PICKERINGTON – The last time a Lady Panther competed at the track and field state championship meet was in 1997. Dating back to 1976, no female has ever done it in the 3200-meter run.
Now, a new Lady Panther is queen of the jungle.
Junior Sydney Hambel competed in the 3200-meter run at the Division II State Championships on June 5, etching her name in the history books.
While Hambel finished with an official time of 12:22.88 and didn’t make the podium, Head Coach Barry Harvey lauds her season and the accolades she’s earned.
“It’s a big achievement to do what she did,” Harvey said. “As well as earning All-Ohio honors for competing at the state meet, she also earned Academic All-Ohio with a 3.9 unweighted GPA.”
Harvey also feels the changing weather conditions didn’t help Hambel perform her best.
“Sydney’s performance at the state meet wasn’t her best,” Harvey said.” I think the changing temperatures over the last few weeks of racing caught up with her. It wasn’t her worse race of the year but wasn’t her best. I know she is going to take a lot away from the moment (and) I know Sydney will use this experience to fuel her into her cross-country season in the fall.”
With a history-maker at the state meet being only a junior, Harvey also thinks this New Lex squad is only getting started.
“We are only losing one senior from the squad we normally took to invites,” Harvey said. “(Hambel) showed the MVL she was a force in the distances races, McKenna (Pingle) defended her 400-meter title, our 4x200-meter team were MVL champs. I really feel like we are only going to be better next year. I think with Sydney and McKenna leading the charge next year, expect big things from this New Lex squad.”