By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s girls track team has been on the move the last few years under head coach Lacey Diaz. Diaz will wave goodbye to her seniors but is looking forward to the future when she will welcome back a strong core and a talented incoming freshman class next season.
Gone will be letter winners McKinlee Miller, one of the top scorers over the past few seasons, thrower Gabi Ainsworth, distance runner Ashton Smith, and sprinter Lainey Cummings. Miller, the team’s MVP and Outstanding Field Performer award winner, owns the triple jump school record leaping 35 feet and 5 3/4 inches to take fourth place at Indoor State in February. She qualified for her second straight outdoor state meet at Charleston leaping 34 feet 5 inches, bypassing the qualification mark while taking third at the Mowequa Central A&M sectional. She was a near miss in the long jump and donated to a first place team effort at the Arthur Invite, scoring in the long and triple jumps as well as the 100-meter hurdles and a sprint relay.
Smith has been a mainstay in the distance races for the Warriors and came up big at the Arthur Invite in the 1600. She also found her way to much needed team points in the Lady Warriors’ second place efforts at both the Central Illinois Conference meet and the Tuscola Open. Ainsworth donated points in the shot put and was a strong leader for throws coach Stan Wienke. Cummings was part of a 4×400-meter relay team that collected first place points and medals at the Arthur Invite.
Karli Dean and Sophia James eclipsed letter winning standards out of the junior class. Dean led the way in the throws, advancing to state out of the A&M sectional in the discus with a toss of 111 feet and 6 inches. She also delivered second place points in the disc at the CIC meet. James was a key cog in all four relays that scored points in all but one of the big invites and collected a pair of firsts, a second and a third in the winning effort at Arthur.
The full story can be found in the June 19 edition of The Tuscola Journal.