Dalton’s Ava Martinez, Brianna Chenevey, Amelia Knetzer and Lauren Clos are among 16 track and field athletes headed to the state meet.
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
A school record 16 athletes will represent Dalton High School’s track and field team at the state meet after an impressive performance at the Division III regional meet May 26 and 28 earned runner-up for both the boys and girls teams.
“We’ve had so many firsts this season with these athletes,” said Dalton’s coach Jodi Augspurger. “Taking 16 athletes to compete at the state meet is another that we can add to the list. We’re so excited to be going to state.”
Augspurger said the regional meet was fast-paced and the Bulldogs challenged their competitors in every race.
“Although there is strategy in every race, it’s always a little more evident in the longer events,” she said. “We were all on ‘pins and needles’ waiting to see how Mitchell Kutz would play out the 3200-meter run and just as we caught our breath from his fourth-place finish, Brianna Chenevey, anchoring the 4x400m relay, dug deep to pass two teams in the last 70m for the win. Then in the boys 4x400m relay, Dillon Horst went out strong and began closing the gap between the other teams before handing off the anchor Evan Hodkinson, who calmly passed a few more teams for second place.”
Dalton’s athletes were well prepared for regionals. Augspurger said some athletes had spent days on Ohio Milesplit studying what to expect from their competition and running through possible scenarios they could encounter, including changes in the weather.
Ozzie Miller placed first in the boys 100m dash to punch his ticket to the state meet. Hodkinson won the 800m run, which will send him to state. Kutz will not only be going to state after his fourth-place finish in the 3200m run, but he also broke a school record that was set by T. Hunter in 1978. The 4x100m relay team of Ozzie Miller, Adam Marthey, Horst and Jaiden Malone advanced to state after they placed fourth at regionals. Jordan Muth, Lucas Oswald, Horst and Hodkinson made up the 4x400m relay team that placed second and will go to state.
The 4x800m relay team of Muth, Oswald, Kutz and Hodkinson will also compete at state after finishing fourth at regionals.
On the girls side, Brianna Chenevey won the 200m dash to earn herself a place at state. Lauren Clos placed fifth in the same event and she made it into the state meet because of the at-large berth. The 4x100m relay team of Brianna Chenevey, Clos, Ava Martinez and Amelia Knetzer placed fifth and also will compete at state because of the at-large berth. Brianna Chenevey, Clos, Martinez and Knetzer also formed the 4x200m relay team that advanced to state on a second-place regionals finish. The 4x400m relay team of Clos, Miki Fath, Knetzer and Brianna Chenevey won the event and will compete at state. Bailey Chenevey, Fath, Emberlynn Nolt and Addesa Miller placed third in the 4x800m relay and will head to the state meet.
Even though they did not place high enough to qualify for the state meet, several Dalton athletes were huge contributors to the teams’ total points, which pushed both the boys and girls teams to the runner-up positions. This is the first time both the boys and girls teams were regional runners-up in the same season. Katie Good placed eighth in discus. Adam Soehnlen was sixth in the 300m hurdles. Bailey Chenevey placed seventh in the 800m run. She also set a new school record in the event. The previous record was set by Lily Baechle in 2017.
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