By DAVE HANNEMAN
Emily Stahl is just an itty-bitty thing. But Findlay High School’s top distance runner has big hopes and dreams.
“One of my goals is to make it up on the board in there,” said Stahl, pointing toward Findlay High School before a recent practice at Cooper Tire Track.
“That’s what I’m shooting for, to break the school record and get my name up on that board.”
Stahl has the area’s best times in both the 1,600- (5:24.55) and 3,200-meter (11:11.68) races this spring. She’ll be running just the 3,200, however, as well as the 3,200 relay when the Three Rivers Athletic Conference gets under way today at Oregon Clay High School.
Field events, the 3,200 relay and running event prelims will be contested today. Other running finals in the TRAC meet will be concluded on Friday.
The 3,200 might be the tougher of the distance races in the TRAC meet. Despite her petite frame, however, Stahl isn’t backing down.
“I’m going to focus more on the 3,200 (in the TRAC meet) because I think I’m going to have a lot competition in that event,” Stahl said. “The runners from Oregon Clay have pushed me a lot in the past. I’m looking forward to that, because I’m sure we’ll be pushing each other even more (in the league meet).”
The board of records in the hallway off the Findlay High entrance lists the girls 3,200 school record at 11:02.60. Brier Sterling set that mark in 2009.
Stahl can picture her name being up there some day. It’s just a matter of time.
“It might be this year. It might be at the league meet Friday night,” said Stahl, a junior.
“A lot is going to depend on the weather, the pace, everything.”
Toledo Whitmer’s boys and Toledo Notre Dame’s girls will be looking to defend their championship in the third annual TRAC track and field championships. Findlay’s boys team was second a year ago, and the Trojans’ girls were fifth.
Sarah Barwig will join Stahl to give Findlay’s girls a strong 1-2 presence in the distance events. Haley Haas, who has cleared 5-2 in the high jump, Taylor Lavey and Kyia Gray, who have posted excellent times in the 100, 200 and 400, and hurdler Mikayla Ramsey will also be counted on to earn valuable points.
Findlay’s boys no longer have the high-scoring talent of an athlete like Tyler Brown, who won state championships in the 400-meter run and high jump and finished second in the long jump last spring. But the Trojans will looking for balanced scoring from Kody Calkins and Noah Routson in the shot and discus, Justin Dickey in the high jump, pole vaulters Chase Hoerig and Justin Eyerly, sprinters Rasheed Ajala and Jordan Jones, hurdler Marquis Ramsey and sophomore distance runner Isaiah Gaines in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
“We have balance in just about every event, but we’re young and that will hurt us. We just don’t have the depth in the distance events we’ve had in the past,” said FHS boys coach Brian Rosendale.
Rosendale knows matching last year’s runner-up finish will be tough, especially with the caliber of athletes in the league.
“If you enjoy track and field this is going to be a great meet because there are so many great athletes involved,” Rosendale said.
“Whitmer’s sprinters and relays are unbelievable. Lima (Senior) has great sprinters and (Toledo) St. John’s and (Toledo) St. Francis have their distance crews.
“It’s going to be a great meet to watch. Whitmer is the favorite, but one event could swing it one way or the other. It depends who shows up that day.”
By DAVE HANNEMAN