Fort Frye's boys and girls track and field teams had its season-ending banquet at the Beverly-based high school at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Only thing is, for five of the Cadet thinclads, the spring campaign is not over, yet - not until this weekend when they compete at the Ohio state track and field Division III meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
"We're taking five kids," said Fort Frye track and field coach Bobbi Webb. "You've got Stephanie Huck, Natalie Hart, Sarah Biehl, Bailey Thieman and Derek Spindler."
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Fort Frye’s track and field teams will be well-represented at the state meet this weekend. Pictured left to right at the Marietta Family YMCA Tuesday are head coach Bobbi Webb, Natalie Hart, Bailey Thieman, Sarah Biehl, Stephanie Huck, and sub Allie Lawrence. Derek Spindler, a pole vault qualifier, was practicing at Warren.
Accompanying Fort's "Fab Track 5" will be substitute Allie Lawrence, who ran the 4 by 4 at the Pioneer Valley Conference Championships at Buckeye Trail, Webb said.
"We think it's been over 10 years since we've taken this many to state," Webb continued.
Spindler and Huck, who are both All-Academic Ohio honorees, will be competing in the pole vault event, while Hart, Biehl, Thieman (All-Academic Ohio) and Huck will be running in the 4x400 relay.
"They're good students, and they're good athletes," Webb said. "I have great kids. You can't ask for kids with a better work ethic and kids who want to work hard and get better. They want to get better which makes my job a lot of fun."
Before Tuesday's team dinner, four of the five - everyone except Spindler - had a pool "running" workout at the Marietta Family YMCA. Then later, the plan was for Huck to join Spindler to practice pole vaulting at Warren High in Vincent.
Of the Cadets going to the state track meet, Spindler has the most experience. Last year, he was an All-Ohio honoree, vaulting 13-feet, 6 inches, which was good for eighth place.
Only the top 8 medal and stand on the podium.
"It's nice to have been there (state) before," Spindler said. "I was really terrified then, so this time I shouldn't be as nervous and hope to start good.
"I'm hoping to PR (personal record), place, and go as high as possible."
Spindler's PR in the pole vault is 14 feet.
Spindler was also an all-stater in the pole vault in indoor track.
At last week's regional at Fairless High in Navarre, Spindler qualified for state for the second straight year when he cleared the bar at 13-6, good for third place.
"Derek's worked all year round on pole vault," Webb said.
Huck qualifed in the pole vault event when she finished fourth with a vault of eight feet in the regional at Lancaster Fairfield Union.
"Pat Wigal who coaches at Warren and works with their pole vaulters has given up a lot of his free time," Webb said. "He works with our pole vaulters and deserves a lot of credit.
"Our vaulters also get a lot of help from Doak Markley, the Williamstown coach. They go to his camp every summer, which is a great pole vault camp. So all of those things have allowed our pole vaulters to get better."
On the Lady Cadet relay team, two of the legs - Biehl and Hart - have state meet experience in cross country - but not track.
At the regional at Fairfield Union, the Fort foursome broke the 4 by 4 tape first, and set a school record in the event with a clocking of 4 minutes, 8.61 seconds. It was very close race.
"Between first and fifth place, our last leg girl (Huck) as she was running in...I was so scared because we didn't know if we were going to get fifth or first and all of a sudden she breaks from the pack and got us first," Biehl said. "It was so exciting. We were crying and jumping around."
Added Webb, "They're a very tough group of girls, and they continue to amaze me. These girls have been running since indoor track, which is a compliment to them. Because of their hard work and their willingness to work during the offseason has paid off. They're now getting the rewards from that which is nice to see them be able to enjoy this and have the opportunity to do this that many other student/athletes don't get a chance to do."
Fort Frye's state qualifiers are heading to central Ohio for an overnight stay on Thursday. There's an open track practice from 4 to 6 p.m. at the stadium, Webb said.
"The kids can get in, run on the track and get a feel for things," the Cadet boss continued.
The Lady Cadet relay team is scheduled to run in a prelim at noon Friday. The finals will be Saturday.
In field events on Friday, the girls pole vault is slated for 1 p.m. and the boys pole vault competition is at 4 p.m.
"Overall, our goal is to make it on the podium," Webb said, "and do the best we can do - and represent Fort Frye in a positive way."
Said Biehl," It's so exciting. This is probably one of the best teams that I've been on. I mean, it's pretty awesome."