GRAFTON— After a stellar performance at the regional meet on Thursday, the Grafton High School (GHS) track team had 12 Bearcat competitors qualify to advance to Charleston to compete in the state meet.
Freshman Jerra Halbritter earned her place at states taking second in the region in the girls shot put event and fifth in the girls discus throw, recording a toss of 89-10.
“Jerra continues to dominate the shot and disc, qualifying for both,” said girls head coach Becky Lake.
Lake shared that Hallbritter is sure to shine at states, and is projected to place within the top six in the state.
Joining Hallbritter, is Caroline Wellman. Wellman also put on a strong showing at regionals recording a 15-05 in the long jump event, earning her a spot at the state championship.
And while the shuttle hurdle relay team had somewhat of an off day, falling short of their best time, the team of Abigail Stewart, Nevaeh Swisher, Aleecia Shelton and Caroline Wellman went head-to-head with the competition and managed to secure a spot in the championship meet, as well.
“I feel confident that once we put in a couple of hard days of practice, we should have no trouble hitting those PRs (personal records) this week,” Lake voiced.
GHS will also be sending seven Bearcats to join the five Lady Cats at states on Friday.
Boys head track coach Wes Norris shared that his phrase for the season has been, “The goal is not tomorrow.”
“It is a reminder to them that we can’t take reps or days off,” he noted.
The phrase stuck with the team as they took on some tough competition at the regional meet, and worked toward their next goal; making it to Charleston. Not only did they achieve their goal, but some exceeded all expectations.
Bearcat Matthew Derk qualified in all four of his events and claimed the title of Regional Champion in the 300 hurdles, escaping his opponents with a time of 43.64.
Sophomore Seth Horne also worked his way to the top. Hungry to not just qualify for states but to reign as regional champion, Horne shattered his challengers recording a height of 10-00, and earning the title he sought.
The team will also be sending their 4x100 relay team of M. Derk, Hayden Derk, Wyatt Price and Zach Nibert to compete in Charleston, along with the 4x200 relay team consisting of M. Derk, H. Derk, Horne and Nibert.
In addition, Price anchored the Bearcat shuttle relay team, made up of himself, M. Derk, H. Derk and Devin Weaver. The team came in with a time of 1:12.12, fast enough to earn them a spot at states.
The boys will also be represented in the long jump event by Nibert, who has been pushing himself to make improvements each week.
The hard work he has put in paid off when he placed fourth in the event during regionals, collecting his ticket to states with a jump of 19-00.
Norris shared that he is proud of the determination displayed by his team, saying that he has been witness to some major improvements throughout the season, with the most notable being the strides made by Weaver and Conor Goldizen.
“The boys have had a lot of fun and have put in a lot of effort,” he commented. “Now, the goal is Friday, in Charleston!”