Sunset snaps a 48-meet winning streak that dates back to '04

CEDAR MILL — It had been a long time — OK, a very, very long time — since anybody had beaten the Jesuit girls track team in Metro League competition.

But as of April 17, the emphasis in that last sentence must be placed on the word “had.”

Sunset’s girls, hosting Jesuit at Sunset High School on April 17, snapped the Crusaders long winning streak with a thrilling 75-70 win that wasn’t decided until the day’s final event. The win lifted the Apollos into first place in league at 4-0, while Jesuit fell to 3-1 but retained sole possession of second place.

“It was quite a girls meet that came down to the” last relay, said Sunset coach Kevin Landon. But “our girls are great competitors and they knew what it would take to beat Jesuit in a dual meet.”

For the Crusaders, the loss was their first after 48 straight victories in league action dating back to May 12, 2004 when Jesuit lost to Century’s girls. Despite the loss, the Crusaders were thrilled to have been part of such an intense, competitive battle.

“It was great to be part of such an exciting meet,” said Jesuit coach Tom Rothenberger. “A wonderful show of Metro League competition. The way it should be.”

For much of the way in the meet, it looked like the Apollos might leave the Crusaders in their wake, especially since Jesuit was competing without the services of injured senior hurdler Mariah Gibbs. Still, the Crusaders stayed close with a number of second- and third-place finishes, got a 1-2 finish from Abby Wachter and Ana Sofia Mello in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, a 1-3 finish in the shot put from Tarea Green and Connie Parker, and finally, a 2-3 in the 3000 from Dylan Hite and Meaghan Bogart to tie the meet at 70-70 with just the 4 x 400 relay remaining.

There, however, the Apollos stepped forward for victory. Marlee Leonard, Nicole Griffiths, Danielle Sterba and Maddie Thom raced home to win in 4 minutes, 6.28 seconds, just barely surviving a great anchor leg by Jesuit’s Chloe Smith, whose team finished at 4:06.52.

Smith “ran (Thom) down and the two girls put on a valiant effort down the home stretch as both sides of the track were lined with teammates cheering and the result was a lean at the tape,” Rothenberger said. Smith ran “the fastest leg of the day in 59 seconds, but the Sunset girls won the relay and the meet.”

“Beating Jesuit in a dual meet is the ultimate challenge and something we talk about every season,” Landon said. “This year, it was one of our team goals, and to pull if off is a tribute to our girls who are tremendous competitors.”

The Apollos got two wins from Taylor Coon (she took the 100 at 12.50 and the 200 at 25.74), two more from Sarah Fahmy (in the 1500 at 4:51.94 and in the 3000 at 10:24.76), and one win each from Nicole Griffiths in the 800 (at 2:22.02), Savannah Sharp in the discus (at 122-9), and Haley Gooding in the pole vault (at 9-0).

Sunset also won the 4 x 100, with Mary Grace Roselli, Payton Coon, Thom and Taylor Coon clocking a 49.0 to edge Jesuit’s 49.12.

Jesuit got a pair of wins from Hadley Wilhoite (she won the long jump at 16-6 and the triple jump at 35-1), and additional wins from Smith in the 400 at 1:00.71, Kylie Rickman in the 100 high hurdles at 16.77, Wachter in the intermediate hurdles at 48.21, Tarea Green in the shot put at 34-11.50, Jessica Finn in the javelin at 112-1, and Claire Alexander in the high jump at 5-0.

“It would be easy to say that the 4 x 400 relay won it for us because it came down to that, but it was a complete team effort,” Landon said. “We couldn’t be prouder of the way they competed as a team.”

“What an awesome display of high school competition,” Rothenberger added.

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