COLUMBUS: Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy turned in a strong performance and stood up to St. Vincent St. Mary in what’s turned into a friendly rivalry, as the Royals secured one state title and both schools set themselves up for more success at the Division II state track meet Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Irish, who dominated last year’s state track meet, won the first race between the two in a photo finish before the Royals set themselves up for the rest of the day with a victory in the boys 3,200-meter relay.
St. V-M senior Marissa Rossetti and CVCA sophomore Sammy Bockoven set the stage for the showdown in the first race of the day in the girls 3,200-meter relay (the 3,200 relays were the only running finals contested on Friday). Bockoven overtook Rossetti for second place in the final 50 meters, only to have Rossetti catch up at the last possible moment to finish in second by five one-hundredths of a second.
“At regionals, they [CVCA] beat us, so we wanted to make sure we at least came out and challenged them today,” Rossetti said. “They’re a really good team. They ran a great race and we thought they’d be contending to win. It’s a good race and a good competition.”
The CVCA boys then followed by winning an event that St. V-M had won just a year ago. The team of junior Noah LeBay, senior Benny Schwarz, senior Sherman Kortze and sophomore Ryan Adams held off the field with a time of 7:48.88.
Before Adams, the relay’s anchor, took off for the final leg, LeBay screamed a reminder of what he’s done and that he could hold everyone off. Adams proved LeBay right.
“Two hundred meters to go, I tried to go all out for the rest of it and I was feeling it down the stretch,” Adams said. “It hurt so much but I was thinking I’m already hurting, might as well hurt some more and get the team a win.”
Several CVCA runners said that win propelled them for all the events (preliminary events that took the top nine times to the finals, to be held today) that followed, namely the girls 1,600 relay. CVCA’s team of Bockoven, senior Katie Hess, senior Mallory Myers and sophomore Autumn Young took second, running a time of 4:00.06, but finished two spots ahead of St. V-M, who won that event last season.
“Our guys team and our girls team, we don’t think of it like that [separate teams],” Hess said. “We’re just one great team. When one has success, we celebrate together.”
Hess admitted that beating St. V-M made the victory slightly sweeter. But the rivalry is as rivalries should be: forged with competition and respect.
“I think we all agree that it does [feel a little better], but we’ve always had a friendly rivalry with them, all the girls are really nice and it’s great to have a team we can talk to and be friendly with, and still have a good competition,” she said.
For the CVCA girls, Young qualified for two more events, finishing sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.21 seconds and seventh in the 200-meter dash at 25.53.
For the boys, Kortze placed third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.73 seconds, junior Evan Carroscia’s time of 39.14 seconds was good enough for fifth in the 300-meter hurdles and the 1,600 relay team placed fifth with a time of 3:24.19.
Kortze had his individual event to worry about, but already having a state championship in the bag would have been enough.
“Even if I hadn’t done anything to qualify, I’d still be happy,” he said. “I felt great up through that [3,200 relay]. Usually I’m nervous, [but I] wasn’t at all today. I just felt so good.”
St. V-M actually qualified for the state finals in more events, but its fastest sprinter, junior Parris Campbell, had to pull out of one of his best races.
Campbell led the 800 relay of junior Jordan Sensabaugh, junior Jarel Wooldridge and senior Fransohn Bickley to the top preliminary time of 1:27.70. He was the anchor of the 400 relay team that placed second with a time of 42.83 seconds and as an individual, ran the second-best time in the 100-meter dash at 10.77 seconds. But as he crossed the finish line in the 800 relay, his second race without much of a rest, Campbell came up limping.
St. V-M coach Dan Lancianese said that Campbell’s been working with what he calls a growth plate issue in his right knee that’s flared up at times recently, and that he wasn’t worried about it after there wasn’t much swelling. As a precaution, Campbell was pulled out of the 200-meter dash to rest.
Lancianese and Campbell’s mother, Shelly Woodruff, each said Campbell is good to go after talking with the medical staff on site. He will run in the finals today, most likely with a brace.
On the girls side, senior Chelsea Laury will be partaking in four events today, three on the track and the long jump. All of her track events placed fourth on Friday — the 800 relay, the 1,600 relay and the 400-meter dash. Laury said she wasn’t feeling her best during the day and should be better for today. She also drew the third lane in the 400, a favorable slot that she says allows her to best see the field.
St. V-M junior Imani Davis qualified as well, running the third-best time in the 200-meter dash at 24.98 seconds. Junior Travonte Junius finished second in the boys long jump finals with a best mark of 21-11¼ inches.
“The big surprise was Junius in the long jump,” Lancianese said. “That’s a huge accomplishment for a guy with virtually no experience. We don’t have a long jump track or pit, so we do it all at meets. That’s just natural talent.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.