Stars shine at George Gross Invitational

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With the conclusion of the 19th Annual George Gross Invitational on Monday, the spring track season intensified.

Several athletes passed the early test and now they can focus on the improvements they need to make heading into the postseason.

Host Cuyahoga Heights won the boys’ division while Hawken pulled out the win in the girls’ event.

Independence finished as the runner-up in both division while Cardinal was third in the girls’ meet and fourth in the boys. Kirtland’s girls’ team finished fifth while the Hornet boys were sixth overall.

Event winners included Independence’s 3200-meter relay team of Harley Glime, P.J. Oschmann, Collin Patton and Ryan Zygmunt, Alex Nelson in the 300-meter hurdles, and Oschmann in the 3200-meter run. Cardinal’s Kaylee Klepper won the shot put, Anna Avalon won the discus and Taylor Zeigler claimed the title in the 300-meter hurdles. Kirtland’s Jenna Sayle won two events, the 800 and 1600-meter runs.

Glime, Oschmann, Patton and Zygmunt teamed up to run a time of 9:19.73. Oschmann finished the 3200 in 11:13.45 and he also finished second in the 1600. Nelson ran a time of 45.11 to win the hurdles.

“I was satisfied with my time and I hope to get better,” said Nelson, who also finished third in the 110-meter hurdles. “The team has been improving a lot over the past weeks and the team has really come together and we are having a fun time.”

Independence also notched top three finishes from Mason Crist, who was second in the long jump, Glime, who finished third in the long jump, Robert Artrip, second in the pole vault, and Patton, who was third in the 800. Christina Brunsman finished second in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes. Makenna McGhee was second in the 3200 and third in the 1600. She also ran a leg for the second place 3200-meter relay team with Josie Lee, Emily Skoczen and Paige Westerburg. Skoczen finished third in the 3200 and Emma Wensink was third in the pole vault.

Klepper and Avalon finished first and second in the shot and discus for Cardinal.

Klepper won the shot with a toss of 31-feet, 5 ¾ inches and was second in the discus with a throw of 89-feet.

“I am so excited about our finishes,” Klepper said. “We both push each other very hard and are highly competitive. It’s nice to see all of our hard work pay off in meets. I’m also pretty happy with my discus throws. I am nowhere near where I hope to be by the end of the season, but today was a huge improvement from my last meet. I really struggle with disc and I am still trying to put all of the pieces together. As far as shot, I am not unhappy with my performance, but I am not satisfied. I know there is still a lot I can do better and I will continue to work on it all to prepare for our next meet.”

Avalon won the discus with a throw of 107-feet, 4-inches and was second in the shot (31-3.5)

“It was so exciting to see both of us succeeding and to see our hard work pay off,” Avalon said. “It also was great to provide those points for our team score. I was relatively satisfied with my throws. My marks are similar to my marks at the end of last season and I only hope to improve more over the season and reach my personal goals.”

Zeigler won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 55.22

Second place finishers for the Huskies included Hayden Cummins in the 110-meter hurdles and the 400 and 800-meter relay teams.

Jacob Revak, Michael Lucarelli, Tyson Sinclair and Cummins ran the 400 while Revak, Lucarelli, Sinclair and Connor Sodee teamed up in the 800-meter relay. Sarah Shahan, Anna Blubaugh, Mackenzie Conley and Zeigler ran the 800-meter relay for the girls.

Cummins (300-meter hurdles), Conley (long jump), Blubaugh (400), and Ben Lobdell (pole vault) all finished third for the Huskies. Shahan, Zeigler, Blubaugh and Jenna Ayer finished third in the 800-meter relay and Ayer, Abby Geesling, Camille Cummins and Megan Maddox were third in the 3200-meter relay.

Sayle paced Kirtland with wins in the 800-meter run (2:31.04) and the 1600 (5:30.31).

“I am happy with my performance,” Sayle said. “It was my first time running a race since last year so my times weren’t where I want them, but they are a good place to start. The races I ran both had some good, new competition so that was exciting. I am confident and excited going into our next meet on Saturday.”

Austin Fulco finished second in the shot put (43-3.75) while the 1600-meter relay team of Sayle, Danielle Bryll, Kristi Bryll and Isabel Anness also finished in the runner-up position.

Ryan Ritossa (pole vault), Megan Yarborough (discus) and the 400-meter relay team of Danielle Bryll, Kristi Bryll, Natalie Pawlowski and Ariela Gettig all finished third for the Hornets.

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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.