COLUMBUS: The St. Vincent-St. Mary boys track and field team started the defense of its team title in strong fashion Friday in the Division II meet.
Fighting Irish seniors Patrick O’Brien, Sean Poholski and Mike Hurley joined junior Mick Iacofano to win the 3,200-meter relay in a time of 7:51.75 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
O’Brien and Poholski took part in St. V-M’s second-place finish to Woodridge last year in the 3,200 relay and were focused on jumping up to the top spot on the podium.
Versailles (7:56.21), Milan Edison (8:02.52) and Van Wert (8:02.98) rounded out the top four units in the event. Woodridge did not qualify a 3,200 relay to state this year.
“It was fun,” Hurley said. “We were second in cross as a junior, second to them in the [3,200] last year and then second again in cross as a senior. We finally got it. It feels really good.”
O’Brien ran the first leg for the Irish.
“We have had so many ups and downs and it happens to be that a lot of the downs came in the state meet for cross and track,” O’Brien said. “To go out like this is indescribable. I was crying. I just can’t even describe how much this means. It means so much.”
Iacofano took the baton from O’Brien to run the second leg.
“I went into this knowing that this was my last race with these guys, and I just wanted to give it my all for them,” Iacofano said. “I just wanted to do my best and I was hoping our team would do our best too. These guys have a great future in college.”
Iacofano handed off to Hurley for the third leg. Poholski grabbed the baton from Hurley to run the final leg and afterward admitted he thought to himself: “Just don’t lose it.”
“With me having the baton, these guys had set me up to win,” Poholski said. “It was like if I would have lost that significant lead that these guys made for me, I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself.”
Fortunately for Poholski, the Irish came out on top.
“That was sweet redemption,” St. V-M coach Dan Lancianese said. “They went into this thing knowing what they needed to do, and they also knew that they came down here last year and couldn’t finish the task. They knew it was going to come down to speed.
“The key to that team was Mick Iacofano clocking a 1:57. We just didn’t see that one coming. Mike Hurley followed that up with a 2:02, which was phenomenal. We knew what Patrick O’Brien and Sean Poholski could do, but we didn’t expect the margin to turn out the way it was.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.