Milton-Union’s Grudich surpasses expectations, school records

Morgan Grudich set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles and tied the long jump mark at the Covington Invitational on Friday night. It was another solid outing for the Bulldogs, who have set five school records this season on the girls side.

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Grudich unleashed a winning effort of 17 feet, 3-inches in the long jump to break the meet record of 16-11 established last season by Franklin-Monroe’s Selene Weaver. That also sailed past Grudich’s 16-04.5 at last season’s Division II regional finals where she finished fifth, coming 0.25 inches away from qualifying for the state championships.

“My goal was 17 for the year and I passed that. Now I’m just hoping to go to state,” Grudich said. “I think about it a lot. I try not to because it pressures me and I get nervous. But I try to take it one meet at a time.”

Grudich finished second in the 100 hurdles in 16.29 seconds, breaking the school record of 16.6. She finished second to Anna senior and Bowling Green recruit Hannah Shoemaker (16.18), who won the 100 and 200 dashes and both hurdles events.

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In addition to Grudich, Covington senior Lauren Christian won the shot put Friday with a meet-record 43-0. That broke the previous best of 41-11 set in 2016. Ansonia junior Brock Shellhaas won the boys pole vault with a meet-record 14-09.0 to eclipse the previous mark of 14-7 in 2011.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to get both records in one meet,” Grudich said. “I was really hoping for the long jump record, but it surprised me I got the hurdles record. I never really focused on hurdles.”

Her mom qualified for state in the hurdles as a senior and also long jumped for then Bethel coach Steve Pytel, now an assistant coach at Milton-Union.

“It really excites me where she can be in two more years,” Pytel said. “I think by the time she’s a senior – the way her dad works her out at home with weights – I think she’ll be an 18-foot long jumper, at least high 17s consistently.”

In addition to surpassing expectations, she’s also gone past her mom’s best long jump mark of 16-5.

“She’s faster than me and jumps farther than me,” Erica Grudich said. “She beat (my best in the long jump) as a freshman.”

Earlier this season Milton junior Ally Lyons set the high jump record at 5-3 and senior Kyli Parsons set the 5,000-meter mark in 22:25.91. The distance medley relay team of seniors Kristen Dickison and Brianna Collins, junior Rachel Thompson and freshman Sophie Meredith established a new mark in the distance medley relay in 14:08.08.

Grudich’s records weren’t the only surprises for the Bulldogs on Friday. Milton coach Michael Meredith tossed Dickison into the mile for the first time in her career. She responded with a 5:36.66 for second place.

“There’s always nerves. I just knew if I stayed with the leaders I’d do good,” Dickison said. “I knew if I fell off I wouldn’t get back up front. … It wasn’t bad. That’s all I can say.”

“It’s not hard to put Kristen in something,” Meredith said of Milton’s all-time leading scorer and assist leader in soccer and No. 2 all-time leading scorer in basketball. “When you have the athletes like Morgan, Kristen and some of the best athletes our school has to offer – not just this year but any year – it’s not hard to be a track coach. We’ve had a good year.”