COLUMBUS: The top boys 3,200-meter relay unit in the state in Division II still resides at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.
CVCA seniors Noah LeBay, Caleb Gary and Ben Bockoven, and junior anchor Ryan Adams made sure of that Friday when they won the race in 7 minutes, 48.75 seconds at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“It was great to see the guys repeat this year in the 4x8,” CVCA coach Jeff Port said. “After last year’s school-record-setting performance, those guys said: ‘Well, that record will last awhile.’ I said: ‘Yeah, until next year,’ and they all thought that was pretty funny. Then today, with two new guys [Gary and Bockoven] and two guys from last year [LeBay and Adams], they did them one better and broke the school record again.
“We always give thanks to God first because he’s the one who gave us the ability to run and the motivation to run well.
“Noah LeBay got us off to a great start, pulling away in the last 200, then each guy just widened the gap. Caleb Gary and Ben Bockoven both had PR’s today, and when we built a gap like that, it wasn’t likely that anyone was going to run down Ryan.”
Senior Luke Mazanec served as the alternate on the relay. Edgewood was second in 7:55.79.
“We raced really well as a team, each leg did their job and overall it was a great race,” LeBay said. “What really helped us was our experience and knowing how to attack it and what to expect from the state race because this race is unlike any other 4x8.”
St. Thomas Aquinas won the girls 3,200-meter relay in a Division III record time of 9:11.66. Sophomore Athena Welsh ran the opening leg and teamed with freshmen Kalee Soehnlen and Kacee Soehnlen and senior anchor Molly Pusateri.
“The girls ran very well today,” Aquinas coach Randy Crawford said. “They were all at their PR’s or above them.
“That is the first time we have had those four girls together on the relay since the [Stark] County meet [in April]. They really clicked.
Crawford said junior Danielle Palutsis ran on the 3,200 relay in the district and regional meets and served as an alternate Friday.
The Knights easily secured the victory ahead of Columbus Academy in 9:30.32.
Welsh, senior Taylor Looby, Kacee Soehnlen and Pusateri also clocked a 4:02.98 in the 1,600 relay preliminary to advance to today’s finals with the second fastest time.
Smithville senior Connor Booth finished as state runner-up in Division III when he launched the shot put 59 feet, 1.25 inches. Garrettsville junior Edith Svonavec placed third in the Division II girls discus throw with a result of 126 feet.
The St. Vincent-St. Mary girls 3,200 relay took fourth in Division II in 9:28.99 with sophomore Rachel Iacofano, juniors Cynthia Haas and Grace Davis and senior Julia Mendiola.
Wadsworth finished fifth in the Division I girls 3,200 in 9:14.15. The Grizzlies’ relay consisted of senior Courtney Palange, senior Leah Runkle, junior Madi Salem and senior Sarah Berger.
Brecksville placed sixth in the 3,200 in 9:15.15 with senior Olivia Cook, junior Sarah Schlabig, junior Rachel Kotchman and senior Melissa Rains.
On to the finals
Buchtel will have two relays and one individual in today’s Division II girls finals.
The Griffins’ 400 relay finished second in the preliminary race at 49.26 seconds with juniors Dana Oliver, Raven Green, Jayla Bowens and Simone Green.
Bowens, Raven Green, Oliver and Simone Green joined forces to finish third in the 800 relay in 1:43.503. Simone Green also enters today with the eighth best 100 time (12.3).