COLUMBuS: The St. Vincent-St. Mary 800-meter girls relay team didn’t disqualify itself for not completing a handoff in the allotted distance. But boy, was it close.
As freshman Imani Davis completed the second leg, sophomore Katie Goedecke took off a little too early for Davis to catch up. Goedecke stopped just short of the line, completed the handoff and the Irish still managed to win their heat and place second in the Division II state preliminaries Friday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Fighting Irish’s time of 1:44.11 seconds was a second behind Eastmoor Academy.
“That third leg, she [Goedecke] just accidentally took off too early,” Davis said as Goedecke started grinning from ear to ear. “That’s the closest we ever got. It was right at the mark. I said ‘Katie wait!’ She stopped and turned around and [the mark] was just right there.”
St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dan Lancianese knows the Irish benefited from a rule change, new to the state meet this year, that the baton is now the only thing that must stay inside the 20-foot hand-off zone.
“We got incredibly lucky,” Lancianese said. “Even though Katie was slightly beyond the zone, the baton wasn’t. Actually, I think both our boys and girls teams should have been disqualified if not for this new rule.”
With sophomore Chelsea Laury as the anchor on the 800 relay, that makes junior Kyla Crater the oldest member of the team. Because of this, she knows communication is key.
“Maintain and communication,” Crater said when asked how they kept from getting too excited in the state meet. “You don’t communicate during the sprints. I was tired [at the end of my leg], so I yelled ‘Don’t take off.’ That’s the best you can do, can’t do anything else because they’re moving too fast.”
Davis and Laury — along with sophomore Julia Mendiola and senior Tessa Weigand — later placed first in the 1,600 relay prelims with a time of 3:58.06. Davis also ran the 200-meter dash prelims in 25.6 seconds to qualify fifth.
Laury’s 400-meter dash time of 58.44 seconds took fourth place in the prelims. For Laury, it wasn’t enough. Though she did say she’s finally kicked her nerves-induced tradition of throwing up before every 400.
“I wanted to do better and I know I can,” she said. “I wanted to come out and run a better time. I felt tired today. I’m just going to give it my all tomorrow.”
The St. V-M boys also won the 400 relay and 800 relay prelims (42.6 and 1:28.55 seconds, respectively).
After Friday’s events, the St. V-M boys and girls are in second place by one point, with the boys trailing River Valley and the girls trailing Liberty-Benton. Lancianese said he wasn’t even aware of the team standings because that’s not what matters.
“Honestly, I really don’t look at it that way,” he said. “What I’m intrigued with is that all of the 18 events we were in are still qualified for tomorrow. That’s what I like.”
Rittman senior Crystal Barnes took first in the Division III girls 100-meter dash prelims (12.6 seconds), placed second in the 200-meter dash prelims with a time of 25.96 and was a part of the winning 400-relay team (50.39 seconds). Canton Central Catholic sophomore Katelyn Mokros took third place in the 100-meter dash.
Sophomore Taylor Looby of St. Thomas Aquinas won the Division III girls 100-meter hurdle prelims with a time of 15.77 seconds.
Sandy Valley senior Andrew Milhoan (22-0 feet) and Orrville senior Stewart Turner Jr. (21-11.75) went 1-2 in the Division II boys long jump final. Manchester senior Cort Logan finished fifth with a jump of 21-10.75.
East Canton senior Duke Taylor, who entered Friday with a personal best of 186 feet and 4 inches, placed second in the Division III boys discus with a throw of 170-6. He was 13 inches short of Robinson senior Adam Stuckert.
Rootstown senior Ashleigh Pickens finished third in the Division III high jump with a jump of 5 feet, 4 inches.
The St. Thomas Aquinas boys 3,200 relay team — seniors Kevin Vinci and Tyler Moeglin and juniors Aaron Wengerd and Cory Glines — placed third with a time of 8:07.4.
Griffins a no-show
The girls 3,200 relay team from Buchtel — which had the fifth-best regional time — didn’t check in to the race in time and received a “DNS” (Did Not Show). An OHSAA official said only one member of the team showed up to start the race, and the Griffins weren’t registered.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.