Spring track and field in Northeast Ohio is not for the faint of heart. The weather is alternatively wintery and tropical and the regional competition is fast and fierce. However, the WRA Track and Field program finished the season with broken records, lightning speed times and an exciting foundation for the future.
There were stars emerging from the outset, particularly on the girls side with standouts including Jada Kenner ‘24 and Makayla Riles ‘26. Kenner is the most decorated sprinter in WRA history with four school records to her credit thus far, and Riles represented Reserve earlier this past winter at New Balance Nationals and sprinted strong all season. Field events like the triple jump and long jump presented the buoyant Mia Maze Ingram ‘25, securing top spots at multiple meets. Up and comers like Elias Vail ‘25, Addie LeVan ‘25 and Tavin Jones ‘25 had times as quick as their team-boosting wit. Senior captains including Jordanne Nichols ‘23, Allison Rozak ‘23, Elba Heddesheimer ‘23 and Jack Colafella ‘23 led a strong corps of seniors who will, we hope, look back on the program with great pride.
The Longstreth Relays, held on Saturday, April 22, were a punctuating moment of the season. For 65 years, WRA has honored legendary track coach Frank Longstreth with a track and field invitational bearing his beloved name. While the day’s elements added a degree of unpredictability to this special event, one thing is for sure: Strethy would be heartened to know his legacy lives on.
This year’s event was expertly organized, orchestrated and called by Dr. Erik Chaput, who leads the Track program at WRA alongside coaches Elliott Zetzer, Jeff Warner, Erika Kinsey, Dan Kinsey and Martha Bayliss. Athletes represented WRA, Hudson, Kiski, University School, Hawken, Magnificat, Laurel, Independence, Field High School, Woodridge and Cuyahoga Falls.
Miraculously, the sun peeked through the damp and cloudy beginning of the meet, and the day went off spectacularly. Jada Kenner ‘24 won the marquee 200 meter race, lowering her school record. The significance of this achievement was deepened in that the old record was held by WRA alumnae Kirsten Gauthier ‘86, the best sprinter in the school’s history. Gauthier’s record in the 200 meter stood for 40 years, and her 100 meter record from 1983 remains on the books.
Gauthier lost a courageous battle with ALS earlier this year.
Coach Chaput said, “The WRA Track and Field team was incredibly heartened to honor Kirsten at the Longstreth Relays. In recognition of her incredible career at WRA, we presented a special plaque to the winner of the open 200 meter boys and girls races. Kirsten will always be an inspiration to our team.”
The Longstreth Relays also included a standout performance in the sprint medley, with the girls relay team posting a top 25 time in Ohio at the fleet feet of Lea Carino ‘24, Jada Kenner ‘24, Jordanne Nichols ‘23 and Makayla Riles ‘26. All told, the girls program had their best showing in years at the historic meet.
On Saturday May 6, at the super competitive Optimist Invitational in Austintown, Lea Carino, Jordanne Nichols, Jada Kenner and Mia Maze-Ingram won gold in the 4x200m relay. Kenner took 2nd in a super fast 200m field featuring some of the top sprinters in northeast Ohio.
The season ended by looking toward a strong beginning next year for a program that is reaching new heights. At the Woodridge “Rising Stars” meet, nine Pioneers achieved personal Records (PRs) in their events, including Arterina Bailey ‘26 with an eight second PR in the 1600 meter. Coach Chaput called this “a truly tremendous accomplishment.” Vail also broke the coveted 24 second barrier in the 200m. Riles end her season with an incredible 3 silver medals and 2 PRs (Long Jump and 200m).
All the season’s highlights can be viewed here (keyword search: Track & Field). We’re incredibly proud of every Track and Field athlete and look forward to the program’s catapult to a bright future.