That distinction belongs to the Solon Comets, who

By Tom Hardesty Record-Courier staff writer Published:

That distinction belongs to the Solon Comets, who edged Hudson 111-110 Thursday in the driving rain at Twinsburg for their first WRC title since 1998.

The Rough Riders' impressive run of three straight conference championships came to an end as they finished sixth overall with 60 points, just ahead of seventh-place Nordonia (58).

But Roosevelt girls coach Eric Hill was pleased nonetheless with his young team's showing, which included a pair of runnerup finishes Thursday by Stephanie Wade in the 800 meters and Ali Borland in the long jump.

"Overall, we ran and competed the best we could," said Hill. "I'm not disappointed about the performances at all. We ran great races. The girls gave it everything they had, they just came up short.

"We probably needed to have an exceptional day to come out with a (championship)."

Borland placed second in the long jump with a leap of 16-10 3/4, after winning the title in the high jump on Tuesday. And Wade nearly pulled a stunning upset in the 800, coming on strong in the last 200 meters and almost catching Twinsburg standout Aileen Taylor. Wade crept closer and closer to Taylor down the stretch and lost in a photo finish, 2:23.39 to 2:23.42.

"Stephanie Wade ran out of her mind in the open half-mile," said Hill. "She went 2:23 and her best split coming into this meet was 2:29, so she took off six seconds just today. She really stepped up. She got second and almost edged out first place."

Wade also placed eighth in the 400.

Also scoring for the Rough Riders were Jodi Hensel, fifth in the 1,600; Kellie Brandner, fifth in the 3,200; Kari Lillibridge, sixth in the 400; Sabrina Childs, sixth in the 200; Lauren Sloan, seventh in the 1,600; and Emily White, eighth in the 3,200. Also, the 4x200 relay placed fourth and the 4x100 eighth.

With the amount of underclassmen returning for next year, Hill is optimistic his squad can return to the pinnacle of the WRC once again in 2003.

"I think we can make another run at it, we just need to improve," he said. "We need to work on our weak areas so we're a little more well-rounded."

The Roosevelt boys placed eighth with 37 points, highlighted by the second-place showing of the 4x400 team of Jason Coles, Raashan Wahid, Sam Perkins and Jelani Dorsey (3:28.00); and the third-place finish of Dan Dorman in the high jump (6-1).

"They dropped four seconds from last Friday," said Kent Roosevelt boys coach Aaron Carlton of the 4x400 unit. "Jason did an outstanding job leading off for us. We've been looking for the leadoff leg all year and he stepped up as a senior and did that. Jelani in the second leg did a great job holding off Twinsburg down the backstretch, and the two underclassmen, Sam and Raashan, ran their best split of the year.

"I was happy to see Dan Dorman finish in the top three in the high jump. He actually jumped the same height as the guy who won it, but because of misses he ended up third. He didn't have a real good showing at the WRC last year, so I know he was looking forward to this year's meet."

Also for the Rough Riders, Brandon Bartell was fifth in the 110 hurdles, Coles was fifth in the 300 hurdles, Perkins was seventh in the 400, Dorsey was seventh in the 800, and the 4x100 unit placed eighth.

While both Ravenna teams placed 11th, the girls with 21 points and the boys with nine, Ravens coach Phil Starks was encouraged with several of his teams' performances. The girls were led by Kyla Hogan, third in the 800 in 2:25.45, while Kendall Harkcom was fifth in the 300 hurdles, Amanda Chinn was seventh in the 3,200 and Samantha Drake was seventh in the shot put.

"Last year they scored four points at this meet and this year they scored 21, so that's a huge improvement," he said. "I was real happy with Kyla Hogan's race. She's been getting better all year and she peaked at the right time. She was up for that race and she will only get better."

The Raven boys got a fourth-place showing from James Carter in the 300 hurdles and fifth-place finish from Brandon Mucherson in the 100 meters.

"Brandon has been doing a great job for us all year, and James is only a sophomore and he's going to be a kid to watch here in a couple years," said Starks. "He works hard and loves to compete."

The Stow boys finished third with 74 points behind champion Solon (132 1/2 ) and runnerup Hudson (120), and were led by Frank Ziegler, who placed second in the 100 (11.13), third in the 200 (22.90) and helped the 4x100 team place third in 43.98.

The Bulldog girls were eighth with 28 points, with Mikenna Stephenson placing fourth in the 3,200 and the 4x400 team also finishing fourth.

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E-mail: thardesty@recordpub.net

Phone: (330) 678-5460

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