WATERFORD - When Waterford High senior and Walsh University recruit Maggie Kroll was a freshman, she accompanied and cheered fellow frosh thinclad Ally Rohrer at the state track and field meet.
This Friday and Saturday, Kroll will realize a prep goal of hers when she too will be competing at the main event at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
"I'm really excited for my teammates, and I will do my best," said Kroll during a break at the Marietta Country Club, where she works as a lifeguard. "It's always been my dream and goal to make it to Jesse O, and now I'm going."
Kroll is Columbus-bound, thanks to helping Waterford's 4 by 200 meter relay team qualifying for state at the Ohio Division III, Region 11 tournament at Fairfield Union High in Lancaster last Friday. The foursome, which also included junior Maddy Sury, sophomore Lydia Beardsley and Rohrer, combined to cover the distance in a school-record clocking of 1 minute, 47.52 seconds, good for a runner-up finish and a trip to central Ohio.
It was the second time in four days that the Lady Wildcat relay team had set the school standard in the event. Earlier, on Wednesday, their prelims time was 1:49.53.
"They were all just tickled to death to qualify for state," said Waterford girls track coach Scott Miller, "especially Maggie."
Rohrer, an all-stater in the 300 meter hurdles last year and who will also be competing in the 100 meter hurdles this weekend, agreed and added, "After the race, Maggie's arms were flailing in the air, and she was just so excited. She wanted to go to state more than anything. We were so happy for her, our 'mom' of the team.'"
Mom of the team?
"I try to motivate and keep the girls focused," Kroll said. "Keep them hydrated and ready to run the 4 by 2."
Waterford's school record-setting 4 by 2 relay team actually didn't really come together until late in the spring.
In fact, Rohrer and Sury made sacrifices in other events to compete on the relay team, opting out of the 300 hurdles and 4x8 relay, respectively.
"We were thrown together, and we turned out to be a pretty good 4 by 2 team," said Sury, an all-stater in 2013 in the 800 and who will also be competing in the 800 and long jump at state this weekend. "And, at the regional, everything just clicked."
Said Miller, "It was our intention all season to put a strong 4 by 2 team on the track. And, we wanted to break the school record."
Now, it's off to state, and who knows, maybe Waterford's fast foursome can do it again - break the record. Better yet, medaling and standing on the podium as one of the top 8 in the state would certainly be a nice, memorable season-capper.
"That's what we're shooting for - all-state," Kroll said.
And, it all will start with Kroll, who will lead off and hand the baton to Sury. Sury will do her thing and hand it to Beardsley. Rohrer will then bring it on home as the anchor.
"I know that when I'm down in the block, I'm going to block out everything, and just think about the race," Kroll said.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org