Troy’s Duff, Harnish ready to have fun at D-I state meet


TROY — Troy High School senior sprinter Leah Harnish is looking forward to one more week of fun to end her high school career.

And teammate Hannah Duff will join her after getting through the most stressful day of her season.

Both earned state berths at the Division I regional meet Friday night at Wayne High School at the D-I regional meet and will compete at the state meet Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium.

Harnish, who finished seventh at state in 400-meter dash a year ago, took second Friday night to earn a return trip to the state meet.

“I just wanted to place (top four), it didn’t really matter where,” Harnish said. “Last year, I was so stressed out the whole week at state. I just want to over and have fun this year.”

Running against defending state champion Kayleigh Keyes, who won the title as a freshman, looked forward to the challenge.

“I love running against Kayleigh (Keyes),” Harnish said. “Look at what she did last year as a freshman. She is such a strong runner. Definitely, it pushes me (to run her best).”

Keyes won the race in 55.84 and Harnish was less than a second behind in 56.49.

She edged out Princeton’s Jada Irwin, who was third in 56.51.

“When I was coming off the backstretch, I could see the other girls and I knew I had to go,” Harnish said. “I was (happy with her race). I want to get a PR at state (and lower her school record).”

Harnish has the eighth fastest qualifying time and will compete in the semifinals Friday evening.

The top two in each heat and the next five fastest times will advance to the finals Saturday evening.

Duff admitted she was nervous heading into Friday night.

But, in the end it all worked out as she cleared 11-4 on her second attempt to earn third-place and a berth at the state meet.

“Getting to state has been my goal since coming up two sports short last year, when I finished sixth,” Duff said. “Well really, it has been my goal for four years.”

Duff had a rare miss at 10-0, before getting it on her second attempt.

“To be honest, this meet really stresses me out,” Duff said. “I was an anxious mess all day.”

But, she shook it off and six vaulters remained when the bar was raised from 11-0 to 11-4.

After missing on her first attempt, she got it on her second attempt — joining Megan Rybitski of Wayne and Ann Lehmann of Centerville in making the height.

Rybitski would win, clearing 12-3 and Lehmann took second, clearing 11-8.

Duff is tied for the 13th best qualifying vault and will compete at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“I knew that (11-4) was the one I had to make,” Duff said. “Once I made that, that relaxed me. I have had two goals all year — to get to state and clear 12 feet. So, that is the goal next week, to make 12-feet.”

And join her teammate in having one more week of fun.


Milton-Union’s Annie Smith received an at-large berth after finishing fifth at the Piqua D-II regional Saturday to gain her spot in the state meet in the 100-meter hurdles.

Smith will run in the semifinals Friday afternoon and has the 16th fastest qualifying time.

The top two in each heat and the next five fastest times advance on to Saturday afternoon’s finals.


Lehman Catholic’s Katie McFarland and Caroline Wesner will be busy at the state meet Friday and Saturday, competing as individuals and on a relay team and Covington’s Carlie Besecker will also compete in the state meet.

McFarland goes in as the favorite to win the D-III state pole vault, after clearing a regional record 12-7 at Troy last Friday night.

She will compete at 1 p.m. Friday. The second best qualifying height was 11-4 by Gabby Roston of North Robinson Colonel Crawford.

Wesner will compete in the long jump at 1 p.m. Friday. She is tied for the fourth best qualifying jump in the long jump, 17-6 3-4.

On Friday morning, they will team with Mara O’Leary and Kailee Rank in the 400-meter relay semifinals.

Lehman has the 16th fastest qualifying time, 51.01.

The top two in each heat and the next five fastest times will advance to Saturday morning’s finals.

Besecker will compete in the 400-meter dash semifinals Friday morning. She has the 15th fastest qualifying time, 59.74.

The top two in each heat and the next five fastest times will advance to Saturday morning’s finals.

Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]

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