|Elida boys relay qualifies for state track|
|Monday, June 03, 2013 12:15 AM|
By Charlie Warnimont
LEXINGTON — Elida’s boys track team had three chances to get a runner or runners to state Saturday afternoon from the Division II regional finals in Lexington.
Several years had passed since the Bulldogs had a male athlete compete in a running event at state. And after they failed in their first two opportunities to get a runner to state, that left it up to the 1600-meter relay team. In that race, they were able to end the drought as they nearly brought home a regional championship in the process.
The Bulldogs’ squad of Brandon Stinson, Clark Etzler, Nick Pauff and Quentin Poling earned their way into the Division II state meet with a runner-up finish in the event.
The Division II state running semifinals get underway Friday afternoon with the finals taking place Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on The Ohio State University campus.
The first event to attempt to qualify an Elida runner to state was the 400 Relay team of Pauff, Desmend White, Khory Kesler and Stinson. The Bulldogs ran well as they posted a time of 44.26 but finished seventh in a highly-competitive field.
Quentin Poling was up next in the 300 hurdles and he finished seventh with a time of 39.96, which was a half-second quicker than his qualifying time on Thursday evening. That left the Bulldog chances of advancing coming down to the 1,600 Relay final.
Elida was able to accomplish their goal of making state as they finished second in 3:21.04, juts a stride behind the team from Eastwood that won with a time of 3:20.91.
“This is the first group of Elida boy runners that we have sent to state in a while,” Poling said. “It’s good for the community and a great honor. It’s probably been about 10 years as we have just sent field event people recently. It’s great that it is a relay as we get to send a team down there.”
The Bulldogs gave it everything they had in an effort to win a regional championship. When Pauff handed the baton to Poling, the Bulldogs had a slight lead on Eastwood as Poling and Eastwood anchor Gabe Fredericks battled over the course of the final 400 meters. Fredericks was able to get Eastwood the lead, then hold off a determined Poling down the stretch.
The Bulldogs time was three seconds quicker than the school record they set earlier this season.
“I just didn’t have quite enough at the finish,” Poling said. “This is the best 4x4 we have seen so far. Next week at state should be a lot of the same. It’s to the point where all the work is done. We just have to practice, get the blood flowing and the legs moving, but we don’t want to wear ourselves out getting ready for state.”
Earlier in the day, Poling competed in the shot put, finishing fifth with a throw of 52-9, an inch and a half behind the fourth-place distance of 52-10 1/2 by Ontario’s Bronson Krull. Krull came up with his best throw on his final attempt and athough Poling bettered his previous best mark of the day, it was just short.
Van Wert’s 1,600 squad competed in the finals, finishing fourth in 3:22.34 with the team of Seth Kopp, Quincey Salcido, Nick Krugh and Jared Fleming. Fleming turned in a final strong leg to help the Cougars get to state as they were fifth until he moved into the fourth spot for the team to advance.
Qualifying in that relay capped a fantastic meet for Fleming and the Van Wert boys as they picked up four more state bids Saturday afternoon after the opening the meet with a qualifying relay team on Thursday (the 3,200).
Fleming will compete in four events at state as he will not only compete in the two relays but also two individual events: the 1,600 and 800.
“Going into the season, I felt we had the potential to make it to state in four events,” Fleming said. “I knew I could make it down in two individual events but we had the relays to get there as well. We knew the potential was there but it’s all about what you did today at the regional meet. We were very excited to put it together today and make it to state.”
Fleming will be returning to state in the 1,600- and 800-meter runs as well as the two relays.
Fleming enters the 1,600 field as a regional champion as he won the race Saturday in 4:24.0 as he beat Milan Edison’s Stephen Shepherd to the finish line in 4:24.07. The first four runners all were between 4:24.04 and 4:24.97.
After running a strong race, Fleming was hoping to advance in the 800 as well and get a chance to defend his 2012 state championship in the event. The senior did that as he overtook three runners in the final 300 meters to win the race in 1:53.88, quicker than the time he ran in Columbus last year to win the event. Fleming’s time is a new school record at Van Wert.
One of the competitors Fleming passed on the final lap was Western Buckeye League rival Jacob Leopold of Ottawa-Glandorf, who faded back to fifth in 1:55.54.
“Time-wise, the 800 was more competitive than it was at state last year,” Fleming said. “I talked to my coaches before the 1,600 and we talked about scratching. They said we have a bunch of team points we could score here, so you need to tough it out. I believed in myself that I could double back. I was going for top four in the 800 and I saw it was there (the win) and I’m too competitive not to go for a first-place spot. I had to go for it. The 1,600 was super competitive. There was a lot of jostling around but that makes for a fun race, I guess.”
Van Wert picked up their first state bid Saturday afternoon as the 4x200 team of Kevon Pierce, Terrance Branson, Krugh and Kopp finished fourth in 1:30.93.
Kase Schalois just missed picking up another as he finished fifth in the 3,200 with a time of 10:01.21. Kopp also finished eighth in the 40o dash in 52.12.
On the girls side, Van Wert’s Amanda Clay went 1-for-2 as she advanced in the 400 dash and not the 100 meters.
Clay was a state qualifier in the 100 last year but finished eighth in the finals this year in 12.75. In the 400, Clay used her sprinter’s speed to advance as she was sitting fifth before turning it on to place second in the event. She ran a 58.15 for second place in the event as Wauseon freshman Seneca Wyse won in 57.68. Clay’s time was her best of the season.
“My race felt pretty good,” Clay said. “I was a little disappointed with my 100 and I just had to put it out of my mind knowing I had to do this (the 400). The last 100-150 (meters) is where I put my kick into it. I have that kick and most likely that is going to help me at the end. On the back stretch, I look at where everyone is at and where the curve is going to take them and from there I decided where I will turn it on.”
|Last Updated on Monday, June 03, 2013 12:18 AM|