PIQUA – The Russia girls track and field team made history Saturday at the Piqua Division III Regional track and field meet.
The Lady Raiders won the D-III regional title with 58 points to hold off Minster. which had 54, and it seemed fitting that senior Lauren Francis was standing at the top of the podium with the trophy in her grasp, surrounded by her teammates.
“We really get along well this year,” Francis said with a smile. “This is a great group of girls. I just have to thank my family and community for the way they come out and support us. This was the school’s first-ever girls regional title in any sport. It is a great way to head into the state meet.”
And Francis, who qualified on Wednesday as part of the 3,200 relay team, finished fourth in the 3,200 Saturday in 11:57.39.
“I am so excited that our relay team made it to state,” Francis said. “I had been fifth in that event the last two years, so it is great to be able to run that at state. I knew the competition was going to be tough in the 3,200. I want to place higher than I did last year, but I also want to have fun.”
Another Russia senior, Taylor Magoto, saved her best for the most critical time.
Magoto cleared 9-10 in the pole vault to tie for second and earn a state berth.
“I came in seventh, so it may have been a little unexpected,” Magoto said. “But, I have been working hard and I was coming off a broken ankle.”
Five vaulters had cleared 9-6 and Magoto got 9-10 on her first attempt to secure a state berth.
“I figured that would get me to state,” Magoto said. “Before today, 9-9 was my best. So I would like to get ten or ten-three at state.”