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Firestone girls track team aiming for City Series title

4/20/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

WEST AKRON — Taking home this year’s City Series championship is the top goal for the 2017 Firestone girls track team, said head coach Tim Carroll.

“That should be a close battle between us and Buchtel,” the coach stated.

In 2016, Firestone won the City Series regular season title, but “lost to Buchtel in the City Series championship meet by eight points,” Carroll said.

According to the coach, Firestone’s 2017 team is well positioned to improve upon its performance from last season.

“We are undefeated in the City Series and have competed well outside the league,” he said. “I think we have more depth this year, which will help us to be successful at meets. We have quite a few kids that are willing to run four times a meet and try different events at meets and in practice.”

Carroll described this year’s team as “a good mix of veterans with some solid newcomers.”

“We have some freshmen on the varsity, but a solid group of seniors,” he said. “Ciara Gisstand is a four-year letter-winner for us and returning City [Series] champion in the 100 and 200. Ciara has been to the regional meet every year of high school and the state meet during her 10th-grade season. She is our team captain, a hard worker and someone we have always relied on. Lydia Sherman is another four-year letter-winner that consistently gets us points in the shot, disc and high jump. She hurdles as well. Eboni Baker has been running well in the 100, 200 and the 4x200 and 4x100 relays. Eboni also qualified with Ciara and senior Ka’Meel Hood to the state meet, where they were sixth two years ago and set our school record of 140.95.”

In addition, Carroll said, several other seniors are expected to make key contributions to this year’s team.

“Savannah Blackwell is another senior whom is on the 4x200 and 4x100 relays,” he said. “Sophie Niekamp is running strong in the distance event and has worked hard over the winter to get in the best shape she has been. She ran a [personal record] in the 1600 already and has been putting up quality times in multiple events every meet. Emma Orosz swam this winter and looks to be in good shape as well. She joins Sophie in our 4x800 relay, which is running well. Katherine Scantling is doing great for her first year on the team. She is running under 6 minutes in the 1600 along with Sophie and sophomore Carly Justice.”

Aside from the seniors, Carroll said several other athletes have been making notable contributions this season.

“[Junior] Kennedy Majors did well in her first year of track and field last year and continues to excel in the shot and disc,” the coach said. “Jordan Baith, a ninth-grader, is doing well in the throws, too. [Junior] Claire Moritz has been on varsity since her freshman year, and after missing a few meets to knee pain, is back running and looks good. Ta’mesha Chapman is a freshman that shows promise in the hurdles, sprints and high jump, along with Daisha Lewis and Dejah Shelton. Megan Garro is doing well in distance, as are Mynyon Shadie, Antonia Fisher, Cydnei Jenkens, Shiane Lathan and several other underclassmen in sprints.”

Carroll said this year’s team “should be able to get some kids through to the regional and state meets.”

“We hope to get multiple relays to state again this year,” he said. “It may take some sacrifice, as the regional finals are Friday, May 26, the same night we have prom. Hopefully, our seniors can compete and then get out of there so they can get to prom on time. Last time this happened, Sarah Meek won a regional championship in the 3200 in 2012 and went to the prom with her championship medal around her neck. It should be a fun night.”

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