Twelve Palmyra girls fared well enough at the Class 3 District 4 championships to earn a berth into the sectional track and field meet.
Palmyra girls track and field coach Nick Koetters knew from the beginning the Lady Panthers had the potential for a big season.
The same gut feeling was confirmed on Saturday during the Class 3 District 4 meet at California High School.
Twelve different girls, from 10 events, finished in the top four to earn a berth into next weekend's sectional meet.
“This was the best we have finished at the district since 2013,” the Lady Panthers coach said. “We knew coming in this would be hard with such quality competition, but the girls seriously stepped up and all did a great job.”
Palmyra racked up 84 team points to finish fourth overall. Juggernauts Centralia and Bowling Green finished first and second with 153 and 116 points, respectively.
Bailey Lovelace will be heading to the sectional meet in four different events. The sophomore picked up a second-place medal in the 100 meters and placed fourth in the long jump. Lovelace also ran a leg on the third-place 400 and 800 relay teams.
Lovelace was clocked in 13.18 seconds in the 100, while her best mark in the long jump was 15 feet, 8 ½ inches.
“It was scary because of her six jumps, she scratched on four of them,” the Lady Panthers coach said of the long jump. “We were nervous, but when we heard she had made it, we were excited she gets another chance at the sectional.”
The sophomore teamed up with Sophie Hoerr, Morgan Ingram and Grace Watson in the 400 relay as they crossed the finish line in 52.46. Sheyenne Anderson, Delanie Fohey and Watson joined Lovelace in the 800 relay as they posted a time of 1:52.25.
Anderson also moved on in multiple events. The Lady Panther senior won the 100 hurdles and placed second in the 300 hurdles.
Her time of 16.39 marked a new personal best in the 100 hurdles.
Koetters mentioned Anderson may have impressed him more in the 300.
“By the time she got to the 300 hurdles, she was running pretty low on energy,” the coach said. “But she was still able to go out and give a great performance. She will be ready for the sectional.”
Anderson also joined Watson, Rebecca Reinbeck and Reagan Lehenbauer on the 1,600 relay team that placed fourth in a time of 4:27.48.
The Lady Panthers fourth relay team also made it through to the sectional level.
Lehenbauer, Isabelle Goldinger, Lydia Szarka and Lauren Reid finished third in the 3,200 relay with a time of 10:46.74.
Watson and Brooke Wilson rounded out the sectional qualifiers as the two seniors earned second-place medals in the 200 and shot put, respectively.
Watson ran personal record 27.86, while Wilson uncorked a personal best throw of 37-5 ½.
“Brooke threw bad in the prelims but then unleashed her personal best in the finals,” Koetters stated.
The Lady Panthers coach mentioned he was proud of the way his team battled all meet, especially the athletes who performed in multiple events.
“We were not really sure how some of them would do with running up to four different events," he said, "but they did a great job of competing and kept coming back all meet long.”