Champion’s Gania, Lakeview girls star in D-II district meet

Lakeview girls win another team title



Kaylee Gania might have been a character — or two — from Alice in Wonderland. In one turn, she was the White Rabbit, late and scrambling from one event to another. In another, she was Alice growing from small to large as she soared through the air.

In the end, the diminutive Champion freshman was a hero of sorts in claiming an individual championship at the Division II district track meet at Don Richards Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In what will become part of her own legend, Gania, who isn’t quite five feet tall, made just one attempt in the finals of the long jump before scurrying off for the 100-meter dash finals. That one leap, however, was plenty as she claimed the district title landing 15 feet, 11.5 inches away from the board.

“In the prelims, I jumped 15-10,” Gania said. “After that, I knew I was in first. I went to the bleachers and sat down. They called me back for the finals and I knew I had to make at least one more jump. I went 15-11. After that, I felt pretty good.”

The jump was a career-best mark.

“Finally,” Gania said. “I had to work on a lot and figure out my steps. I was aiming to go high (which, in turn, means long). I just had to shorten my stride in order to hit the board. I hit the board and popped up big and made my jump.”

The top four in each event qualify for the Division II regional at Austintown Fitch on Thursday (5 p.m.) and Saturday (11:30 a.m.).

Gania will compete also at the regional in the 100 after placing fourth.

The 300-meter hurdle tandem of Mara Wilson and Ashley Bowker was indicative of their entire Lakeview team as the duo placed first and second, respectively, in their event to lead the Bulldogs to their second straight team championship.

“We had two first-place winners,” emotional Lakeview coach Cindy Dickey said. “But we placed in all but two events and had two people score in many of those events.”

Lakeview topped the girls event with 110.5 points. Edgewood was second with 77.5 and Crestwood was third with 74.

“We didn’t come in to win districts,” Dickey said. We came in to move as many girls forward as we could. Fortunately, we had a lot of girls score a ton of points. When that happens, the end result is not just moving people along, but winning districts for the second time in a row. It feels pretty doggone good.”

Wilson won the 300-hurdles in 45.82.

“It’s exciting [for us to finish first and second],” Wilson said. “It’s crazy because sometimes we aren’t as close. Today, we were neck-and-neck the whole way. It came down to who might have an extra little push at the end. Ashley helped push me to my PR.”

Bowker was second in the 300 in 45.91, but won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.82 while teammate Sarah Kloboves was second in 17.3.

“I just tried to give it all I’ve got,” Bowker said. “I wanted a PR in the threes. That’s what took me the furthest last year. I want to PR and try to beat my time every time I run. I heard [Wilson] coming. We were neck-and-neck there until the last hurdle. I saw the finish line and gave it all I’ve got.”

Hubbard’s Jared Southern set a meet record in clearing 6-2.25 in the high jump.

“It’s great because this is my last year, since I’m a senior,” Southern said. “It’s nice to have my name on something. It’s nice to have everybody notice, I guess, because most times high heights aren’t really noticed.”

Southern was also second in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.

Liam Boivin won the 300-meter hurdles in 40.95 as Lakeview was second in the team race.

Jefferson won with 103 points, the Bulldogs netted 90.33 and Garrettsville Garfield was third with 79.

Cardinal Mooney’s Kyle Jornigan claimed the district title in the shot put and the Cardinals’ 800-meter relay team of Shamar Brooks, Nico Marchionda, Zion Willis and Syied Bowers claimed a championship.

Lakeview’s 400-meter relay team of Michael Hill, Boivin, Dakota Whitt and Tony Crish were also victorious.

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