Middle school girls shatter track records

by Sheldon Ocker

It was one of those years for Lauren Duncan.

She enjoyed her day job as a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Revere Middle School. But it was after school, during late afternoon spring days, that Duncan will remember, maybe forever.

Duncan coaches the middle school girls track team, a team that broke four school records and finished second to Hudson in the Suburban League Meet, finishing third or higher in eight events.

“This has been [the middle school’s] biggest record-breaking team by far,” she said. “I’ve had talented individuals who have excelled in several events, but this was a team thing.”

Often the highest scoring track teams have one sprinter or distance runner who wins multiple events and accounts for the majority of their school’s points.

“I knew we’d be pretty good, but I didn’t think we’d be second among 15 teams in the Suburban,” Duncan said. “I shouldn’t say I didn’t expect it, but we went up against some really good athletic schools.”

Two school records were set at the Suburban Meet:

The 4×800 meter relay team of seventh-grader Simone Albrecht and eighth-graders Courtney Fashinpaur, Camryn Lawrence and Emma Narouze posted a time of 10:30.24, almost a full minute faster than the old record, set last year. The winning 4×400 relay team of eighth-graders Lauren Bir, Larkin Carroll, Kaitlyn Newey and Grace Regula ran a 4:17.39 to erase a school record that had stood since 1989.

During the dual meet season (Revere lost only to Aurora in duals), eighth-grader Maddie Milicia ran a 30.0 to break the 13-year-old school record in the 200-meter hurdles. Eighth-grader Larkin Carroll’s 15’ 2 ¾” long jump also was a school record.

Duncan admits to taking an outsized interest in the long jump, because she was a Revere record holder in that event.

“I competed in track from seventh grade through high school,” she said. “I ran the sprints – 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters – but my biggest event was the long jump. I broke the school record when I was a freshman.”

Duncan held the long jump record until her sister Marissa erased it five years later.

“She broke it on her last attempt as a senior,” Duncan said. “I cried a little, but I really was proud of her for breaking it.”

Duncan said her father, Paul Harbath, taught both of his daughters the mechanics of the long jump. Harbath had held the long jump record at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.

Marissa went on to run track at Mt. Union. Lauren’s athletic career as a participant ended after high school. Coaching was next. She has coached the Revere Middle School girls for nine years, the past three as head coach. Her assistants are Shana McKnight and Dave Howson.

Under Duncan’s guidance, the growth of the middle school track program has surprised even her.

“We had 86 girls at the start of the season,” she said. “That’s a very big team for a school our size. I think the boys’ team has around 50. Usually we have some girls drop out. But the first day of practice we had 82 girls, and then a few days later it went up by four.”

Duncan can’t count on her girls setting four school records next year, but she is expecting good things to happen.

“I think we have some great seventh-graders coming up, and they are really motivated,” she said. “Girls come up to me and say how excited they are about next year. We had great eighth-graders this year, but the seventh-graders are right there.” ∞

Student athletes (left of car) Abena Osei-Boaten, Katie Parsons, Val Squires, Jillian Hodgson, (front of car) Maya Deshmukh, Ellie Phillips, Ella Bockmore, Josie Stanos, Katielyn Newey, Aleena Smiley, (right of car) Addison Kapp, Grace Regula, Lauren Bir, Maddie Milicia, Lucy Prewitt, Anna Bockstoce, Grace Smith and Emily Stupczy pose after their last practice. Photo submitted.

Coach Lauren Duncan.

Photo (main/above): The RMS Girsl Track memebrs (l-r)Kaitlyn Newey, Lauren Bir, Larkin Carroll, Ella Bockmore, Ellie Phillips, Josie Stanos, Izzy Owens, Emma Narouze, Ellie Long, Courtney Fashinpaur, Simone Albrecht, Grace Regula and Maddie Milicia took second place at the Suburban League Meet. Photo submitted.