By John Bombatch
DAYTON — A year ago, Greenon’s Rachel Stute was watching the track season from the sidelines. This time, the Knights senior is headed to Columbus.
Stute knocked nearly two seconds off her district championship time and placed third in the Division II girls 400-meter dash regional final, Saturday at Welcome Stadium with time of 57.70. By finishing in the top-4, the once gimpy sideline warrior is now an elite class athlete headed to next weekend’s state championships.
“Being my senior year, this is really special,” Stute said after stepping off the awards podium. “I’ve been waiting for four years to do this. … You either make it, or you go home. And I did not want to be done.”
Stute said she finished eighth in the girls 400-meter final as a freshman, she missed the finals as a sophomore and then had to miss all of last season with a quadricep tear.
“I missed all of last year. So to be able to get back here and to make it to state, it’s really a dream,” Stute said.
Moments after competing in the 200 dash (she finished seventh), Stute headed off to Wittenberg University in Springfield for Greenon’s Saturday night commencement ceremonies.
Carroll’s Christina Kallet picked perhaps the hottest, muggiest day of the high school track & field season thus far to compete in three events on Saturday.
In sweltering upper-80s heat, Kallet placed seventh in the girls pole vault. She then placed third and qualified to state in the girls 800-meter run, and later ran the lead-off leg of the girls 1,600-meter (one mile) relay with fellow seniors Haley Sabo, Hannah Ritter and Julia Barbera.
Thanks to an amazing kick by anchor leg runner Barbera, the relay team placed second in a school-record time of 4:02.24 to also advance.
“I knew we had to be fourth or higher, and I was blocked in with four people in front of me. So I thought ‘Hey, that math doesn’t add up!’ ” Roberts joked. “I just busted my butt to get through those two girls (who were blocking her in) and in front of that last one (at the finish line). … It was soooo worth it.”
Another Carroll school record fell by the wayside, but this one happened up in Lexington, Ohio. That’s where the Carroll boys were competing in their D-II regional competition. There, Carroll sophomore Sam Janson placed second in the boys 400-meter dash in a school-record time of 49.92 seconds to also advance.
“Overall, it was a pretty good day for us,” Carroll coach Mike Triola said. “We thought our 800 (Kallet) and our 4×400 relay (Kallet, Sabo, Ritter and Barbera) had the best chance of getting out, and they did. And everybody else who didn’t get out had some of their best times and marks they’ve had all year.”
The Carroll girls scored 33.5 points in the two-day regional event and placed third in the overall team standings (behind champ Kettering Alter and runner-up Dayton Dunbar) out of 51 schools.
Triola believes that to be the school’s highest regional finish in his eight years of coaching the team.