The Woodridge track and field program enjoyed another solid Division II state meet as Bulldog seniors Molly Howard and Noah Perrin capped brilliant careers.
Competition was fierce at the 44th annual girls track and field State Championships and the 111th edition of the boys championship in Columbus June 1 and 2 at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Woodridge saw its girls’ 3,200-meter relay reach the podium at OSU and earn All-Ohio status with a fifth-place finish.
"The state meet went well," said girls head coach Jeff Howard. "The relay finished fifth to grab All-Ohio honors and make the podium as all three of our returners ran lifetime bests to start things off."
With a clocking of 9 minutes, 34.08 seconds, the Bulldogs ran fifth with sophomore Libby Howard leading off, followed by freshman Anastasia Bakuhn, junior Jenna Kaiser, and anchor leg Molly Howard.
For Molly Howard, it was the third straight podium visit in the 3,200-meter relay in her career as a rare four-time state qualifier in the relay.
"I had a whole new group of girls," Molly Howard said. "We had a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior. It was really nice getting to work with them."
"Libby Howard (with a leg of 2:25), Anastasia Bakuhn (2:26), and Jenna Kaiser (2:24) put Molly (Howard) in great position to score and run a season-best time," said coach Howard.
"Jenna (Kaiser) had a monster leg and Molly finished her relay career with a 2:17 split at the anchor," added coach Howard.
Libby Howard has already reached states in the 3,200-meter open race (2017) and Bakuhn reached states in both cross country and track in her exciting freshman campaign.
Woodridge improved on their regional time by nearly six full seconds as the relay had the 10th fastest time coming into the state meet.
Perrin is no stranger to the state meet — whether it’s in cross country or in track, under Woodridge boys coach Les Carney.
On June 2 at states, Perrin earned an All-Ohio certificate in the 3,200-meter race. With a time of 9:39.90, Perrin grabbed sixth place in Division II.
Headed to Eastern Michigan University to run cross country and track, Perrin came close to his 2016 Ohio runner-up time of 9:39.07.
Meanwhile, Molly Howard capped her comeback from achilles tendinitis with a trip to the medal stand, taking eighth in the 800-meter run.
By registering a time of 2:17.54, Molly Howard snagged eighth-place in Ohio in the 800-meter race.
"It was a little bittersweet," Howard said. "I wish I could've run a little faster than I did, but I'm happy with the season we had."
After achilles tendinitis sidelined Howard for much of her junior year, the Bulldogs senior found joy on and off the track in 2018, relishing the chance to run alongside her two younger sisters — and for her father, coach Jeff Howard.
"All three of us on the team, it's been really fun," Howard said. "We've gotten so much closer over the past year and my dad's here coaching every day and my mom is very involved as well, so it's really a nice family thing."
Molly Howard is committed to Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN) for cross country and track.
Perrin along with Molly and Libby Howard were also recognized as Academic All-Ohioans this spring for the Bulldogs.
Other seniors in the program that will be running in college are Adelle Tannous (Cleveland State University for track) and Jack Willett (Mount Union University for cross country and track).
Editor’s note: Reporter Jonah Rosenblum contributed to this report.