McCullough sparks River to runnerup

NEWCOMERSTOWN – The River girls’ track team has had quite a month of May.

The Lady Pilots started with an OVAC title, followed that up with the PVC title and on Friday at chilly Lee Stadium, the Lady Pilots of head coach Bob Cicogna earned a runner-up finish in the district.

With senior Cassidy McCullough leading the way, the Lady Pilots compiled 108 points, which was 20 fewer than Division III District 2 champion Zanesville Rosecrans.

More importantly than the silver trophy for the Lady Pilots was how well they qualified for the regional, which will open Wednesday at Fairfield Union High School in Lancaster.

McCullough, who is the defending state champion in the 300 meter hurdles, made the decision to skip River High School commencement for the chance to get back to Columbus in two weeks to defend her title.

“It was a tough decision (to miss graduation), but I knew in the end it would be worth it,” McCullough said.

It was a decision that she made pay dividends. She posted three individual victories in the meet, including winning those low hurdles by three seconds with a time of 46.19.

She won the 100 meter dash in a time of 12.72 to get her afternoon started and then capped her day with a 26.18 to win the 200 meter dash.

“I had a lot on my mind, so none of my races were the best,” McCullough admitted. “I had some trouble with my legs snapping down in the 3s, but I did the best I could and look forward to next week.”

McCullough got her qualifying started on Tuesday when she finished third in the long jump with a mark of 15-ft-5.

Freshman Abby Caldwell, who has quietly had a strong season as McCullough’s top complement, advanced to her first regional in two open events. She was second in the 100 to her teammate with a 13.16. She was third in the 200 with a 27.19.

Junior Courtney Imhoff finished second in the high jump, soaring over 4-ft-8.

Sophomore Devyn Potts advanced in both hurdle races. She was third in the highs in 17.79 and third in the lows in 50.08.

The Lady Pilots also qualified in three relays. The 4×2 team of Jessica Karpacs, Potts, Tiffany Brown and Caldwell posted a 1:54.96 to finish second in the 4×2.

The foursome of Becka Stewart, Potts, Caldwell and Brown finished second in 4:31.53.

The 4×8 team of Stewart, Landyn Ramsay, Makenna Collins and senior Laken Ramsay advanced on Tuesday with a 11:34.93.

Shadyside will be led to the regional by senior standout Tara Tollett, who is looking to improve on the silver medal she won at the state meet a season ago in the 3200 meters.

She’ll enter the regional as a district champion. In her first race since not finishing the OVAC final, Tollett ran an impressive 11:23.64, breaking a meet record that stood since 2004 by nearly 21 seconds.

Freshman McKayla Kinemond will be a busy young lady next weekend. She’ll compete in three open events. She finished fourth in the 400 (64.91), third in the 800 (2:35.20) and she was second in the pole vault on Tuesday.

The Lady Tigers’ 4×4 finished third in 4:34.89. The team consisted of Kinemond, Logen Johnson and the right side of the Lady Tigers’ softball infield, Alicia Gulley and Hayley Holenka.

Bridgeport had a strong showing, finishing fifth in the team scores. The Lady Bulldogs of head coach Donnie Cash were led by talented sophomore Briana Massey.

She advanced to the regional in four events, three of which were individuals. She was second in the long jump with a mark of 16-ft-5 1/2.

Massey was third in the 100 (13.36), second in the 200 (27.08) and she anchored the Lady Bulldogs’ relay team.

Junior Cheyenne Flowers will take part in both hurdling events. She was second in the high hurdles in 16.823 and fourth in the lows in 51.58.

Massey and Flowers were joined on the 400 squad by Bethany Barker and Shannon Frey. That squad finished third in 54.76.

For the first time in its brief OHSAA membership history, East Richland Christian will send competitors to the regional at Fairfield Union.

The Lady Lions will be led by senior ace Hannah Surface, who qualified in two events. She won the 800 meter title in 2:30.56. She was second in the 1600 meter run with a 5:46.58.

Sophomore Alyssa Crowley finished fourth in the high jump with a 4-ft-6 jump.

Barnesville will be led to the regional by freshman Shayla Markovich, who advanced in a pair of field events. She was the runnerup in the shot put on Friday with a mark of 32-ft-3 1/2 and she was fourth in the discus on Tuesday.

Senior Amy Wahl, who was third in the high jump with a 4-ft-8 jump.

Freshman Karleigh Clouse qualified in the 3200 meter run, posting a 14:01.49. Frosh Trista Newsom was fourth in the pole vault on Tuesday.

Monroe Central will send a regional competitor to Lancaster in two events. Junior Annie Digity was fourth in the high hurdles in 18.04 and she was fourth in the long jump on Tuesday.

Beallsville’s lone regional qualifier is sophomore Dicey Stewart, who advanced in the shot put with a mark of 29-ft-5.