The Akron Public Schools will have four athletes in the state track and field meet this weekend when Buchtel juniors Jayla Bowens, Raven Green, Simone Green and Dana Oliver line up to race in Division II.
Simone Green is a state qualifier in three events, the 100-meter dash, 800 relay and 400 relay.
Bowens, Oliver and Raven Green are each entered in the 800 relay and 400 relay.
“They have progressed well,” Buchtel coach John Scott said. “When they came here as freshmen, that first year was a learning experience. They got better as freshmen, last year we saw improvement and this year we have seen more improvement.”
St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Marie Hammer will return to Columbus this weekend as a state qualifier in the 300 hurdles after missing last season due to a torn ACL in her right knee that required surgery in January 2013.
“I ran at state sophomore year and I placed ninth so I didn’t make it on the podium, but I made it to the finals,” Hammer said. “It feels amazing to be going back to state. I think not being able to run last year and then to come back this year and be better than I have ever been is amazing.”
Hammer is an Ashland University recruit who plans to compete in the heptathlon.
St. V-M senior Parris Campbell Jr. is still growing as he prepares for the state meet.
Campbell said Saturday that he is feet, 2 inches and 193 pounds. Most seniors are 17 or 18, but Campbell is 16 and will not turn 17 until July 16.
He is entered in the 100, 800 relay and 400 relay. He hoped to make state in the 200, but scratched at regional due to an injury.
“It is a tendon in his knee that is strained,” St. V-M coach Dan Lancianese said. “He strained it back in the first of May. There is nothing there. On curves he has trouble, but on straightaways he is fine. We decided to be on the safe side and pull him from the 200. He could have run the 200, but we just didn’t want to take a chance. … We are saving him for the two relays and the open 100. He wants to try to get back to where he was the first of May. He is trying to go after the state record in the open 100. That is what he is shooting for.”
Campbell ran the 100 in 10.47 seconds at the Optimist Meet in early May at Austintown Fitch, but clocked an 11.05 at the regional meet.
“Overall, I am definitely pleased with my team,” Campbell said. “We get to go down to Columbus again and show what we can do. Individually though, I am kind of disappointed in myself just because I really didn’t have the performance that I thought I would. In the 100 I ran an 11. I haven’t ran an 11 in two years so that is really disappointing. I can only bounce back from this and be ready for state.”
Campbell said his hamstring is bothering him. He acknowledged that he is “not as fresh” after competing for the Irish in football and basketball prior to the track and field season, but said “I don’t want to make excuses.”
Streetsboro freshman Dakari Carter is going to be busy this weekend in his state meet debut as he qualified in four events.
Carter’s speed will be on display in the 100, 800 relay, 400 relay and 200. He won regional titles Saturday at Fitch in the 100 at 10.96 and in the 200 in 21.97.
Streetsboro has six boys and two girls entered in the state meet.
“My teammates work hard in practice,” Carter said. “I feel like we have a great program for our boys sprint team and our girls sprint team is good. We have some nice distance runners and throwers. We have a pretty good team.”
Fennell is state-bound
Northwest senior Meredith Fennell is heading to the state meet confident following regional victories in the 100 hurdles, 400 relay and long jump Saturday.
Fennell will join junior Clara Beadle, senior Amanda Crites and Kaitlyn Thompson in the relay event.
“We have been the same team since my sophomore year so we have had three years together,” Fennell said. “We are so happy that we finally made it to state.
“I hope to bring it all to state and improve upon what I did [Saturday]. Hopefully, I can continue on and do my best at the state meet.”
Simmons vaults to top
Fairless senior Allyson Simmons cleared 13 feet, 1¼ inches in the pole vault at the regional meet Saturday to place first and set a state record.
She is looking for more in Columbus this weekend, including a second consecutive state title.
“My goals are to hopefully to repeat what I did [Saturday] or even go higher and break the stadium record,” Simmons said. “It will be fun. I look at it as jumping at my next year’s home because I am going to Ohio State and that will be my home field next year.”
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy junior Ryan Adams will enter the state meet with some clear-cut goals in his individual events.
“I want to hit a sub 1:52 [in the 800],” he said. “Actually my older brother’s school record still stands. This was a few years ago. My brother Brad Adams was state runner-up with a 1:52.2, so I am just a little bit off of that. I would like to hit that this year and hopefully break that. A 1:51 would definitely do it and I would love to see that.
“Then for the 1,600 I really want to go for the win. By now I am happy with having hit a 4:16 [at the district meet]. I know that if I am in a race like [state] with a bunch of people who can kick my butt, I can probably be pushed to a very fast time.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.