St. Paul trio of athletes have big state track goals

Mark Hazelwood • Updated May 28, 2019 at 9:31 PM

NORWALK — Camille Endsley knew she was close.

But the St. Paul sophomore found out things were happening a little more faster than she envisioned.

And in this instance, that’s quite alright.

Endsley is slated to compete in the Division III state track and field championships in the high jump at 4 p.m. on Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

Endsley finished second at the regional championship meet last weekend at Heidelberg University in Tiffin. She steadily progressed, starting at 4-feet-6 and eventually clearing 5-feet-1.

She has hit 5-feet-2 this season, which has become her benchmark jump to date for several reasons.

“I knew I had to hit 5-2 in order to get to regionals and be in that position,” Endsley said. “But I didn’t think I was going to get it this early, as I figured it would come after the (Firelands) conference meet, not before. That was kind of when I knew I had a chance.

“I knew I was really close,” she added. “I made it to regionals last year, but I wasn’t anywhere near where I’ve been this season. It was really exciting.”

Prior to practice on Tuesday, Endsley was watching film of her jumps last week under the watchful eye of her coaches — and two special visitors. Past St. Paul state placers Wes Fritz and Olivia Hipp were there to help Endsley make tweaks to her jumping process.

“It’s great because when they watch me they can spot exactly what I need to do or change,” she said. “And Olivia has the record here at 5-2.25, so I’m kind of chasing that, too. So I’m right there.”

As for Friday, Endsley is in a big cluster of competitors around the same height. There are six girls who have seeds of 5-feet-4 or better, but the rest of the field is all between five feet and 5-2.

“I look at where I’m seeded and I know there is going to be some separation down there,” Endsley said. “I know I need to likely PR to place, which is the goal.”


Noah Avendano, 3200

St. Paul senior Noah Avendano is ending his athletic career right where he had hoped.

A two-time state qualifier in cross country, Avendano placed third in the 3200-meter run at the regional — which earned him his first-ever individual state track appearance.

He will run the two-mile at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

“It’s definitely something I’ve been working for, because I had not been individually in track before,” he said. “The beginning of the season had some challenges and I wasn’t sure I could get there, but these last few weeks I’ve been able to get it together. This has been the way I wanted to end my career.”

In cross country, Avendano was 61st as a junior in 2017 — then surged his way to 25th overall in the fall this school year to earn All-Ohio honors.

“Obviously it’s a shorter race and flat with no hills, so it’s not as much distance, but speed work,” Avendano said of the preparation this week compared to cross country. “Which I think is better, because my training definitely helped me get here.”

Avendano also knows he has work to do. His 9:58.11 regional time is 14th out of the 18 seeded times entering Saturday.

“Right now the goal is eighth place and All-Ohio, but I’m going to have to drop a few seconds to get there,” he said. “But I’ve been dropping a lot here the last few weeks, so I think it’s possible.”


Lily Dowdell, 1600

Junior standout distance runner Lily Dowdell is in a somewhat similar situation as Avendano.

Dowdell placed 57th and 10th as a freshman and sophomore at the state cross country meets in 2016 and 2017. But she battled injuries for much of the fall, and did not return to the state meet in 2018.

That has helped lead to a renewed focus in track, where Dowdell will compete in the state 1600 run at 10:05 a.m. Saturday.

At the regional meet last week, Dowdell set a new school record in the event, finishing third in a time of 5:16.29.

“This track season has been very different, but competing in the postseason I’ve been a lot more confident, and have a lot more belief in my training and what I’ve done this season so far,” Dowdell said. “But getting back to running this spring has been great.

“My coaches and parents, especially my mom, has been trying to help me fix what I did wrong in the fall,” she added. “We’ve been communicating more with my coaches and talking about how each run goes and setting goals.”

Dowdell said she’s in a much better place physically than she was in October and November.

“This track season I’ve been able to drop my times more than past track seasons even,” she said. “I think my teammates have helped. I’ve been running with the boys as well, which has helped a lot with motivation in training with them, too.”

Dowdell enters the meet seeded 10th out of 18 competitors, though several runners are within .29 seconds of each other in her time range.

“I got a big PR this past weekend at regionals, and to go down there and PR again while representing my school would be great,” she said. “So many people at school are always congratulating me, and I love having that support. The goal is to cross the finish line knowing I did my best. I want to leave it all on the track.”

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