Looking to gain some momentum, the youthful Stow-Munroe Falls girls track squad gained some learning experience in the first week of the spring season.
Although balanced, the Nordonia Knight Relays were not the perfect forum for the Bulldogs to show their best. The meet featured relay events and just two individual events.
However, head coach Aaron Morris saw some bright spots at the Knight Relays April 6 at Boliantz Stadium.
"The weather was great for the Knight Relays and we had some good performances," he said. "It definitely looked like the first meet of the year for us, not overly consistent."
It wasn't the opener for Stow. Visiting Nordonia edged Stow 69-68 in a the Suburban League National Conference dual meet April 3 to kick off the regular season.
A host of the Bulldogs standout athletes didn't have the full opportunity to showcase their skills at the relay meet.
"I thought that a relay meet like Nordonia's really doesn't allow us to shine as a team," noted Morris. "There were only two individual events, so Paige Neely and Aimee Grimm were not really able to be used individually to help us out with points."
The Lady Bulldogs tied for sixth out of 16 schools at the Knight Relays.
"I thought the competition was very balanced," said Morris. "There were only eight points between second-place and seventh-place."
"Unfortunately for us, there were a couple of teams in our conference ahead of us in Nordonia and North Royalton, plus we tied Brecksville," he added.
Stow's 400-meter weight relay won with throwers Katie Hall, Jenna Madgar, Ellie Rieger and Casey Johnson-Bowers. Their time was 59.43 seconds.
Hall placed fourth individually in the shot put with a throw of 33-feet, 5.5 inches and was fourth in the discus with a toss of 115-feet-6.
Neely raced to a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash in 12.99 seconds.
The Bulldogs' 800-meter sprint medley ran third in 1-minute, 58.20 seconds with Neely, Grimm, Rachel Pitcovich and Lydia Payne.
Carly Feckley finished fifth in the long jump with a leap of 16-feet-2.5.
Grimm ran seventh in the deep 100-meter hurdle race with a time of 17.17 seconds.
"We are strong in the hurdles again this year and there was only one hurdle spot available at this event," pointed out Morris. "Grimm was injured in the first running of the 100 hurdles."
"However, the timing system malfunctioned and they reran the 100 hurdles race and Aimee only finished seventh the second time around, nursing an injured back. We tried her in one more event on the day and decided to rest her from the remainder of her events."
The 400-meter relay ran fifth and was timed at 52.55 seconds behind Neely, Grimm, Mabinty Kromah, and Allison Harrell.
Placing sixth was the 6,400-meter relay team that had a time of 23:30.51 with Kendra Cassiday, Mackenzie Cassiday, Andrea Perrotta, and Ashley Hutchinson.
The distance medley ran sixth in 13:42.82 and included both Cassiday runners, Perrotta, and Jenna Sawyer.
Peyton Balawender tied for eighth in the pole vault with an effort of 8-6 feet.
Stow's 3,200-meter relay crossed seventh in 10:56.41 with Megan Shelley, Abby Kuhns, Bailey Dillow, and Madison Hedrick.
Madgar helped the discus relay as she had a throw of 94-11 feet while Johnson-Bowers also helped the shot-put relay score with a toss of 26-0 feet.
Stow's junior varsity 400-meter relay won (55.02) behind the running of Lauren Rayman, Ashley DiSanza, Heaven Plaines, and Lexi Gray.
In upcoming league meets, Stow hosts North Royalton April 18.
"That Nordonia loss was disappointing, but it didn't hurt too badly because we were beaten badly by them last year," he noted. "Our team is very young and I learned a lot of about them."
"If there's ever such a thing as a good loss, that is what we experienced," added Morris.
Neely won the 100 in 12.7 seconds over the Knights while Stow's had winning 800 and 1,600-meter relays as well.
Grimm won the 100 hurdles in 15.8 ticks and was clocked at 48.40 seconds in the 300-meter victory.
Kendra Cassiday crossed first in the 800-meter open race with a time of 2:33.57 and was just edged in the 1,600-meter race by Mallory Tedor, who had a time of 5:42.74 to Cassiday's mark of 5:42.86.
Capturing the long jump was Feckley, who had a leap of 15-8.5 feet.