Getting a new track at their stadium this season, the Lady Oaks finally had a safe surface in which to practice. That practice made perfect, as Oak Hill topped host Wheelersburg by one point, 92.3 to 91.3, to win the girls leg of the Wheelersburg Invitational on Tuesday night.
The score was also good enough to beat Division II winner Waverly by three-tenths of a point.
“This is wonderful,” said Lady Oaks coach Kristin Ruby. “I couldn't be more pleased with my girls' performances. They worked really hard, and we had a lot of different girls running various events to try and get those points. This win really helps the program, and it helps our confidence. Having the new track brought out a lot of numbers, which has been the main catalyst for us winning those events.”
Most of those points came off the feet of Kayla Davis, who accounted for 32 points. Winning the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes, Davis also ran a leg for the team's second-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay. Heading into that event, the Lady Oaks were one point behind Wheelersburg, but finished second to the Lady Pirates' third to pull out the win.
Davis finished just shy of high-point medalist honors. Winning that award, though, was one of the Lady Pirates' own - Amber Bussa. Placing second in the 200-meter dash and long jump, Bussa was strides ahead of the field in the 100- and 300-meter hurdle events, winning both. The senior finished the meet with 36 points.
“I tried my hardest, and I improved in the long jump,” she said. “I became tired around the 200-meter dash, but was still able to come away with second. Knowing that I was up against Davis in a couple of events, it really pushed me to want to win that award. It is definitely more special to win an award like this at a home meet.”
Despite falling by just one point, Wheelersburg coach Paul Boll joked that he was glad to get through the meet.
“There are always a lot of places that you think about where you can pick up points,” he said. “I am proud of the girls, and we are one of those young teams that are coming along well. I think this meet was a good prelude to what we will see in the SOC, which I feel will be a tight competition.”
Valley finished third in Division III with 70.5 points, led by Courtnie Merritt, who won the high jump and long jump, and placed second in the 100-meter dash. South Webster scored 45.5 points, Portsmouth had 29 and Eastern Pike had 26.3. East and Green each scored three points to round out the scoring.
In the Division II portion of the meet, Waverly exerted its will from the start, running away with a 92-60 victory over Northwest. The Lady Tigers won three relays - the 3,200-, 800- and 1,600-meter events - and failed to place at least one runner in only the 400-meter dash and the 300-meter hurdles.
“The competition was great, and everyone put forth a good effort,” said Waverly coach Suzanne Holderness. “Our girls showed their strength today. We are a small team, but we have a lot of talent. It was an overall team effort, and every girls showed what they were made of today. We did lose a lot of runners from last season, but these girls have proven themselves.”
Finishing second was Northwest, which once again proved to be solid in the distance events, namely Missy White. The senior place second in the 1,600-meter run and followed that up with a win in the 3,200-meter run. Heather Kremin added a win the 800-meter run, and the Lady Mohawks had solid showings in the throwing events.
“We have great distance kids,” said Northwest coach Robert Seaman. “I was also impressed with our young sprinters and those in the field events, and that really helped us a lot. Missy doesn't run the mile often, and she decided that she wanted to run the mile tonight. We made some thing happen, kept her out of the 3,200-meter relay, and it worked out well for us.”
River Valley placed third in Division II with 43 points, and Minford was just behind with 38 points. West and Piketon rounded out the scoring, totaling 20 points and 10 points, respectively.
All of the Senators' points came from one person - Bethany Redoutey. Consistently one of the top throwers in the area, Redoutey was at the top of the field Tuesday night, winning both the discus and shot put events by comfortable margins.
“I did pretty well tonight,” said Redoutey. “I had a rough start, and didn't do as well as I would have liked in the finals, but I was able to get some good throws in. I feel that I can get better, and I believe I ill as the season goes along.”
The boys portion of the Wheelersburg Invitational will begin today at 4:30.
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
1. Waverly 92
2. Northwest 60
3. River Valley 43
4. Minford 38
5. West 20
6. Piketon 10
1. Oak Hill 92.3
2. Wheelersburg 91.3
3. Valley 70.5
4. South Webster 45.5
5. Portsmouth 29
6. Eastern Pike 26.3
7. (tie) East, Green 3