Anna Vrancken picked up an individual title while the 4×800 relay team nabbed runner-up honors to lead the Big Walnut girls track team to a sixth-place finish at Saturday’s season-opening Newark Invitational.
Vrancken won the discus with a toss of 113-05 while the 4×800 relay quartet of Kaitlin Meade, Leksi Murnieks, Adelee Gartner and Becca Bogantz finished second in their event with an effort of 10:43.72. Vrancken also picked up points in the shot put with a fourth-place heave of 31-03½.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” Big Walnut coach Joe Evener said. “They competed hard, and showed their mental and physical toughness. The conditions were downright terrible — windy, cold, and rainy — but they fought through everything in a very difficult meet. The competition allowed for us to prove ourselves against some very good teams. I’m excited about how well we did, and how these results will play out for us over the next few weeks.”
The Golden Eagles collected a combined 53 points to finish tied for sixth with Newark.
Olentangy Orange won the event with 107 points while Canal Winchester and Thomas Worthington smoothed out the top three with respective totals of 86.83 and 72.5.
Big Walnut’s other top performances belonged to Colleen White, who finished third in the shot put with an effort of 32-11; Meade, who closed fourth in the 800-meter run in 2:35.20; Murnieks, who finished fifth in the 3,200 in 13:08.40; and Sami Rammelsberg, who was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 14-04.
“I loved the balance we showed,” Evener said. “Being on break left us a little down numbers-wise, but we were able to score in 10 events, and placed pretty high due to that ability.”
The Big Walnut boys tennis team made sure it didn’t stand out in the cold for nothing, sweeping away visiting Jonathan Alder in its season opener Monday in Sunbury.
Juniors Jared Deel, Nick Schulz and D.J. Werner picked up the Golden Eagles’ singles wins. Deel rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at first singles, Schulz handled his opponent at second singles by a 6-4, 6-2 margin and Werner notched a solid 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles.
In doubles action, Stephen Pushkin and Grant Bartlett teamed up to secure a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles while Lane Davis and Hunter Rankin won 6-1, 7-6 at second singles.
Big Walnut (1-0) returns to action today against host Olentangy Orange.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.