior could get on the podium in D-II 1,600, although it'll take a deep low-5 with it having been an underclassman-heavy event at state in 2023.

Rae Kawalec, Chardon: Two-mile should be a deep event locally this spring led in part by this senior and returning first-team News-Herald all-star, who was close to nailing down sub-11 pace in the regular season a year ago and was a D-I state qualifier in the event.

Addison Lyles, Mentor: After taking fifth a year ago at the D-I Fitch Regional, this senior — who along with Perry's Addy Trefzger are the coverage area tonesetters in pole vault — should again be in a consistent 10-6 to 11-0 range, perhaps higher, on big stages and going for a D-I state berth.

Brianna MacIvor, Kenston: After breaking into the top-five coverage area performances in the regular season a year ago for mile and two-mile, qualifying for D-I Austintown-Fitch Regional competition in both and coming off an encouraging cross country season, this junior could be poised to take another step forward in 2024.

Leila Metres, Hawken: A heady performer and student of her craft, this senior will be in the conversation for a D-II 400 state crown this spring after taking a tight third at state a year ago to two seniors. Her sub-57 ability in open 4 is outstanding, but so is her sub-26 acumen in open 2.

Mariyah Moore, Gilmour: Last year felt like a breakout campaign for this program staple and senior sprinter, as she led the Lancers to a fourth in D-II 4×2 and got to state in open 1 and 2 and spearheading 4×1 as well. Her open sprint work, with her drive phase, should get inching toward the low-12s and low-25s, respectively, for when it matters.

Alyssa Palmisano, Geneva: This senior was a feel-good story last outdoor season, getting on the podium in D-II shot put while balancing softball for the Eagles. Her 37-plus skill set, after seeing what state was all about as a junior, should only continue to get better.

Sadie Poudevigne, Kenston: Excitement should rightfully be up in the stratosphere for this promising junior, the most complete girls jumper in The News-Herald coverage area given her long jump and high jump proficiency. When you can aim for high-17s in long jump and 5-4 and above in high jump, as she can, much should be expected.

Ada Sabo, Mentor: Only two News-Herald coverage area distance performers logged top-six area times in the regular season last spring in 8, 16 and 32. One was 2023 News-Herald girls track and field athlete of the year Savannah Dennison. The other was this senior, who leaned into mile a year ago and did well to get to state in D-I last season and has been a strong 4×8 leg from Day 1 for the Cardinals.

Madison Torbert, Beachwood: Between graduations and her own state experience in shot put, this senior is the coverage area's top returning girls thrower across shot and discus. Shot, in which she has shown 38 ability outdoors and just had 40s indoors, is her strong suit. But discus has quietly come along as well.

Amy Weybrecht, Gilmour: One of the great distance performers of her generation locally, this senior will be eager to get higher on the podium after taking fourth in 1,600 and fifth in 800 at the D-II state meet in 2023. She'll also want to cement her place as the fastest miler in coverage area lore after her converted 4:52.57 to set that standard as a junior.

MEETS TO WATCH

Ned Weingart Relays (April 6 at Cleveland Heights), Nordonia Knight Relays (April 6), Gene Kobus Perry Relays (April 13), North Ranger Invitational (April 19), Beachwood Invitational (April 20), Kurt Frankel Memorial Invitational (April 20 at West Geauga), Chardon Hilltopper Invitational (April 20), Dick Beeler Booster Invitational (April 26 at Harvey), Mayfield Invitational (April 26), Miele Invitational (April 26 at Gilmour), Mentor Cardinal Relays (April 27), Crown Conference meet (May 1 at Walsh Jesuit), Euclid Relays (May 3), CVC Chagrin meet (May 6 and 8 at West Geauga), CVC Valley meet (May 7 and 9 at Berkshire), CVC Lake meet (May 7 and 9 at Lakeside), WRC meet (May 9 at Mayfield), GCC meet (May 8 and 10 at Brunswick)

AT THE LINE

—Beyond the well-documented one-year temporary move of the state meet back to Dayton from Ohio State as Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium undergoes a track upgrade, there is another postseason address change. Mentor returns this spring as host of the "primary" area Division I district meet. The district had most recently been at Riverside and, prior to that, at Mayfield.

—Some regular-season tweaks are in store as well. The CVC Chagrin meet is listed as being back on a Monday/Wednesday schedule this season and will be contested at West Geauga on May 6 and 8. The remainder of the CVC, including the new CVC Lake meet, remains Tuesday/Thursday. Gilmour's Miele Invitational is being staged on a Friday (April 26) this year instead of its usual Saturday slot.

—Beachwood will be motivated to atone for what was an uncharacteristic performance at the D-II Austintown-Fitch Regional in 2023, with Torbert as its lone state qualifier on the girls side. Dakota Houston has been one of the premier multi-event athletes in The News-Herald coverage area throughout her career, whether it's in 100, long jump or as a key sprint relay cog. Kylie Walters has been a top-five coverage area long jumper through her Bison tenure as well and has 17-plus caliber. Sophomore Alexandra Kheyfets is a talented young distance performer in addition.

—Cardinal senior Anna Layman, the feel-good story of 2023 in coverage area track and field after qualifying for the D-III state meet in pole vault less than a year out from having surgery to remove a brain cyst, returns. Despite that and an ankle injury during the postseason, Layman still managed to clear 9-0 at state. She'll aspire for that and above in 2024.

—Not to sound like a broken record on this topic, but it remains unfortunate and difficult to fathom that News-Herald coverage area squads Beaumont, Geneva and Kirtland, out of the girls-only district at Bedford, still have to funnel to the Lexington Regional due to necessity. The Hornets and Eagles both got into the top 10 at D-II/III state indoor in 4×8 and will aim for sub-10 speed to be a podium factor and potentially more at Lexington in May. The Blue Streaks, like usual, should have their relays in good stead, including their trademark 4×4.

—It feels as if long jump can be a strong suit locally, with six of the top-10 News-Herald coverage area performers in the event returning to the fold, including five of the top six. In addition to Poudevigne, Coleman, Houston and Walters and their 17-plus acumen, Wickliffe's Annabella Stoehr was 16-plus last season, and Geneva's Delaney Marrison almost got there. Much like the boys side could push for 21s earlier, girls long jump could vie for mid-to-high 16 earlier than usual.