COLUMBUS — Two Summit County teams finished in the top three in Division II at the state track and field meet Saturday at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, paced by senior Tre Tucker, scored 42 points to finish Division II boys runner-up behind champion Shelby, which had 57 points. Meanwhile, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s 28 points were enough to tie for second place in the girls division.
Tucker outdid his prolific performance at last year’s state meet by winning three individual events this weekend — the long jump on Friday, and the 100 meters (10.90) and the 200 meters (21.66) on Saturday — and by anchoring the second-place 400 relay team. The 200 was the race that got away from Tucker a year ago, but he avenged a loss to Perkins’ Simeon Hunter, who fell from second to fifth, and last year's winner, Warrensville’s Jarquez Cornell, who graduated.
“[The 200 is] the last event, [and] it’s always hot because we’re in the middle of the day, so I trained properly,” Tucker said. “I got down here last year and finished third, so that really set my mindset on, ‘Work on my 200, work on my 200.’ ”
Tucker’s victory in his final event of the day capped a nearly unblemished state meet appearance. The Royals’ 400 relay team of Tucker, senior Jay Patsch and juniors Shane Douglas and Justin Luiza finished second to Dunbar in 42.21.
“It’s awesome being able to lead a team, but those guys push me just as much as I push them,” Tucker said of his teammates. “They kick my butt actually, and the thanks is to them because all the hard work I put in with them shows.”
Luck of the Irish
Although the St. Vincent-St. Mary girls didn’t win any events, only Indian Hill (43) outscored the Irish, who had two second-place finishes and consistent appearances in the final heats. St. V-M tied Oakwood with 28 points.
The 3,200 relay team of sophomores Theresa Hagey and Emily Bame, junior Natalie Tobin and senior Nina Zraik finished runner-up in 9:26.13 on Friday. Freshman Kya Epps may have highlighted the team’s performance Saturday when she placed second in the 200 meters (24.56) behind only Beechcroft’s senior Makiya Montgomery, who was second in 2018.
Epps said she knew Montgomery finished high in the event last year, and she knew the event also returned Ravenna’s Azsah Bradley, who finished third in 2018 and fifth this year. But Epps said she blocked out the pressure of facing some of the event’s best competitors and simply focused on doing what she’s done all season.
“I just can’t believe I made it here, and I’m just so excited to be here,” Epps said. “I didn’t know what to expect out here, but I did my best. I didn’t want to psych myself out.”
The Irish also earned points from Epps’ fourth-place finish in the 100 (12.33), junior Aminah Claxton’s fifth-place spot in the 400 (57.88) and sophomore Theresa Hagey’s 5:04.67 run in the 1,600, good enough for sixth.
Tigers relay repeat
In Division I, Twinsburg’s girls team finished fifth with 29 points and the Tigers defended their 2018 title in the 800 relay, as seniors Mariah Myles, Nya Bussey and Nia Robinson and junior Alyssa Willis finished first in 1:37.77.
Robinson admitted some slight disappointment as the unit was gunning for the state meet record of 1:37.02 set by Reynoldsburg in 2009. Still, she said, it was an honor to maintain their state championship status.
“I’m happy with our place and I’m happy with my relay teammates for doing their part in the relay,” Robinson said. “I felt I finished on a really good note. We made it a goal to strive for excellence — that was a main goal throughout the season — so when we have such high goals, every little win is a step toward that goal.”
Robinson finished second in the 400 (55.02), and Bussey was third in the 200 (24.39) and fourth in the 100 (12.22).
Around the track
• Twinsburg’s boys didn’t have a bad showing, either, particularly in the field events. Senior Etaijen “ET” Easter placed fourth in the high jump (6-9) and fifth in the long jump (23-5¼), and senior Brad Yates finished fifth in pole vault (15-2).
• In Division I, Brecksville’s Tanner Watson was runner-up in the boys discus with a throw of 188-8 toss, and Medina’s 1,600 relay team of Michael and Chris Kelly, Jack Hutz and Harry Custer was third in 3:18.53.
• On the girls side in Division I, Hudson’s junior Molly Stecker finished second in the high jump (5-8), Highland’s Kaylie Kenne was runner-up in the 3,200 (10:34.31) and Medina’s 1,600 relay team of Katie Smith, Rachel Smith, Angela Dobson and Juliette Keller was fourth (3:55.92).
• In Division II, the Buchtel girls fell to fourth place after a runner-up finish a year ago. The Griffins repeated as champions in the 800 relay in 1:41.34 with seniors Dyamond Myers, London Green and Rayannah Torrence and sophomore Nevaeh Lewis, who returned from an injury. The Griffins’ 400 relay (48.48) of Lewis, Green, Myers and junior Drew Oliver and the 1,600 relay (3:56.67) of Myers, Torrence, senior Dana Beasley and freshman DaMya Barker both finished second.
• Also in Division II, Woodridge freshman Izzy Best was fourth in the girls 800 (2:14.48), Tallmadge senior Lauren Moses finished fourth in girls pole vault (11-10) and Ravenna’s Bradley was third in the 100 (12.22).
• In the Division II boys competition, Coventry junior Damian Jackson was third in the 110 hurdles (14.67) and St. V-M senior Matthew Sollenberger was fourth in the 1,600 (4:20.29). Buchtel’s 800 relay of Martavien Johnson, Robert Jones, Andrew Powers and Marquell Cook finished fourth (1:29.54), and Woodridge’s 3,200 relay of Caden Hibbs, Micah Blair, Brayden Whited and Ryan Kiley placed fourth (8:00.26).