In the photo to the left, Jonathan Alder’s Lexi Thorpe leads this group of runners during the Division II girls 4 x 800 relay final on Friday at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Lady Pioneers finished second in the state to three-time champion Chagrin Falls.
(Journal-Tribune photos by Tim Miller)
Coming off a Division II regional championship last week, the Jonathan Alder girls’ 4 x 800 relay team was ready to match up with the state’s best Friday afternoon at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Lady Pioneers went into the event’s finals with the fifth-best seed time of 9:33.59, which they established during the regional meet at Lexington High School.
The foursome of Morgan Hicks, Maddy Killian, Maddie Davis and Lexi Thorpe bested their regional time and finished second in the state to three-time champion Chagrin Falls with a clocking of 9:30.92.
Chagrin Falls took a comfortable lead at the outset and easily claimed its third consecutive state title in the event with a time of 9:19.40.
That wiped out their regional seed time of 9:25.12.
The Lady Pioneers were in third place after Hicks’ first lap and for a brief time slipped back to fifth during Killian’s turn with the stick.
She was able to get JA back to fourth before she handed the baton to Davis.
The Lady Pioneers trailed only Chagrin Falls, albeit by quite a few meters, by the time Thorpe began the anchor leg.
She fluctuated between second and third until the final 200 meters of her last lap.
“That’s when I went into second place to stay,” said Thorpe.
The Alder foursome said they faced a very competitive field.
“Our hand-offs were pretty good and it was an exciting race,” said Killian.
“Hand-offs are harder, though, when it’s a fast field,” said Davis.
The 4 x 800 relay was the only final event for Union County-area athletes on Friday, which was the first day of the state track and field meet.
There were three other events run as prelims for local athletes.
Fairbanks senior Beau Sloan, who finished as the 2017 state runner-up in the Division III boys’ 100 meter dash, will have a chance to equal or better that effort today.
Sloan finished second in his prelim heat with a time of 11.01. He had the fourth-best overall time behind Justin Wright of Wellsville (10.79), Logan Bloir of Edon (10.92) and Traevon Alford of Norwayne (11.0).
The top two finishers in each prelim heat, plus the next five fastest times, advanced to this morning’s finals.
“I started well, but I just didn’t finish the race the way I wanted to,” said Sloan. “I wanted to win my heat and I didn’t want to run in the 11’s.
“However, I got in the top two of my heat and I’m going to the finals.”
“I thought Beau looked good,” said FHS coach Jeff Powell. “He’s going to be in Lane 3 (after being in Lane 4 during the prelims) and that’s a good lane for him in the finals.
“I think he’s got a good chance to be in the top three or four and when you’re that close, you have a chance at a state title.”
Fairbanks was represented in two other events.
Senior Kayla Green went into the girls’ 300 hurdles with the fifth-best seed time of 46.16.
She was clocked, however, in 47.82 and finished ninth in her preliminary heat.
That finished her 17th overall out of 18 runners.
“That time was worse than normal,” said Green. “I thought I went over the hurdles well, but there was just a lot of competition this year.”
Green has already become a member of the United States Army National Guard and went through basic training last year.
She will leave on June 20 for advanced training as a supply specialist at Ft. Lee in West Virginia.
“Being a senior, I wanted to come back here (to the state meet) and have fun,” she said. “I did.”
“Kayla had the disadvantage of being in Lane 9,” said Powell. “When you’re in that lane, you’re running on a curve for basically the first 200 meters and can’t see where the other runners are until you hit the straight-away.
“Kayla ran hard, but there were a lot of 44’s (seed times) this year,” he said.
FHS was also entered in the boys’ 4 x 200 relay.
The foursome of Sloan, Nate Timmons, Will Cochrane and Zach Stewart got out of the gate well and had crisp early hand-offs.
Misfortune hit, however, on the final exchange between Cochrane and Stewart.
“The exchange was made out of the zone,” said Powell.
That caused the team to be disqualified from the race.
The Panthers went into the prelims with a seed time of 1:31.92.
A time like that without disqualification on Friday would have placed them fifth and in today’s finals.
“We were in first place before the last exchange,” said Powell. “I’m just crushed for those guys right now.”
Sloan won’t be the only athlete to compete in today’s meet.
Alder’s Davis will run in the Division II 1600 run this afternoon.
She will be followed by Thorpe (girls) and Jase Headings (boys) in the 800 and Hicks in the 3200.
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