In a mini district-meet setting, the Stow-Munroe Falls girls track squad showed why they could surprise in a few events in the postseason.
Stow snagged a fourth-place finish at the Suburban League National Conference Championships, which concluded May 9 at Bulldog Stadium.
Defending state runner-up Twinsburg won nine of 17 events, and finished second in five more to dominate in the standings with 148 points to outscore Wadsworth (110).
With 89 points, Stow nearly beat Hudson (98) and finished ahead of a strong Nordonia squad (82), and North Royalton (47).
"I was happy about how the league meet went for us," said head coach Aaron Morris.
"We were hopeful to beat Nordonia and maybe give Hudson a run as well," he added. "We were able to get Nordonia, but Hudson proved to be a little too strong for us. All in all, we had a very good meet."
Standout Aimee Grimm had a strong double in the hurdle races as she was a runner-up in both the 100-meter hurdles and in the 300-meter hurdles.
With a time of 47.88 seconds, Grimm ran second in the 300-meter hurdles and her time in the 100 race was 16.72.
"Aimee continues to be dominant," said Morris. "The times were a little slow in the short sprints early in the meet due to the strong wind and she ran well in the 100 hurdles despite that."
"Once the wind died down later in the meet, all of the times sped up and Aimee ran her best time of the year, second best time ever, in the 300 hurdles in 46.11."
"She has solidified her ranking as first in the district in that event and is currently ranked second in the region," pointed out Morris. "She has a very good chance to qualify to the state meet."
With a big-time leap of 16 feet, 9 inches, Peyton Balawender placed third in the long jump.
"Peyton had a good night in the long jump," noted Morris. "She moved herself from sixth in the prelims to third in the finals with her best jump ever."
Stow's Katie Hall excelled as she placed third overall in the shot put with a heave of 34 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Hall was also fifth with a great discus toss of 118-1.
"Katie had a nice showing in the shot put and discus," offered Morris. "She had an overall PR in the shot put with her throw by 8 1/2 inches."
Overshadowed by Twinsburg's array of sensational sprinters, Stow's Paige Neely ran very well in some deep events.
In the 400-meter race, she ran third with a blazing-fast time of 59.44.
Neely ran third in the 200 meters with a fast time of 26.59 and placed fourth in the 100-meter dash in 12.94.
"Paige ran very well and her times were some of the best of the season," Morris said. "She didn't let the Twinsburg girls intimidate her and did her best to stay with them. That pulled her away from the rest of the field so that she was able to finish third most of the time."
Pitcovich placed fourth in the finals of the high jump as she lifted 5-0. Teammate Carly Feckley finished sixth with an effort of 4-10.
"Carly (Feckley) also tied her season PR in the high jump at 4-10 and Peyton (Balawender) tied her season PR with a 9-0 vault."
Feckley also took fifth in the long jump as she soared 16-7 1/2.
With a nice double, Kendra Cassiday finished sixth in the 1,600-meter race with a season-best time of 5:26.98 and was sixth overall in the 800-meter race with a standout time of 2:26.59.
In the 100, Pitcovich ran sixth overall in 13.32. She also ran eighth in the 200, including a 27.73 in the prelims.
Scoring for the Bulldogs in the 3,200-meter race was Andrea Perrotta, who was clocked at 12:00.26.
"Kendra Cassiday had some nice races and is one of the best freshman distance runners to come through Stow in a while," Morris said.
"That being said, Annie Perrotta has run nice 3,200-meter runs for us all year," he added. "She is also a freshman with tremendous upside. She has the right work ethic and attitude already. Throw in her talent and we really haven't seen a ceiling for her yet."
"I think our distance squad will be fun to watch the next few years," added Morris.
Megan Shelley also advanced to the finals in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdle races as she posted PRs in the preliminary heats.
In the finals, Shelley was seventh in the 300 hurdles in 50.64 and scored in the 100 race as she was seventh in 18.12. Shelley ran a 17.09 in the 100 prelims and also had a great race in the 300-meter hurdles with a clocking of 49.84.
"Megan had PR's in both hurdles as well qualifying to finals in both events," said Morris.†
Stow's 800-meter relay of Mandy Grimm, Veronica Anohkin, Ryleigh Schelien and Izzy Samels posted a fantastic time of 1:50.60 to run sixth.
The Nordonia Division I District Championships were set for Wednesday and Thursday. The top four finishers at Nordonia advance to the the Austintown Fitch Regional meet May 22 and 24.