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Bender qualifies for D-3 state track meet

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

RUSHVILLE — Book the reservation. Greg Bender has started to plan his trip.

The Coal Grove Hornets’ junior track standout became the first local athlete to qualify for the Division III state track meet Wednesday after winning the discus in the Division III regional track meet.

Bender threw the discus 153-9 to win the event as he edged Tyler Cline of Reedsville Eastern who threw 152-4 and finish runner-up.

Bender has a chance to become a dual qualifier. He will throw the shot put on Friday during the second day of the meet.

The top four finishers in each event advance to the state meet.

The Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers finished ninth in the 4×800-meter relay and failed to qualify, but the quartet set a new school record of 10:25.93. Taylor Hacker, Shannon Walker, Maggie Thomas and Ariel Schweickart eclipsed the old mark set just last year at the regional meet by six seconds.

The Hornets’ 4×800 boys’ relay team of Jordan Beals, Bryan Steele, Jake Jewell and Jacob Pauley ran an 8:38.01 and finished seventh.

The Hornets had three other relay teams in Wednesday’s preliminaries.

The 4×400 team of T.J. Barrett, Jewell, Beals and Pauley ran a 3:39.88, the 4×200 group of Alex Bare, Boo Woods, Mason Nance and Aaron Wilson ran a 1:39.32, and Bare, Woods, Nance and Murphy ran a 46.53 in the 4×100. All were fifth in their heat.

Woods ran an 11.93 to finish fifth in his heat of the 100-meter dash.

The Hornets’ Kyle Estep was ninth in the pole vault at 11-6 and Jake Murphy cleared 11-feet to finish 10th.

Coal Grove’s Doni Winers was ninth in the shot put with a heave of 34-1.25.

The Lady Hornets’ Paige McKnight, Haley Johnson, Kim Short and Bailey Harrison ran a 1:52.20 in the 4×200 relay. McKnight also ran a 49.49 in the 300 hurdles.