PCHC girls relay team earns state champ title

Jun 11, 2024 | Featured, Sports | 0 comments

PCHS State Champs are, from left, Alexis Shelton, Jade Mitchell, Cami Robbins and Shianne Lieske. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

It wasn’t just the competitors on the track the Port Clinton High School girls relay team fought this year. They battled injuries, mistakes mid-run, fierce opponents and anything else life could throw their way. Yet, they became state champions.

Shianne Lieske, Alexis Shelton, Jade Mitchell and Cami Robbins took first place in the 4×100-meter relay in the Division 2 Girls Championships. The team nearly missed their chance to compete at state when they dropped the baton at regional prelims. Yet, they picked it up, pushed on, and qualified for the state competition.

That mistake became a driving force as they fought to be state champs.

Kids in the Champions for Children summer program cheer on PCHS’s track state champs as Port Clinton Fire and Rescue parades the girls through town. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“We didn’t do the work, and we knew we could do better,” Mitchell said.

That confidence was strengthened by their trust in their teammates’ skills and their coaches’ guidance. Lieske said Head Coach Seth Benner and Assistant Coach Brad Bollinger were instrumental in their win.

“And we believe in each other,” Shelton said.

On June 3, the Port Clinton community celebrated the win as the team was paraded through town escorted by Port Clinton Fire & Rescue. Kids from the Champions for Children summer program lined the street near the school along with local residents who cheered the team as they passed by. Among them was MaryAnn Dackermann, who has six grandchildren in the school system, although none participate in track.

The PCHS relay team believed in each other and trusted their coaches as they journeyed to a state championship. Shown here are, from left, Assistant Coach Brad Bollinger, Alexis Shelton, Cami Robbins, Jade Mitchell, Shianne Lieske and Head Coach Seth Benner. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

“I just wanted to cheer them on. It’s wonderful to support the school. It’s a great school,” Dackermann said. “I like to come to these things, whether my grandkids are in it or not.”

The team deserved the recognition not only for their skill but also for their determination.

“They won because of their ability to persevere through things,” Benner said. “They dropped the baton at districts, but they picked it up and made it to the finish line. They held their cool and kept their heads.”

The track season gave them ample opportunity to either quit or develop fortitude.

“This whole year was difficult. They had injuries and other things, but they kept fighting,” Benner said. “They definitely have what it takes to stay in the hunt.”

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