Young Tallmadge girls track and field squad preps for regional meet

Roger Gordon
Tallmadge Blue Devils

Sometimes in athletics, things just don’t make sense.

Take the Tallmadge girls track and field team. The Blue Devils have a young team, but a dozen team members, the most ever for Tallmadge, qualified for the Division II regional meet at Lexington, which is scheduled to be held May 27 and May 29.

The Tallmadge thinclads accomplished this feat with their performance at the district meet at Bedford that was held May 20 and May 22. The top four finishers in each event advanced to regionals.

Overall, the Blue Devils finished second out of 11 teams with 110 points. Gates Mills Gilmour Academy won the competition with 168.5 points and Cleveland Heights Beaumont finished third with 105 points.

“I thought the girls finishing second was a great accomplishment,” Tallmadge head coach Mike Srodawa said. “Going into the meet, we had the feeling that we could possibly finish that high, and the girls definitely stepped up. We’re really excited about the whole thing. This team has worked really hard, and they’ve bought into what we’re trying to do as a team.”

Junior Mia Hurst produced the Blue Devils’ only first-place finishes, capturing the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 7.5 inches and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.15 seconds. Sophomore Kat Carter finished fourth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 51.83.

“Mia had a great day, both in qualifying and in the finals,” said Srodawa. “Those are both new events for her this year. She did long jump a little bit before but not like this season. Going in, we had a feeling she was going to win both events. She’s worked really hard all season, so the hard work has paid off. She has natural ability, she works hard and she’s extremely coachable. She’s a team leader, too.”

Hurst also teamed with senior Mackenzie Moran, junior Megan Reifsnyder and freshman Isabella Messina to finish third in the 400 relay with a time of 51.89.

Moran, Messina, Reifsnyder and junior Sam Miles combined to place third in the 800 relay with a time of 1:50.52.

Senior Kelsey Bellman, junior Ana Crangle, sophomore Julia Onchak and freshman Cara Basso joined forces to finish fourth in the 3,200 relay with a time of 10:37.73. 

“I thought our relays did great,” Srodawa said. “Going in, we had the feeling they’d have the opportunity to advance to regionals. With relays, sometimes you never know and crazy things happen.”

Miles finished second in the long jump with a leap of 15-6. Reifsnyder placed fourth in the 200 with a clocking of 27.54.

“Sam is a hard worker,” the coach said. “This is her first time jumping for a full year since eighth grade. She worked really hard and got back into long-jump form. This is Megan’s first year running track. She’s a hard worker. I’m super-excited to see what she’s going to do at regionals.”

The pole vault produced a pair of regional qualifiers for Tallmadge – freshman Kate Archer, who finished second with a vault of 9-6, and senior Anna Siesel, who placed fourth with a vault of 9 feet.

“Kate started pole vaulting in seventh grade,” said Srodawa. “She’s worked at it and is our highest pole vaulter we’ve ever had as a freshman. Anna has been vaulting since she was a freshman. She’s put in a lot of work. She’s a very gifted athlete and comes from a line of pole vaulters in her family.”

Crangle finished third in the 1,600 with a time of 5:38.62.

“Ana has worked really hard,” Srodawa said. “She was trying to double in the 1,600 and the 3,200, which is a hard double to do.”

Also advancing to regionals was freshman Emily Wilmot in the high jump with a third-place leap of 4-9.

Said Srodawa, “I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the girls individually and in relays qualify for state.”