The St. Paul girls will enter today’s Division III running finals in prime position to score a top-10 team finish as all four relays did what they set out to do: Run fast and move on.
Individually, senior Meghan Hedrick — one of only two four-event qualifiers in program history, along with teammate Olivia Powers — will have the chance to podium in four events, which is something no female athlete at St. Paul has ever done.
Hedrick, Claire Ceccoli, Holly Powers and Lily Dowdell started Friday’s Div. III state track and field championships with a solid seventh-place finish of 9:39.81.
Hedrick then paired with Gabby Scavuzzo, Gwen Olcott and Olivia Powers to record the fourth-quickest prelim times in both the 4x200 (1:45.98) and 4x100 (51.31) relays. Hedrick, Dowdell, Scavuzzo and Olivia Powers were also fourth-quick in the 4x400 relay at 4:02.96.
“We’re on top of the world right now,” said Hedrick, a Ball State University commit. “We’re doing exactly what we came here to do. In the 4x800, we just wanted to place as high as we possibly could and make podium. Then it was survive and advance in the other three relays.
“We’re definitely excited about (today),” she added.
Hedrick had the Flyers in first place after two legs of the 3200 relay.
“In that spot, I just wanted to put us in as good of position as I could for the last two runners,” she said. “Lily had a great start and those last two girls were able to hang on and get us that podium finish.”
Nine athletes or teams qualify to the finals with the top eight spots getting on the podium.
Last year, the 4x400 relay was the lone relay to place, taking sixth.
“I think we’re capable of PRs and exceeding all of the those times tomorrow,” Hedrick said. “We got some bigger goals. We’re definitely not satisfied with those times today, but they got the job done.
“Tonight, we’ll be reviewing tape and fine-tuning as many things as we can,” she added.
Olivia Powers ran a time of 13.15 seconds to place 17th in the 100 dash.
On the boys side, the big performance on the day for St. Paul came from junior Davis Hedrick — Meghan’s younger brother — in the discus.
Seeded eighth after regionals, Hedrick recorded a top throw of 149-10 to finish seventh overall.
“The rain delay kind of threw me off. It wasn’t the best series of throws I’ve had, but I’m happy to be here and to get a medal,” Hedrick said. “I know I can do better next year.”
Rain delayed the finals for a good hour.
“I wasn’t expecting that delay,” he said. “I knew there was supposed to be rain, but I thought it was coming later than it did. I was ready to go before that, then I just got a little mental during that delay and kind of lost my groove.”
The Flyers’ 400 relay of Cam Caizzo, Paul Pearce, Treg Smith and Joey Catalano placed 13th at 44.40. Zach Stine, Nate Tokarsky, Noah Avendano and Jared Arnold placed 18th in the 3200 relay at 8:32.65.
Other individuals failing to make the finals Friday included: New London’s Maryonna Cathey, who was 10th (46.65) in the 300 hurdles, Willard’s Felicia Rosvanis, who was 16th in the 400 (1:01.02), South Central’s Izzy Hauler in the long jump, who was 11th at 16-6.5 and Edison’s Sam Stoll in the 300 hurdles, who took 19th in the 300 hurdles at 41.65.
However, Stoll did make it out in the 110 hurdles, grabbing the ninth and final spot at 14.86.
Holida finishes on Div. II long jump podium
Willard’s Dorian Holida thought he had landed a big jump to put himself in contention for a Div. II state title on his second jump.
But when he turned around, all the senior could see was that dreaded red flag in the air.
“I felt like that jump was a really good jump, but I faulted by just a tip,” Holida said. “I was either too far back today or I was too far ahead of the board.”
Holida finished with three jumps over 21 feet, recording a top leap of 21-8.25 to place fourth overall in the event won by Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Tre Tucker at 22-10.5.
That problem crept up on Holida last year, too. He finished in the 15th-place spot at 19-11.5.
“Last year I faulted my first two jumps in prelims, then jumped way behind the board on my final jump,” he said.
Holida was seeded second entering Friday. His career-best mark was over 22-7.
“Overall, I’m pretty happy with my season,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a much better season, other than having a better result here.”
Monroeville’s Smith validates move of graduation date
In anticipation of Kristen Smith making Saturday’s Div. III 400 dash finals, Monroeville moved its graduation to Sunday.
So upon hearing that she’d earned the eighth-quickest prelim time to advance, the Eagle senior got a little validation.
“I wanted to make sure they had a reason to move it to Sunday,” said Smith, who ran a time of 59.08. “I’m not in shock or amazed, I though that was the last time I was running that race. People don’t expect that kind of thing from Monroeville because we’re so small and we don’t even have a track.”
Smith was eighth in the 400 as a freshman in 2015, then moved up to seventh as a sophomore. However, she was 12th as a junior, failing to make finals. Her all-time fastest 400 time of 57.90 came during her sophomore season. She ran 58.67 at regionals.
“I thought I was done for a few weeks ago. I got an ankle injury that kept me out three weeks,” Smith said. “My first 400 back was at the Firelands Conference meet and I came out of there in under a minute to win, and I was like, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not done.’
“We were all disappointed I didn’t make finals last year, so finishing up my high school career this way is all I can ask for,” she added.
‘At-large’ to large, Chargers 4x800 makes podium
Had Edison’s 4x800 relay finished fifth any other year than this one, the quartet wouldn’t have even qualified to the state meet.
But thanks to the new ‘at-large’ system, the Chargers made Friday’s finals and took advantage of the new rule.
With a time of 8:05.33, the squad of Daniel Lambert, Tyler Coon, Brandon Romell and Gavin Schaefffer came home eighth to earn the final spot on the podium.
“It’s insane,” Coon said. “We’ve put so much work in this whole season. I’ve been running since December for this and I’m so happy it finally paid off.”
Added Romell: “We were finally able to put together a collective good day. We’ve always had a couple slow legs or a slow leg here and there, so today was a collective effort.”
New London’s Allen takes seventh
Also enduring the lightning and rain delay was New London pole vaulter Jacob Allen.
Despite the lengthy break, Allen went four inches better than his top effort of the conference and tournament trail on Friday — clearing an even 14 feet to place seventh and earn Div. III All-Ohio honors in the process.
Allen missed on his first try at 14 feet, but cleared the bar on his second attempt.