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A "three-peat" wasn't good enough for the Nordonia High School girls track and field team. The Lady Knights decided to "four-peat."
In other words, they won their fourth straight league championship in 2016.
There was something different about their fourth title, though. It occurred in their first year of membership in the new National Division of the Suburban League.
Nordonia finished with an undefeated record of 7-0 in the National Division. The Lady Knights also finished third at the district meet and then sixth at the regional meet.
Nordonia's major losses to graduation included Rachel Coghill, Jaylah Sirca, Monica Kotnik and Paige Svendsen. The good news is that the Lady Knights have plenty returning in the way of talent and experience.
Returning athletes include junior Faith Banks, junior Carmen Licht, junior Aja DuVall, junior Lizzy Gurko, sophomore Gina Eterovich, junior Katrina Eterovich, sophomore Sarah Shedroff, and sophomore Lauren Pugh.
Banks, Licht, Katrina Eterovich, and Duvall made up last year's 1,600-meter relay team that won a regional championship and advanced to the state meet. Banks also qualified for states in the 400. Licht was also part of the Lady Knights' 3,2000 relay unit that qualified for states, as were Gurko and sophomore Mallory Tedor.
Nordonia also has a pair of newcomers in Lizzie Imrie and Eden Keresky. According to Nordonia head coach Scott Barwidi, experience will be a key for the Lady Knights.
"We have many returning All-Ohio athletes and regional qualifiers," said Barwidi. "We believe that we will be deep in the sprints. Our distance team has some very good top-end athletes and a couple ready to break out and be stars."
There are still some areas of concern, though. "We need to make sure that we don't rest on our past accolades," said Barwidi. "We also need to develop some hurdlers that are currently inexperienced at the high school level."
So as far as goals are concerned, how about a "five-peat?" Absolutely.
"The goals stay the same for our teams each year," said Barwidi. "We strive to be the best team in the Suburban League. We also will look to qualify as many athletes as possible to the OHSAA regional and state meets.
"We know the league is talented. We will have our hands full with teams like Twinsburg, Wadsworth and Stow."
Barwidi is starting his ninth year as the head coach at Nordonia. His assistant coaches this season are Ranzy Lardell, Brent Nenadal, Mike Martin, Matt Beery, Jim DiCicco, Elle Barwidi, Ron Gura, Brittany Buck and Heather Eckenrode.
Nordonia opened the new season March 28, against division rival Hudson at home.
On April 1, the Lady Knights will compete in the Bill Dodd Invitational.