By Rob Kiser
GREENSBORO, NC — The Covington girls 4×400-meter relay team of Breanna Kimmel, Paige Boehringer, Morgan Lowe and Rayna Horner was coming off winning the Division III girls state championship, while Lauren Christian finished third at the state meet in the shot put.
Kimmel and Horner both graduated, while Boehringer and Christian will be seniors and Lowe will be a junior.
Following the completion of the spring season, the five raised money to make the trip to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet in Greensboro, North Carolina — with assistant coach Jason Sutherland.
The relay team finished seventh in the Emerging Elite 4×400 relay in 3:58.68, while Christian finished 29th in the Championship shot put with a throw of 40-3.5.
“It was amazing,” Breanna Kimmel, who will attend Ball State University in the fall, said. “My senior year has been so much more than I ever expected it to be, and it was a great experience.”
Horner, who will run for Toledo University next year, agreed.
“I just felt really fortunate to have the opportunity to compete in something like that,” Horner said. “It was a great experience. To be there competing against different clubs and private schools and we were one of the few public schools there.”
And the heat was on from the start.
“It was really hot, and I was just trying to run as fast as I could,” Kimmel said. “It would have been nice to have finished sixth, but we had never run in anything on this scale. And we had a junior and sophomore, so to finish as high as we did, that was pretty good.”
“Yes and no,” Horner said about being happy with the race. “I know our time wasn’t as good as at state, but this was a whole different level. And it was so hot. I know it was in the 90s back in Ohio, and we ran at noon. It was like you could feel your feet burning as you ran.”
Horner said it was different than running at the state meet.
“Of course it was intense,” she said. “But it was different than state. When we went to state, our goal was to win. There was less pressure. We still wanted to do well, but our expectations were different competing against all these great clubs and private schools. It was really interesting.”
Kimmel — a four-time state qualifier — isn’t sure if she will run in college.
“I may walk on (at Ball State),” she said. “But that is dependent on my schoolwork that comes first. This was definitely an amazing way to finish (her high school track career).”
Horner feels like the meet was good preparation for her college career.
“That is what a lot of people told me after the race,” she said. “This is a taste of what running in college (at Toledo) will be. For the five of us to be able to go do this, it was a great experience.”
Where both Spitzer and the Buccaneers showed they can compete with the best.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.