COLUMBUS — Talk about style.
The Amherst girls finished third at Saturday’s Division I state track and field championships — by far the best finish in the history of the girls program.
Amherst scored in six out of eight events — senior Erin Kasper’s second-place finish in high jump led the Comets. Amherst had three school records, including one Lorain County record. It also tied another team record.
It was almost a Comets 1-2 team sweep. Amherst finished with 24 points — just one point behind runner-up Cincinnati Withrow — while Solon’s Comets (47) won its first state crown. All eight Amherst girls that qualified to state earned All-Ohio honors (top eight) in at least one event.
More photos below.
The Comets’ previous best performances at state were 14th in 2001 and 20th in 2000.
“We were definitely hoping for second,” said junior Sher Champe, who earned three all-state awards. “It’s hard for us to be unhappy because we all ran our best. Third is well-deserved.”
Champe ran a school-record 55.75 for her fourth-place finish in the 400 meters. She anchored the fourth-place 1,600-meter relay finish in 55.9 to set another school record (3:52.94) — second fastest in Lorain County history.
To start the day, Champe anchored with a 24.7 split for the fifth-place 800-meter relay (1:41.40) that broke Elyria’s 2001 county mark of 1:41.72.
Sophomore Lindsay Sands (59.1 split), sophomore Alexis Szivan (59.9) and senior Brianna Shagovac (58.0) joined Champe for the 1,600 relay. Shagovac (24.9), Sands (25.6) and senior Becki Stuckart (26.2) were with Champe on the 800 relay.
“We knew the outcome of the meet would be determined by just a few points,” Amherst coach Rob Glatz said. “We said we wanted to give 100 percent going into this meet and not leave any regrets behind. Our girls definitely did that.
“We had a meeting last week about what it means to make it to the state meet. It’s not enough to just make it to the state meet. These coaches have trained these kids to compete at the state meet and not just make it and be a tourist at the state meet.
They came in as competitors. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
It all went back to Kasper’s second-place in high jump to start the day. Her 5-6 mark tied the school record. Only junior Loretta Blaut of Cincinnati Seton was better at 5-7.
“My 5-6 jump was my best jump of the day — if that only could have come at a higher bar,” Kasper said. “After finishing sixth here last year, my goal for the last 365 days was to come back here and win. I wasn’t able to do that but runner-up is still pretty good. I’m happy how I placed, but wished I could have placed a little better.”
Kasper’s second in high jump is the first top-two finish by an Amherst girl athlete since Theresa Feldkamp won state titles in the 800 meters back-to-back in 2000 and ’01.
“Her 5-6 jump was good enough that Erin could have cleared 5-7 or 5-8,” Amherst assistant Mike Lugar said. “It was big.”
Amherst also had a seventh-place finish from senior Sara Moore in the 300 hurdles (44.90) and senior Cassie Vince in the 3,200 (11:15.33).
“Fighting off the turn was tougher this time than I was used to,” Moore said. “The last part of the race was challenging, but I pushed through.”
“I let some of the runners go early that I probably shouldn’t have,” Vince said. “I didn’t get out fast enough. That’s where I excel — is running off of other runners.”
Amherst junior Mike Kardos finished 11th in the Division I boys 800 meters (1:56.10).
He entered as the No. 13 seed (1:56.00).
“It wasn’t a PR,” Kardos said. “I was looking to try and place in the top eight. I’m a little disappointed, but I won’t quit. My goal is to make it back next year and make the podium.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or email@example.com.