ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The first part of the OVAC Track and Field puzzle is set.
The Cal Giffin OVAC Track and Field Championship kicked off its five-day stand at chilly Red Devil Stadium Monday night with Classes 3A and 5A beginning their qualifying toward Saturday's final.
The 1A/2A and 4A schools will begin their meet this afternoon with field events at 4 p.m. and running at 5 p.m., while the second half of the qualifying begins at the same times on Wednesday.
The qualifying rounds allow teams to position themselves for Saturday's championship meet where all of the scoring will be done and the team titles decided.
In Class 3A, the race appears to be wide open. Several schools had an impressive day of qualifying.
Steubenville Central posted the top qualifier in the 400 when Kara Kakascik posted a 61.96 and also in the 4x2 with a time of 1:50.31.
Senior Monica Riguad appears to be turning it up a notch. She breezed to the top high hurdle time in the class in 15.57.
Bellaire had a strong afternoon on the track, also posting the top mark in three events. The Big Reds had the top qualifier in the 3200 in junior Danielle Stoner (12:42.22).
Junior Melissa Cordy had the top clearance in the pole vault, soaring over 9-feet to set the standard.
The Big Reds' 4x8, which has been the premier team in the area much of the season, ran a 10:39.46 to win the 3A race by more than five seconds.
Magnolia's Bailey Estep was the top high jumper at 5-feet. Buckeye Trail's Alexis Williams was the top shot putter with a mark of 34-6 and Shenandoah's Kylee Kasper ran 13.70 to pace the 100 meter dashers.
On the boys' side in 3A, seven different schools posted one of the top marks in the nine events contested.
Bellaire's Cody LaRoche led the way in the discus with a twirl of 125-2. The Big Reds had a strong day of qualifying with two entrants in both the pole vault and long jump.
Linsly's quest for another title got started with Matt Hurley leading the 110M high hurdlers with a time of 15.88.
Steubenville Central's strength in distance should be a factor on Saturday. The Crusaders were led by freshman Joey Schlich in the 3200. He ran a 10:21.71. The Crusaders also paced the 4x8 in 8:27.17.
The Magnolia Blue Eagles, who always seem to be a factor at the OVAC, led the way in the 100 thanks to Yale Wetzel (11.56) and their 4x200 (1:34.46).
Barnesville's Daniel Brown led the pole vaulters in his class at 10-6. Buckeye Trail's Morgan Dougherty ran 52.44 for the 400 top spot and Shenandoah's Zak Biancarelli led the long jump field at 19-ft-9 1/2.
In Class 5A, a full-fledged battle could be ensuing for 18 events as a host of schools had a strong day of qualifying.
John Marshall was led by the exploits of talented sophomore Torie Derrow. She set a Class 5A record in the high hurdles, skimming 10 timbers in 14.66. She also set the high jump mark at 5-4.
Wheeling Park's Natalie Wieth set the big-school standard with a 61.54.
Park's 4x2 team also posted the top mark in the class with a 1:47.20.
Indian Creek's Whitney Martin continued her impressive string of meets, blazing a 12.71 for the top mark in the 100. Cambridge's Steph Massey led the shot put with a heave of 37-feet.
On the boys' side, Wheeling Park set the pace in both the 400 meter dash and the high hurdles. Braeden Carroll led the 400 in 51.92 and sophomore Richard Cummings posted a 15.13 to pace the high hurdles.
The Patriots also turned in a 1:32.57 to lead the way in the 4x2.
Cambridge's Eric Fox had a strong meet, qualifying in three events. The Louisville-bound pole vaulter cleared 15-feet to lead the way in his specialty. Ivan Gadson led the 100 in 11.41.