GREEN  The Green girls track team has gotten off to a solid start this season thanks largely to its ability to take to the air.

The Bulldogs raced their way to a third-place finish at the North Canton Relays and a non-league win against Hoban with strong efforts from field event and hurdles performers who have been able to battle cold weather and still deliver strong results.

“Our pole vault, high jump and hurdles have been our biggest strengths. We have a good number of very good performers in each event so we are able to gain a good number of points in each event,” head coach Jacob Saylor said.

Having a Green performer do well in the pole vault is familiar news, as the event has seen a long list of league, regional and state champions who have gone on to considerable success at the college and amateur levels.

The latest entry on that list is senior Kaitlyn Hawkins, who recently committed to Robert Morris University. The senior is following in the footsteps of past Green pole vault standouts such as Carrie Kayes and Morgan Estes and looking to attain the same level of postseason success that propelled each of them on to the college level.

Hawkins top leap of 11’6” has her on track for bigger things as the season wears on and the Bulldogs’ other jumpers have had success as well in the first few weeks of the season. Maddie Stowe won the high jump at the North Canton Relays with a jump of 5’0” and has continued to do well in meets against Hoban, GlenOak and Canton McKinley. 

Freshmen Jessie Spoerndle and Riley Wieclaw have also recorded several good jumps through four meets, with Spoerndle reaching a top height of 4’10” and both freshmen showing promise not only for this season, but for years ahead.

Others who jump over shorter obstacles - in the 100 and 300 hurdles - have also contributed in the first four meets. Kimmie Kramer has won the 100 hurdles in each meet so far this season and looks to be one of the contenders to win the event at the Federal League meet next month.

With 65 girls on the roster, Green has good depth in most events and its also starting to show in the running events. Sydney Riffle has scored points consistently in the 100 and 200 meters, including a top time of 12.5 seconds in the 100.

Lilly McCourtney is close to breaking the one-minute mark in the 400, having a best time of 62 seconds so far, and freshman sprinter Zoe Dellasera is just coming back from injury and making an impact in the 100, 200, and 400. 

Two competitors, Kaleigh Renninger and Elise Hooker, are bridging the gap between sprints and distance in the 400, 800 and 1,600 and Saylor described both as “dedicated runners” who have helped the distance running contingent of the roster continue to take steps forward.

Their veteran presence should help freshman distance runners Kendall Anenson and Anna Pond as they gain more varsity experience in the 1,600 and 3,200 and if that group can maintain its progress through the rest of the season, it would be a large benefit in dual meets.

With league meets against foes such as Jackson, Hoover, Lake and Perry ahead, along with the Federal League Championship meet and the postseason, there are many entries on the schedule to look forward to for the Bulldogs. Although there are underclassmen and first-year varsity competitors in several events, Saylor noted that the team is still aiming high for the league meet and beyond.

“Our goals are to win the league championship meet and get as many individual qualifiers as possible to the regional and state championship (meets),” Saylor said. 

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB