Huskies start strong at Mineral Ridge

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Hayden Cummins

Cardinal’s track team kicked off the 2018 season with a strong performance at Mineral Ridge’s Joe Lane Invitational on Saturday.

Junior Kaylee Klepper won the shot put and senior Megan Maddox scored in four events to lead the girls’ team to a fourth-place finish while the Cardinal boys made strides in the season-opener.

Klepper tossed the shot 32-feet, 3-inches to win the event.

“This win is very exciting for me,” Klepper said. “Since it is so early in the season, I feel like I am still finding my rhythm. I knew going into the competition that I have a lot of things I still need to improve on and my main goal was to just do my best, so I felt very relaxed in the ring. I learned that as long as I just focus on executing my throws instead of worrying about how well everyone else is doing, then I will perform much better. Winning was for sure a huge confidence booster, but I plan on learning from it just as I would from a loss, and working as hard as I can to fulfill my potential.”

Senior Anna Avalon finished fifth in the shot (31-5) and also finished fifth in the discus (108-1).

Maddox finished seventh in the 800-meter run and also ran legs in the 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800-meter relays that each finished sixth.

“I was happy with my results for my first meet,” Maddox said. “I now know where to focus more of my attention in order to improve my times. There was competition at this meet that I felt helped to prepare me for my upcoming meets. I felt that my teammates and I competed very well. I am excited for what this season is going to have in store for us.”

Maddox, who was a regional qualifier in cross country this past fall, finished the 800 in 2:47.63. She teamed up with junior Camille Cummins and sophomores Abby Geesling and Lauren Dines to finish the 4×800 in 10:27.68. Maddox and seniors Sarah Shahan and Taylor Zeigler and sophomore Anna Blubaugh ran the 4×200 in 2:00.77 and Maddox, Zeigler, Blubaugh and sophomore Jenna Ayer finished 4×400 in 4:44.12.

“I feel that cross country gave me an advantage when testing my endurance,” Maddox said. “Saturday was a very long and windy day and my events were placed so that I had very little time to relax. Cross country gave me the endurance to compete from my first event all the way until the 4×4. As the season progresses, I feel that having run cross country in the fall will have given me a solid base for my upcoming track season.”

Cummins also placed fifth in the 1600 (6:12.58) and Blubaugh finished eighth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:08.93. Zeigler recorded a fifth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (54.99).

Shahan, Zeigler and seniors Marina Cooper and Mackenzie Conley just missed scoring in the 4×100-meter relay as they finished ninth with a time of 58.51 seconds.

Senior Hayden Cummins led the Cardinal boys’ team with a fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles (17.36).

“Despite not having my three-step in prelims of the 110s, I made it in seventh place to the finals and perfected my three-step in the finals to finish in fourth with less than a tenth of a second between third place against very talented runners,” he said. I’m very proud of my performance but I strive for more and believe I can get first in every race I run. I’m cocky, yes, but that’s what it takes to be a track runner.”

Cummins teamed up with senior Jacob Revak, sophomore Michael Lucarelli and junior Tyson Sinclair to finish the 4×100-meter relay in 10th place.

The Huskies had several other narrow misses in multiple events, leaving Cummins and his teammates eager to improve as the season progresses.

“We were tenths of seconds off of placing times in nearly every race we ran,” he said. “We had something like four ninth places, all within tenths of seconds of the above places, with the 4×1 being a tenth of a second off sixth place. I’m very proud of our effort and believe the places will come. I think as a team, we just have to continue at the pace we’re going and as we improve in practice and the times will come.”

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.