Stow's Feckley taking advantage of return to the track

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Stow-Munroe Falls Bulldogs

Arguably one of the top returning athletes from 2019 for the Stow girls track team, Carly Feckley is showing why she just may be the Bulldog’s most versatile performer.

Feckley made her bid during the Walsh Jesuit John Hasenstab Warrior Relays Saturday and in a recent league dual against powerful Wadsworth.

“Carly has really been coming into her own and right now, she is our most versatile athlete,” said head coach Aaron Morris.

“She is obviously our best high jumper and long jumper,” he added. “However, she has also become a very valuable part of our 400-meter relay and has been filling in nicely for our 800-meter relay as we work through some missing athletes.”

With great consistency, Feckley scored big in the long jump as the senior placed second overall at Walsh with a leap of 15-feet and 7.0 inches and helped Stow to second place in the relay.

“Carly has been over 16-feet in the long jump already and has PR’d in the high jump with a 5-1-foot jump against Wadsworth,” issued Morris, of Feckley’s personal record high jump.

Stow was edged 71-66 by Wadsworth, a club expected to challenge this year with Stow and Hudson in the Suburban League National Conference, but responded with a strong outing at Walsh – a meet that demands a ton of athletes.

“Ultimately, I was pleased with how our athletes battled at the Walsh Relays, we were very light on athletes for such an event heavy meet (21 events),” said the coach. “We were struggling to fill all of the spots because we were missing about one-third of our athletes for various reasons.”

Morris stressed that a few athletes were being maxed out in events and stretched to their physical limits.

“Given our situation, to finish in fourth-place against that competition and not have any new injuries after the meet feels like a big success,” he said.

In the team standings among 15 clubs, Medina Highland won with 124 points over Walsh (94), St. Vincent-St. Mary (85), Stow (70.5) and Massillon Perry (62.5).

Crossing with a time of 2-minutes and 17.11 seconds, Jayla Atkinson captured the title in the 800-meter race at Walsh.

“Jayla may be a freshman, but she races with a maturity beyond her years,” said Morris. “She starts strong and ends strong and her splits tend to be pretty even. If she needs to find another gear, she can definitely find it down the stretch if she needs to run someone down.”

Even with great talent, Morris stressed that there has been plenty of learning early on for Atkinson.

“For most of the season in her open races, she hasn’t had anyone to race and has been running those times alone,” he noted. “Our biggest challenge has been teaching her how to hold back in races during meets where we need her to run more races than we normally would in order to score more points for the team. She is starting to learn the difference between racing every time the gun goes off and doing what is needed to get the win and the points.”

The Bulldogs seized a title in the 800-meter sprint medley with a time of 1:59.09 thanks to junior Lydia Payne, senior Leah Bennington, senior Jenna Sawyer, and Atkinson.

Registering a time of 22:59.52, Stow’s 6,400-meter relay took second behind junior Kendra Cassiday, junior Sophia Battenhouse, sophomore Sydney Pitcovich, and Atkinson.

Grabbing fourth-place in the 1,600-meter race, Cassiday crossed in 5:31.23.

“Kendra has been one of our most consistent distance forces as she can handle multiple races each meet and has been able to give us quality double and triple efforts,” said Morris.

“She is a staple to our 3,200 and 1,600-meter relays,” he added. “She has proven herself to be durable and that is a testament to her offseason work. We would not be the same team without her.”

Stow’s distance medley ran third in 14:01.18 with Battenhouse, Sawyer, senior Ashley Hutchinson, and junior Hannah Hartenburg.

Feckley also helped the high jump crew score as she was fifth individually at 4-8 feet. Pitcovich aided with a lift of 4-6 feet (10th) along with Bennington, who reached 4-3 feet.

Morris saw his 400-meter shuttle hurdle crew place fourth (1:13.05) behind the efforts of Bennington, senior Kaylee Lott, senior Rachel Rhodes, and freshman Ellie Brosch.

Bennington has impressed Morris with her diverse skill set.

“Leah Bennington has had a very nice rebound season from her injury riddled freshman and sophomore years,” he said. “She has found herself in the 300 hurdles as well as filling in for the high jump.”

“I have actually been running Leah more than I feel comfortable, since I am trying to make sure she is able to stay healthy herself until the end of the year,” he added. “As we start to get more of our injured athletes back, we will be able to focus Leah on only a couple of specialty events and that should help her improve, stay healthy, and help the team as a whole.”

Sophomore Sydney Sheppert, who along with junior Olivia Casalinova helped Stow to place second in the long jump at Walsh, had a big victory over Wadsworth in the long jump with a leap of 16-6.75 feet.

“Our girls really battled well, but we just ended up falling short,” said Morris, of the dual loss that puts Stow at 2-1. “I was proud of how our athletes performed to stay with a quality team like Wadsworth.”

Sophomore sprinter Nicole Kotsatos got praise from Morris.

“Nicole has really started to assert herself as one of our go-to athletes in the short sprints,” he said. “She scored much needed points in a spot start in the 200 meters as well as a solid second place finish in the 100. She is also holding down our sprint relays.”

Atkinson also snagged an impressive 1,600-meter victory in a swift time of 5:14.2.