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.”