By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP —
The Laker Invitational track meet at Pymatuning Valley High School has endured some rough weather in recent years, but that wasn’t the case this year as the athletes got a rare sunny and warm conditions to compete in.
Girls from McDonald High School came out on top in only three events, but had overall balance which led them to the team title with 99 points. A speedy but not as deep Beachwood team came in second with 88.50 points while the Lakeside Dragons put on a great show with 80.50 points, Edgewood had 63.50, Jefferson garnered 62, Maplewood used good balance to score 51 and the Pymatuning Valley Lakers had 50.50 for seventh place.
Brookfield had 31, Conneaut tallied 26, Grand Valley and Chanel each scored 23, Cornerstone Christian had 20, Chalker 14, Our Lady of the Elms added 12, Perry scored 9 and Mathews grabbed the bottom spot with 7 points.
“Up to this point in the season, the weather has not been much help to us,” Lakeside coach Chris Powers said. “I was thrilled today, though. We set quite a few PRs (personal records). Things may be falling into place for us now. Everybody did a great job and I can’t say how great Karen (Barrientos) was today.
“She just did so many things well for us. Her win in the 3200 capped a great day for us. Karneisha (Partridge) stepped up and had a great day, too.”
Beside winning the 3200, Barrientos showed the depth in the Dragon lineup.
Partridge took third in the 100 and sixth in the 200 while running in the sprint relay teams, and Lakeside got points from many different sources.
Possibly the strongest individual effort for Ashtabula County girls came from Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo. She took first in the pole vault with a 9 foot effort, added a third place finish in the 110-meter hurdles and ran legs in both sprint relays as well.
Grand Valley’s Brady Nye had a strong , taking third place in the shot put, sixth in the discus, and also ran a couple events for the Mustangs.
Cortney Humphrey of Edgewood was a big winner for the Warriors as well, taking first in the shot put and second in the discus.
Conneaut had solid efforts much of the day as well, paced by Mikakahla Passmore’s second place finish in the 400-meter dash and a third place finish from the 3,200 relay team.
Kelly Preske of Grand Valley got her team off to a flying start with a win in the high jump, PV’s Geena Gabriel won the long jump, and Carli Watt of Lakeside took second and fourth in the 1600 and 800 meter runs, respectively.
“I’m pretty happy with how we are today,” PV coach Rob Palma said. “I just want to finish healthy. It’s important for us to make it through the day and finish as strong as we can. We have some girls ill, and with it being prom night as well, their minds may be elsewhere, which is understandable.
“This weather is beautiful, though. It seems like the last two years we had snow for this event.”
The lone record broken on the day belonged to the 400-meter relay team from Beachwood. The group of speedsters including Gabrielle Perryman, Emilykate Hopson-Boyd, Maya Gaines-Smith and Hannah Kahn made their prize run in 51.10 seconds.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.