No Ohio Valley high school sport has made more strides in recent years than the distaff spring runners and jumpers.
The recent efforts of TEDDI MASLOWSKI leading Steubenville Catholic to an Ohio Division III championship is just the latest example of female tracksters shining not only on the local level but statewide as well.
Maslowski competed in 15 Ohio meet events in her career and scored 28 points this spring to lead the Crusaders to the state crown. The Ohio and OV record-setter is the most-dominant hurdler in area history.
We can recall when the Title IX federal mandate in the mid 1970s provided interscholastic play for female athletes. During the years, the calibre of competition has improved in about every distaff sport but track and field may head the pack in the Ohio Valley.
Here's some of the outstanding area female tracksters who have led the way during the years. They are listed in chronological order:
SHARON VINCENT, St. Clairsville (1981) - She almost single-handedly led the Red Devils to their only state championshiop and the first Ohio track title in 1981 for an OVAC team when she won the 100- and 220-meter events with OV record times.
KIM AUGUR, East Liverpool (1983) - She holds the oldest individual Ohio Valley record with a 54.87 time for 400 meters in 1983 and is second all-time at 200 meters with a 24.55 clocking.
JENNIFER HYLAND, River (1986) - The OVAC Hall of Famer scored a record 126 points in four OVAC meets. In four Ohio meets, she won three 400-meter events, including a record time as a senior, after placing second as a freshman. She won six individual Ohio medals.
AURORA SPANG, Magnolia (1997) - She led the Blue Eagles to three straight state Class AA titles with individual crowns each year. She was the state meet's top scorer as a senior with 28 1/2 points while setting two hurdle records and anchoring a record-setting shuttle hurdle unit. She scored 26 1/2 points as a junior in the state event.
JODI BATES, Meadowbrook (1998) - She was selected the Female Track Athlwete of the 1990s Decade by The Intelligencer after a dominant career as a Colt sprinter in area and state competition. One of only two OV sprinters to break 12 seconds for 100 meters, she also has the third fasest 200 meter clocking of 24.72 seconds.
KACIE VAVREK, Bellaire (2002) - She posted marks that rank No. 2 in both the high and low hurdle all-time OV lists and won three Ohio meet gold medals and 11 first places in the OVAC meets, including eight individual firsts.
JENNY MORGAN, Barnesville (2003) - One of the three talented distance running sisters to compete for the Shamrocks, she has the fasets 3,200-meter time in OV history; is second to her sister, Stephanie, in the 1,600 meters and ranks fourth all-time at 800 meters with two ahead of her sisters, Stephanie and Ruthie.
BRITTANY HOCKER, Bridgeport (2004) - The OV's fastest sprinter of all-time, she's the record holder at 100 meters (11.8) and 200 meters (24.22). She lost only three times in four years and two of those were in Ohio meet finals. She won six Ohio meet gold medals.
APRIL ROTILIO, St. John's (2006) - She placed in 12 Ohio state meet events and won eight medals including theee golds for the Irish. She ranks third all-time in the OV at 400 meters, an event she recently won for West Virginia in the Big East championships.
JORDANN MITCHELL, Oak Glen (2007) - She swept all three sprint races as a senior at the W.Va. Class AA meet while posting the fastest marks in the 100, 200 and 400 meters in the Ohio Valley. A dominating prep sprinter, she competes for WVU.
STEPHANIE MORGAN, Barnesville (2009) - The finest distance runner produced by an OV school, she earned All-America recognition twice as well as three Gatorade Ohio Track Athlete of the Year awards - two cross country and one for track. She won 10 Ohio meet gold medals including four in record times. She also placed third in a USA Junior Nationals event and won the mile at the Penn Relays in prep record time. She currently runs for the University of Illinois.
The former Wheeling High School and Marshall distance runner will be returning home from Huntington this weekend ... on a bicycle.
Hill and friend, JIM RIFE, a Navy service veteran, are biking a two-day, 200-mile trip to raise funds for a homeless veterans program.
They departed Huntington on Friday morning en route to Parkersburg. They plan to make rest stops at several churches that support the cause and should reach Wheeling this afternoon.
The program is sponsored by Hill's employer, the Veteran's Administration.
Enjoy the weekend.