TROY — Lauren Heaton led a strong Russia girls contingent to advance to the state meet, which is exactly what the Lady Raiders were hoping for Friday at the Troy D-III regional.
“Ideally, we would like to send a big group to state and score a number of points (at the state meet),” Heaton had said earlier in the week. “Definitely, the goal is to finish on the top of the podium.”
The former state champion in the 400 is in position to do it again after winning the regional Friday in 57.59.
She also finished second in the 200, 26.36 and had anchored the 3,200 relay (with Shaelyn Goubeaux, Grace York and Molly Kearns) to a third-place finish in the 3,200 relay on Wednesday.
York blazed her way to a second-place finish in the 800 in 2:14.73; while Emily Bohman finished second in the pole vault, clearing 11-0. Andrea Meyer of Fort Loramie won on misses after clearing the same height.
And in a loaded 3,200 field, Kearns advanced with a fourth-place finish in 11:23.24
Ewing near record
As Miami East’s Marie Ewing crossed the finish line, her face lit up.
“I thought I saw 2:15!” she yelled at Viking girls track coach Preston Elifritz, knowing that 2:16-plus was roughly the Miami East school record in the 800.
She discovered her exact time was 2:16.12 and headed over to the awards podium thinking she had the school record, while Elifritz jumped onto his cell phone to check the exact mark.
He found it — Juli Accurso’s 2:16.11 — and walked over to Ewing to give her the news.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said, her face sinking.
Though she missed the mark by the smallest possible measure of time, her performance accomplished another important thing — giving her one more chance to get the record this season as Ewing joined Megan Kinnison in qualifying for next week’s state meet.
Ewing, a junior who had the fastest district qualifying time entering the regional, finished fourth in the 800, with the 2:16.12 being a new personal best. She will return to the state meet after qualifying as a freshman in the 800, as well.
“It gets rid of the nerves a little bit,” Ewing said of her previous experience. But the girls get better every year, too. This year, I’m just so blessed to be able to compete at state. I wanted first place, but I have another year for that.”
And as for chasing that school record?
“Yes,” she said simply when asked if Friday night’s near miss would give her added fuel going into state. “Next week, and next year, it will.”
Kinnison, meanwhile, found qualifying a struggle — and also found herself racing after the official results were delayed.
The Miami East senior, who finished 10th at state last season, was one of only two competitors entering regional competition with a throw of better than 120-0 from the district level. She fouled her first two throws on Friday night, though, with landing far out of bounds.
“It was tough,” she said. “I just calmed down and listened to my coaches. I had to listen to what they were telling me to do and just try to get into the finals.”
She landed a 105-10 on her final attempt to earn three more throws in the finals, though, then threw a 111-9 to finish fourth by better than a foot and claim the final state qualifying spot.
“It’s great to be going back,” she said, short of breath as she’d taken off running after grabbing her medal nearly a full hour after being taken to the awards area — there had been a delay on the results being finalized, and she had to reach graduation right after. “I didn’t throw the way I can throw today. But it’s great to be getting another chance.”
Kimmel sprints to state
Covington sophomore Breanna Kimmel, meanwhile, was the lone Buccaneer girl to qualify for state, finishing fourth in the 100 in a time of 12.76 seconds.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I don’t feel any different right now, but I know I will.”
The sophomore has already been to the state meet last year on a relay team — and she said that having that experience actually made it a little tougher this year.
“It made me even more nervous,” Kimmel said. “I felt like I was supposed to do something, like I had to. I had to meet those standards, or else. I wanted to get to state every year, and I was a little nervous that I might not. But we had a really good senior with us last year, Heidi Cron, and she really helped us all out and encouraged us. Having that helped me out a lot this year.”
O’Leary double qualifier
Lehman sophomore Alanna O’Leary is headed back to state after running two strong races Friday.
She took second in the 400 in 58.40 and was fourth in the 200 in 26.62.
Tiger relays advance
In the Dayton D-II regional Saturday, Versailles girls had three relays advance to the state meet.
The 800 relay (Cassie Peters, Ellen Peters, Liz Watren, Haley Winner) was second in 1:44.25.
Finishing fourth were the 400 relay (Cassie Peters, Ellen Peters, Jenna Frantz, Haley Winner), 50.15; and the 1,600 relay (Haley Winner, Cassie Peters, Emily Langenkamp, Liz Watren), 4:02.65.