by Steve BatkoCorrespondentWoodridge track coach Jeff Howard was hoping for some redemption in the regional track and field meet.In the 2007 District Division II Championships at Jack Britt Memorial Field in Painesville May 17 and May 19, the Woodridge High mentor saw his girls team overcome great adversity.After upsetting Buchtel Griffins in 2006, the Lady Bulldogs rallied around sophomore distance runner Erin Mercer to finish in third place with 84 points. Buchtel won the title with 106 points and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy took second with 99 points.The top four finishers in each event at the Ravenna Division II regional meet May 24 and May 26, advanced to the June 1-2 state championships in Columbus. Results from regionals were not available at press time.Woodridge lost junior hurdler-sprinter Kymshya Jones to a groin injury recently. Jones was a state qualifier in the 100-meter hurdles last spring and she anchored the Bulldogs sprint relays. She was also a regional finalist in the 200-meter dash.Without Jones, the Bulldogs filled in nicely as they advanced three of the four relays contested. The 400-meter relay finished fifth, just .05 seconds from making a chance the regional championships.Mercer won the 1600 (5:14.23) and 800 (2:17.20) to lead the Bulldogs. She also qualified to the regionals in the 3,200 with a runner-up finish, and anchored the winning 3,200-meter relay (9:42).Danielle Dougherty, a junior, helped Woodridge scored strong in districts as she qualified to regionals in four events. She advanced in the 3,200 meter relay, the 1,600 relay, the 100 hurdles (fourth at districts) and the 300 hurdles (fourth). Danielle's twin sister, Julia, finished third in the long jump and ran in the 800 meter relay at Ravenna. She was also fifth in the high jump, as she just missed the cut. Other regional qualifiers included sophomore Sarah Martter (800 relay, 1,600 relay), junior Liz Hetteberg (800 relay, 1,600 relay), senior Aarion Bell (800 relay), senior Jordin Cochran (3,200 relay, 1600 relay), sophomore Emily Sabo (fourth in the 3,200), and freshman Sarah Dickinson (3,200 relay). Howard's 800 and 1,600 relays placed third at Painesville.Martter ran sixth in the 200 in districts while seventh-place efforts were turned in by Hetteberg (100) and Dickinson (1,600).Danielle Dougherty and Mercer established themselves as the best in Woodridge history in their events as a result of the districts. These two athletes set school records in the 300 hurdles and the 800-meter run.Dougherty's record in the 300 hurdles knocks off an old record while Mercer broke the marks of graduate Katie Sabino, who went on to be a multiple All-American honoree at North Carolina State University.Boys squad finishes fifth at districtsAs expected, the Woodridge boys track squad was led by its distance crew at districts. The Bulldogs' managed a fifth-place finish in the boys team race at Painesville with 56 points. Walsh Jesuit won the team title with 92.5 points.Senior Scott Hilditch continued an excellent season by winning the distance "double." Hilditch won the 1,600-meter run in 4:15.02 and the 3,200-meter run in 9:28.52.Junior teammate Brian Himelright also qualified in two events. Himelright took third place in the 1,600 with a time of 4:24.41 and fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.84.Senior David Petrak ran second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:35.18.With so much success in the individual distance runs, it was no shock to see the Bulldogs' 3,200-meter relay -- ran by Himelright, junior Tony Marette, senior Joey McCoy and Hilditch-- dominate the field. Woodridge won the relay in a time of 7:59, eight seconds faster than its nearest competitor.E-mail: stowsports@recordpub.comPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3113