Mike Dyer reports:
The smiles said it all.
The Mason girls’ 4×800 relay won the Division I state title in 9:11.06 late Friday afternoon at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The four relay members – seniors Lauren Wood and Olivia Gaus and sophomores Delaney McDowell and Erin Brush – were exuberant after winning the state title and stood proudly on the podium representing the Comets.
Mason, which won the regional title in the event, focused on getting a medal and hence there was minimal pressure entering Friday, according to Mason coach Tony Affatato.
“Oh wow, oh man,” said a joyful Affatato as he walked around the other side of the stadium to greet the relay team.
Coaches hugged and families posed for photos during the Mason celebration.
The title was Mason’s third in the 4×800 since 2004. The Comets also won in 2006 and 2011. Gaus was a sophomore for the 2011 squad. She couldn’t find a better way to help complete her high school career with another state title. “It is so surreal,” Gaus said.
Affatato said all four ran their best time of the spring all at the same time.
“So Delaney’s job was to get us out in front and try to put us in the top four, Lauren’s job was to go make up any distance that was there and Erin’s job was to keep us in it and give Olivia the best chance she could,” Affatato said. “That was really our goal – let’s try to come here and win a medal. …It kind of all fell together for us and it doesn’t happen like that in sports all the time.”
Kelly Affatato, Mason associate head coach for distance, said all the effort and dedication exhibited significant character.
“I watch them with a lot of pride; they are great people,” Kelly Affatato said. “…I am so proud of them not just as runners but as young ladies.”
McAuley was third in the 4×800 relay at 9:20.10 as the team included senior Jordyn Thiery, junior Kate Olding, sophomore McKenzie Pfeifer and freshman Sydney Kreimer.
Ursuline was sixth (9:23.99) and St. Ursula was eighth (9:26.95).
In the 4×200 relay, Withrow had the top qualifying time at 1:41.88 with seniors Ayanna Moseley and Xasha Cohen along with junior Arbria Williams and sophomore Jaliyah Moses. The 4×100 relay also had the top qualifying time (48.40) with Moseley, Moses, Williams and junior Adriana Williams.
In Division II, Indian Hill senior Christine Canning was the state runner-up in the high jump.
Canning was among the first area athletes to compete early Friday morning. She was tied and competed in a jump-off with Celina junior Michaela Wenning.
Canning said it was the first time in her career she competed in a jump-off. Canning’s highest jump was 5 feet 4 which was also her qualifying height.
“It’s always tough coming in second but you have to be proud of the accomplishment,” said Canning, who is committed to California-Berkeley.
New Richmond junior Hannah Hall was eighth.
Fenwick junior Jenni Rossi was 13th in the Division II discus event.
In the Division II 4×800 relay, Summit Country Day was 15th at 10:03.20.
The Shroder 4×100 relay had the best qualifying time for Saturday afternoon at 49.17. That relay consists of senior Toni Harkness, sophomores Shacoray Lackey and Dionna Williams and senior Alyssa Brown.
In Division III, Manchester sophomore Tess Burns tied for fifth in the high jump.
On Saturday, the girls’ competition resumes with the Division II long jump, shot put and pole vault at 9 a.m.
Check Cincinnati.com for further highlights and more details on those who advanced to Saturday’s finals.
Among other highlights Friday:
- Shroder sophomore Dionna Williams qualified for the 100 dash in Division II.
Williams is also part of the 4×200 relay which qualified for Saturday afternoon’s finals. The other members of the relay include senior Toni Harkness and sophomores Iyanuoluwa Alade and Shacoray Lackey.
- The Shroder 4×100 had the best qualifying time for Saturday afternoon at 49.17. That relay consists of Harkness, Lackey, Williams and senior Alyssa Brown.
- Finneytown junior Shyla Cummings qualified for Saturday afternoon’s 200 dash.
- New Richmond junior Olivia Behymer qualified in the 400 dash.
- In Division III, North College Hill sophomore Jazmin Smith qualified to Saturday’s finals in the 100 hurdles. She had a qualifying time of 15.47 Friday. Smith is also part of the qualifying 4×200 relay which will compete in the finals at 9:55 a.m. Saturday. Senior Monique Kannler, sophomore Quanee’ Wright and freshman Diamond Johnson are also on that relay team for NCH.
- Cincinnati Country Day’s 4×100 relay also qualified to Saturday’s finals. That team is made up of juniors Sydney Menifee and Shelley Menifee along with sophomore Kaitlin Harden and freshman Haven Watson.
- Mason junior Jordan Horning qualified for the Division I 100 hurdles (14.99) right after the 4×800 relay won state.
- Lakota East junior Autumn Heath had the second-fastest qualifying time in the Division I 100 dash (11.75).
- Sycamore’s 4×400 relay qualified to Saturday. Seniors Anna Bailes, Allison Klonne, Sydney Larkin and Bianca Rhodenbaugh qualified in 3:54.91.
- In addition to Withrow’s top qualifying time of 1:41.88, Mason qualified for Saturday afternoon’s 4×200 relay.
- In addition to Withrow’s top qualifying time of 48.40 in the 4×100 relay, Walnut Hills qualified to Saturday.
- Withrow senior Xasha Cohen had the third-fastest time in the 300 hurdles (44.36). Mason junior Jordan Horning also qualified.
- Three area qualifiers in the Division I 200 dash including Lakota East junior Autumn Heath, Princeton senior Samia Bell and Mount Healthy sophomore Shaqualia Gutter.
- Indian Hill coach Susan Savage said Christine Canning handled the adversity and persevered through very cool temperatures. At 8:51 a.m. it was 58 degrees and it was 60 by 9:51 a.m. “I think she handled things really well,” Savage said. “I think she did outstanding.”