Rocky Fork Enterprise

Girls Track & Field

Gahanna's Daniels finds right groove

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The Division I state girls track and field meet last June wasn't the only high-profile event Gahanna Lincoln High School sophomore MiAngel Daniels has been involved in over the past year.

Last summer, she also competed in a national dance competition with the Pinnell Dance Centre in Gahanna.

"I love dance," Daniels said. "Do I love track? I love my team. There are times I don't like track, but I think that's the way it is with anyone who competes in sports, and I'm glad I'm on this team."

Daniels, who has been competing in summer track since she was about 6 years old and immediately made an impact with the Lions a year ago as a freshman, believes competing in dance has enhanced her athletic abilities.

She was eighth at state last year in the 100-meter hurdles (15.34 seconds) and ran on both the 400 relay that was second (47.72) and the 800 relay that placed sixth (1:41.46).

On April 23 in the Gahanna Relays, she ran on three first-place relays and helped the Lions score 110 points to top a 13-team field.

"I think (dancing) helps me be able to go for a long time," Daniels said. "In the hurdles, it helps me be flexible and it keeps me in shape in the offseason. Last year (my dance team) went to South Carolina for nationals, and every other year we get to go out of state. I do (dance) classes three days a week."

Daniels is among the area's best in the 100 hurdles (15.08) and 300 hurdles (46.75).

In the Gahanna Relays, she ran on the winning 400 relay with Ivy McKee, Sara Richards and Tara Tedrick (49.74), the 800 relay with Cierra Hill, Richards and Sami Shaw (1:43.43) and the shuttle hurdles relay with Benja Duff, Mariah Mackey and Sydney Stokes (1:01.48).

The 400 relay's best time this season is 49.29 and the 800 relay's best time is 1:43.34.

"I definitely think you'll be seeing us at state in some events," Daniels said. "Everybody on our team is competitive with one another, but in a good way. I feel like we're off to a good start.

"I'm off to a rough start in the 100 hurdles, but the coaches assure me that it's because the weather hasn't been good. The 100 hurdles is definitely my race because I've been running it for so long. I've only run the 300 hurdles a couple of times."

Daniels also ran on the sprint medley with Richards, Shaw and Stokes that was second (1:50.67) in the Gahanna Relays.

The Lions' distance corps also stood out in Gahanna's home meet.

The distance mid medley of Hill, McKee, Kelsey Sandlin and Kiara Santiago was first in 6:59.4 and the distance medley of Abby Armstrong, Courtney Goddard, Ally Wharton and Santiago won in 13:19.5.

The pole-vault relay of Maddie Picou (10 feet) and Lexi Blase (9-6) was first, as was the long-jump relay of Stokes (15-11 1/2) and Kayla Randolph (14-2 3/4).

Sandlin added a third-place finish in the 800 (2:19.69) and McKee took third in the 100 (13.08).

On April 19 in the 23-team Mehock Relays at Mansfield Senior, Gahanna took second (77) behind Solon (107).

Then on April 25 in the 52-team Eastern Relays at the University of Louisville, the Lions were sixth (44.5) behind champion Evanston (Ill.) Township. Pickerington Central, which was fourth (49), was the only central Ohio team to finish ahead of Gahanna.

Daniels won the 100 hurdles (15.08) and the 800 sprint medley of McKee, Richards, Shaw and Tedrick also was first (1:49.06).

"The young kids are doing well," coach Roger Whittaker said. "It's a really hard-working group. MiAngel is doing well. She's been a very pleasant surprise in the (300 hurdles). I like the way the sprinters have jelled."

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