Here are 12 female track and field athletes to watch in Portage County heading into the playoffs:
Hannah Siudak (Field)
The Falcons’ eldest was one of Portage County’s standouts last season, finishing second in the Division II 300 hurdles (with a time of 44.56). Siudak was also a key part of the Field 4×400 which took fourth place in the state, a display of her versatility and ability as a sprinter as well as hurdling. Siudak should be ready for the playoffs after two formidable battles against Anna Rorrer of Woodridge, another state setter, at the MAC Championships, where they shared the hurdles titles.
Marinna Atanmo (Rootstown)
She was already the Portage Trail Conference Runner of the Year as a sprinter. When the Rovers senior found the hurdles, she quickly became one of the best in the state, including a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles at last year’s Division III State Meet. Last year she was just running the 300 in her new skill. Now she also runs the 100m and should be considered a contender in both hurdles (not to mention the 100m, which she also qualified for state last season).
Morgan Schmitt (Aurora)
Recovering from injuries earlier in his career, Schmitt made a name for himself in the fall as a cross country star. Well, the spring echoed the fall, including Schmitt winning the American suburban titles in the 1600 (by a margin of over nine seconds) and the 3200 (by over 26 seconds).
Turner is looking to write a different story at Lakeview this season after having to pull out of the 200 and 400 finals at last year’s district meet. The senior G-Men certainly have what it takes to qualify for Austintown (and possibly Columbus) this season, after earning a first, second and third place finish at the MVAC Championship. Turner’s second-place finish was arguably his most impressive time, as that 27.07 in the 200m would have earned him a ticket to Austintown last season.
Ava Mory (Crestwood)
After winning the 800 (2:28.14) and 1600 (5:36) titles in the Valley Division meeting of the Chagrin Valley Conference, the Red Devils senior was named league runner of the year . Expect Mory to continue Crestwood’s tradition of superb long-distance runners and combine with teammates like Abby Guyette and Elaine Guyette to form stints that could make some noise in the playoffs.
Lea Parham (Roosevelt)
Parham is an athlete to watch in the hurdles and sprints. Parham won the US Suburban Championship in the 100 hurdles (with a time of 16.13) and took second place in the 300 (47.97). She is also a strong sprinter (fifth in the Suburban American 100 dash) and high jumper.
Milena Sobie (Streetsboro)
As a freshman trying track for the first time, Sobie was a phenomenon, finishing fifth in the state in the 100, 400 and 800 seating. Now, Sobie has had a year to hone her craft (and get some top gear), and according to coach Robb Kidd, is smashing last year’s times out of the park.
Tincher didn’t just win a number of titles in the Suburban League championship game. The Greenmen senior set a meet record with her distance of 18-06.75 in the long jump. Tincher also impressed with his second-place finish in the 100 meters.
Asya Wood (Windham)
The Bombers junior is looking to redeem himself in Norwayne after posting the best preliminary time in the 400 district before falling to eighth in the final (and therefore missing the regional meet). Already, the time Woods took to win the Northeastern Athletic Conference 400 (1:01.50) would have been good for third place in last year’s district meet. Also watch Woods to compete in the 200 meters after clocking an impressive 27.30 in the league meet.
Emma Rotondo (Field)
From Buzz Kline to Cortney Currey, the Falcons have developed a tradition of sending pitchers out to meet the state. Rotondo, who finished second in the MAC shot put behind lone state champion Morgan Hallett of Norton, has a chance to continue that tradition after an impressive 38-10.25 at Portage Community Bank Stadium. Additionally, teammates Emily Davis (2nd, 132-03.00) and Ali Morris (3rd, 120-08.50) seem quite capable of making a deep discus run.
Avonlea Jefferson (Ravenna)
There was no shame in finishing third in the MAC 100 hurdles, not when the junior Ravens had to face two of the state’s top hurdlers, Field’s Hannah Siudak and Woodridge’s Anna Rorrer. In fact, Jefferson’s third-place time of 16.39 would have been good for sixth place at last year’s regional meet.
Katie Lane (Mogadore)
The Wildcats sophomore has already stood out twice in cross country. Now she hopes to do the same in track and field after winning four titles at the PTC Championships (in 800, 1600 and 3200 as well as 4×800). His time of 5:19.90 in the PTC 1600 would have been good for third place at last year’s Perry Regional and a State spot.