By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — After anchoring the 400-meter relay team to a second-place finish at the Division III state track and field meet Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium, Lehman Catholic senior Alanna O’Leary had one last race in the blue uniform and pink socks.
And O’Leary saw the irony in the fact it was the 200-meter dash, where she finished seventh in 25.58.
“It is kind of interesting because I was over here as a freshman in the 200 and didn’t make finals,” O’Leary said. “So for that to be my final race and make it on the podium, that was nice. Of course, it was in the back of my mind that it was my final race, but I didn’t think about it too much.”
But, she couldn’t help but smile when thinking back to her freshman year and how much she had grown in the four years.
It is amazing to think about how nervous I used to get and how much I have matured both mentally and physically,” she said. “It gives me a lot of hope for running in college (at Hillsdale, Mich.).”
The big story came early in the day when sophomore Lauren McFarland, freshman Lindsey Magoteaux and sophomore Rylie McIver teamed with O’Leary for a second-place finish in the 400 relay in 50.20.
“We didn’t expect this at all,” O’Leary said. “We didn’t really put this team together until conference. It really wasn’t until after the qualifying yesterday (when Lehman had the third fastest time), we started saying, ‘hey we got a shot’.”
O’Leary had a big finish on the anchor leg, passing Alexis Prater of Ridgewood and holding her off by a hundreth of a second — and almost catching Jessica Brown of Fremont St. Joseph, who won in 49.69.
“Honestly I wasn’t thinking about her (Jessica Brown) so much because they got the baton quite a bit sooner than us,” O’Leary said. “I was just thinking about the third place girl (Alexis Prater) and getting in front of her.”
The other three weren’t surprised by what she did.
“That’s basically what Alanna (O’Leary) does,” McIver said. “She has been doing it all year.”
McIver said the atmosphere on championship Saturday was like nothing she could have ever imagined.
“Alanna (O’Leary) tried to prepare us for what it would be like, but it was amazing,” she said. “You can’t prepare for this. It was like nothing I have ever experienced.”
Magoteaux, who had finished eighth in the 100 in 12.54 agreed.
“I think running the 100 helped,” she said. “It got some of the nerves out.”
And how was standing on the second spot on the podium?
“Awesome,” McFarland said with a big smile. “It was amazing watching Alanna and realizing we were going to finish second. We didn’t even give that a thought at the beginning of the year. Not at all.”
Houston duo runs
Juniors Tristan Freistuhler and Ethan Knouff both ended their seasons for Houston Saturday.
Freistuhler finished 13th in the 1,600 in 4:28.62; while Knouff finished 15th in the 800 in 1:59.41
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.