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The Stow-Munroe Falls girls track and field team has a record of 1-3 in dual meets so far this season. However, the Lady Bulldogs are better than that record would indicate. That's because they've battled some of the best opponents within the National Conference of the Suburban League.
On April 18, Stow traveled to Hudson, where the Lady Bulldogs suffered an 81-56 defeat at the hands of the Lady Explorers.
"We should have most of our toughest dual meets behind us now," said Stow head coach Aaron Morris. "This team is better than the 1-3 record we currently have in the conference."
Senior Kayla Thompson enjoyed a big day for Stow. She won four individual events, claiming victory in the 100, the 200, the 100 high hurdles, and the long jump. As a result, she scored 20 points.
"Hudson is a tough matchup for us," said Morris. "They are good at all of the events that we are also good at. So stacking points in our normally high-scoring events was not easy. We did well in the 100 high hurdles and long jump. But for most events, if we won, Hudson finished second and third, so we were only gaining one point. When they won an event, we were usually only scoring once behind them. They pulled away from us during the 200."
Stow also competed in the John Hasenstab Walsh Jesuit Warrior Relays at Walsh Jesuit High School April 15. The Lady Bulldogs finished seventh overall with a total of 74 points.
Solon won the invitational with 127.5 points. Nordonia was second with 100 points, and Massillon Perry placed third with 98 points.
"We had some nice performances, and we had some that we'd like to have back," said Morris. "We had a nice day in the throws. Sophomore Katie Hall, junior Katie Dunn, and freshman Jenna Madgar did well in both the shotput and discus. There were a lot of PRs in both events. Kayla Thompson had a PR in the 100 high hurdles, winning with a time of 14.67."
Stow's long jump relay set a new meet record. The members of that unit were Thompson, junior Madison Merlene, and sophomore Peyton Balawender.
The Lady Bulldogs were also second in the high jump relay. Among the members of that squad were senior Maria Cistone, senior Chrissy DeMarino, and freshman Rachel Pitcovich. In addition, junior Sophi Perez was victorious in the 3,200.
According to Morris, the Lady Bulldogs continue to show progress and improvement in many areas. "[Sophomore] Tatum Bradley continues to impress me in the 300 intermediate hurdles," he said. "She keeps dropping time and PR'd against Hudson, getting under 50 seconds for the first time and finishing second.
"Rachel Pitcovich has been a great addition to the team, too. She had never done track before and is learning the high jump. She is already over 4-10 and making nice attempts at 5-0. It won't be long before she's over that height, too.
"Katie Dunn and Katie Hall keep improving in both the shotput and discus. They have a great friendly rivalry going right now in both events. When one sets a season-best record in one event, the other gets it in the other. They keep going back and forth, and it's raising the team up as a whole when they do so.
"[Junior] Tessa Pitcovich has been having a great season so far, too. She is already under 12 minutes in the 3,200 and ready to dip into the 5:20s any day in the 1,600. She has been our most consistent distance runner. With her, Sophi Perez, [sophomore] Mackenzie Cassiday, and [senior] Kayla Valente holding down the distance events, we're able to spread them out between the 8, 16, and 32 and have a nice performance in each event at each meet."
On April 20, Stow was set to host conference counterpart Cuyahoga Falls, but results were not available at press time.
On Tuesday, April 25, the Lady Bulldogs will welcome conference rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights to town at 4 p.m.
"Both are very good teams and well coached, but we should be able to bring our strengths forward in the next two dual meets," said Morris. "We are strong in field events and hurdles, and that should really help us."