Meadowbrook Colts record breaking relay members (left to right) Emily Hull, Baylee Graham, Sydney Black, Diamond Johnson, Sydnie DeLong, Moran Modro, Sydney Singleton, and Brianne Jirles.
The Meadowbrook Colts girls squad followed up last year's record-setting 4x400m performance at the Ohio Middle School Track & Field Championships with another stellar showing. The 7th grade team consisting of Sydney Black, Diamond Johnson, Sydnie DeLong, and Morgan Modro captured 1st place beating last year's record by six seconds. In a separate heat, the 8th grade relay team also bested last year's mark in route to a second place finish. The team consisted of previous record holders Baylee Graham, Brianne Jirles, and Sydney Singleton as well as newcomer Emily Hull.
The Colt coaches knew coming into the 2011 season that there was a lot of depth on the team but were pleasantly surprised to see the emergence of new athletes. Coach Dale Valentine stated, We thought we could bring a relay team to the state meet and be competitive. Our goal was to break our record from last year. Coming into the season we couldn't have imagined having the luxury of having enough girls to run two teams and have both break the state meet record. It's a testament to the work ethic of the kids.
The seventh grade team, or Meadowbrook Brown as they were registered as at the state meet, was lead off by hurdler Sydney Black who emerged as one of the team's top runners. She is probably the girl on the team who showed the most growth throughout the season, stated sprint/relay coach Dennis Valentine. Following an impressive leadoff leg in the first of three heats, the team never looked back as Diamond Johnson, Sydnie DeLong, and Morgan Modro lead the way to victory. Diamond never ran a 400 in a meet until late in the season but was our top 200m runner so we knew what she brought to the team, stated Coach Valentine.
DeLong was the teams most consistent sprinter throughout the season in both the 100m and on relay teams. Coach Dale Valentine remarked, She battled asthma all year yet never used it as an excuse to get out of workouts. Her work ethic is unmatched. The anchor leg, Modro, was Meadowbrook's top point scorer of the 2011 season and won various high point awards at invitationals because of her hurdling and 400m ability. Morgan was almost a guarantee for 25 to 30 points in every meet. She never got the chance to be on relays very often because the points in the opens were so valuable.
It was a tough choice splitting the girls into two separate teams for the state meet, Valentine added. Some wondered why we didn't just take the top four girls on one team but it wasn't that simple. Each girl had earned the right to compete at this high level and the fifth girl that we would've left off was only .02 seconds behind the fourth when we did runoffs. This gave eight girls an opportunity to compete and the results show it worked out well.
The eighth grade relay team, or Meadowbrook Orange, was lead off by Baylee Graham. Coach Dennis Valentine stated, Baylee won the MMS coach's award this year because of her positive attitude. She is someone that would do anything you asked of her. She even asked to stay after practice throughout the year and do extra work. Emily Hull followed up with a performance that kept them leading their heat. Emily had a lot of success for us and lead all 8th graders in points scored this season. She won our league's meet in long jump and is very versatile, claimed Valentine. The third leg, Brianne Jirles, was the team's fastest runner over the last two years. She battled a quad injury that kept her out of practice and meets for most of the season. She was nervous about running the 400m at the state meet because her conditioning wasn't where it was last year. Brianne improved nearly six seconds off the time she ran in early May.
The anchor leg of the 8th grade team was Sydney Singleton. She is by far the most competitive person on our team. She is a coach's dream, stated Coach Dale Valentine. You know that with Sydney as your anchor leg that if you are trailing at all she is going to do everything possible to win the race. She doesn't settle for just anything and it's that mentality that will take her far in both sports and life. Coach Valentine added, This group of eighth grade girls that are moving on to high school will be hard to replace. They are a part of two of the most successful years in the school's history. Their leadership and never quit attitude rubbed off on the rest of the team. They will definitely be missed but I know they are going to do big things in high school.