Smithie girls snap Norwayne streak, win WCAL crown

Smithie girls snap  Norwayne streak, win WCAL crown
Dan Brown

The Smithville girls track and field team captured its first county title since 2013 and snapped Norwayne’s streak of eight championships in a row with an exciting three-point win at the annual WCAL meet at Dalton on May 11.


The Smithville girls 4x400 relay team has been among the top groups in all of Division III.

So it was no surprise that, with the Wayne County Athletic League Championship on the line, the quartet of Maddy Lengacher, Hayden Steiner, Cadence Amstutz and Maryn Erdman was more than ready for the opportunity.

The 4x400 team went on to win the event in 4:12.35, helping the Smithies capture their first county title since 2013 and snapping Norwayne’s streak of eight championships in a row with an exciting three-point win at the annual league meet at Dalton on May 11.

“They have faced challenging competition throughout the season, and that has built confidence in the girls,” Smithville coach Kirstie Mahas said. “With relays you aren’t just running for yourself, but you want to put your best out there for the other three runners. On Saturday that just extended out to the whole team.”

The Smithies won on the strength of their sprinters and distance runners to compile 150.5 points. Waynedale was fourth with 95, followed by Dalton in seventh with 26.

Along with anchoring the 4x400 to a win, Lengacher added a pair of individual victories — taking first in the 200 (27.05) and 400 (59.05) — along with a runner-up finish in the 100 (13.65).

If that wasn’t enough, sophomore Kaitlyn Carr and freshman Maryn Erdman continued their impressive seasons, Carr winning both the 1,600 (5:08.64) and 3,200 (school-record 11:15.98) while Erdman took the 800 (2:22.37).

But it was the depth across a host of events that came through in a big way with Haas placing second in the 400 and third in both the long jump and 200, along with Leah Keib picking up a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles and Erdman adding a third in the 1,600.

“Each of the girls stepped up and did their best, which was what we needed,” Mahas said. “They’ve committed to being the best teammates they can be, and it has led to some tremendous results. It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s definitely worth the effort.”

The Golden Bears also had a strong day in the sprints paced by Nayeli Cruz. The junior picked up a win over Lengacher in the 100 by 0.04 seconds, along with helping both the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams to first-place finishes and placing second in the 200. Skye Morris also was a winner in the 100 hurdles and took second in the 300 hurdles while Anna Pittman recorded a personal-record 11-2 to take top honors in the pole vault.

Callie Wolf (second, long jump) and Clara Sundberg (third, 800) also had top finishes for Waynedale while Dalton’s top placer was Mackenna Thiel (fourth, pole vault).

On the boys side, Waynedale and Dalton placed second and third overall in the final WCAL standings. Behind team champ Norwayne (184.5), the Bears picked up 98 points and the Bulldogs had 97.5. Smithville was fifth with 79.5.

Despite inclement conditions on the meet’s final day, Dylan Adams picked up Waynedale’s lone event win with a mark of 5-10 in the high jump.

From there it was all about team depth as Jackson Varner was runner-up in the 1,600 and 3,200, along with another second-place finish by Connor Reich in the 400. Ian Sarver (shot put), Rollin Hendrix (100) and Nick St. John (800) each were third in their respective events while the 4x200 and 4x800 relays were second.

Dalton had five victories on the day, four of which came on the track. Sammy Tomlinson and Colin Pearson won the 100 and 200, respectively, while both had a hand in the 4x100 and 4x200 teams picking up victories. Carson Steiner also was a county champ, clearing 13 feet in the pole vault and winning the tiebreaker over Smithville’s Trei Durstine (13-0).

Along with Durstine, the Smithies picked up points with a handful of third-place finishes by Tyler Sustar (discus), Jake Hershy (high jump and 100 hurdles) and Gavin Martin (300 hurdles). The 4x400 team also was runner-up.

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