Minster 4x800-Relay Takes Third

Emma Watcke hands the baton to her teammate, Madeline Magoto in the girls version of the 4x800-meter relay on Friday at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
Sports Editor

The Minster Wildcats girls track team began their first step at attempting to capture that elusive state title on Friday in the girls 4x800-meter relay.

The only problem is the team they are chasing, finished two spots better in day one of the Division III track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

The Wildcats’ quartet of Cassie Francis, Kaitlynn Albers, Emma Watcke and Madeline Magoto finished in third place in the first event of the two-day track meet with a season-best time of 9:22.16. They beat their seeded time 9:32.20 by 10.04.

“This is my third year being here and each year it is getting tougher (to compete for a state championship),” said Francis. “But that’s fine. We finished one second faster than we did last year so we are advancing as well.”
And they will need it.

The team the Wildcats have been chasing the last two years, St. Thomas Aquinas, won Friday’s lone track final with a time of 9:11.32, obliterating their seeded time by 18.64.

“We knew it was going to be a tough race, but everyone wants gold,” said Francis. “But we all did what we could and ran our race.”

In the 4x200-meter relay, Minster’s foursome of Paige Thobe, Courtney Prenger, Jordyn Heitbrink and Jessica Falk qualified for the finals on Saturday with a fourth-place time of 1:46.53.

“It is just a blessing to be here,” said Albers after the 4x800-meter relay. “We don’t have any seniors so we are not leaving, so we can all work hard next year and come back even stronger.”

Minster also advanced in the girls 4x400-meter relay under a qualifying time of 4:01.18 for fifth place overall. Magoto — who is the final leg of the Wildcats’ 4x400-meter relay — picked up speed in the final 100 meters to finish in third place in the second of two heats and .90 seconds ahead of Ottoville — who qualified for sixth place.

“Any way we can get them,” Francis said when asked about keeping pace with St. Thomas Aquinas. “That is the biggest thing right now, points, points, points. If you are sitting in that eighth position, you are just trying to work your way up.”

Minster ends day one in first place with 11 points, followed by three teams with 10 points in McComb, Margaretta, Loudonville and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Day two of the state track and field competition resumes on Saturday with the girls finals in the 100-meter hurdles at 9:30 a.m. Minster’s first event on Saturday will be the girls 4x200-meter relay, set for 9:45 a.m.