By MARK HEIMAN
COLUMBUS – Bonnie Stratton looked nice and cool early Friday morning. The Bluffton sprinter was taking laps at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium dressed in a black warm-up suit while the sun was beating down and the humidity and temperature were climbing.
But by the end of the day, after she had qualified for Saturday’s finals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchored Bluffton’s 400 and 800 relays, the junior was hurting.
“We made it in all four events. That’s what we wanted,” a worn-out Stratton said after running in the 200, which she won last year.
The top four finishers in each heat and the top eight relay teams in Friday’s preliminaries advance to Saturday’s finals, which get under way at 9:30 a.m.
While Stratton was running to qualify, Ottoville’s girls picked up a sixth-place in the 3,200 relay, the lone track event to be finalized Friday.
Freshman Shayla Siefker got the baton for the final two laps sitting in eighth place. She held her position over her first 400 and then ran hard in the final 300 meters to catch Bellaire St. John’s Kelly Perzanowski to finish sixth in 9:48.70.
“Everyone said to come down and have fun, but our mission was to get on the podium,” said Siefker, who will run in the 1,600 finals Saturday.
The placing wasn’t exactly where the Big Green team of Molly Maag, Kari Beining, Melissa Turnwald and Siefker was hoping to finish. “We thought we might get second, but then we saw the other teams out there and we said let’s just get on the podium,” Siefker said.
With temperatures hovering in the upper 80s, the 3,200 relay was run in the worst conditions of the season. “It was a normal practice week, but coach had us drinking a lot of water,” Siefker said. “He gave us water on the way down and in the hotel.”
Stratton had plans to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest Friday. She had the fastest time in 100 (12.51 seconds) and 200 (25.64) qualifying.
Bluffton’s team of Kendra Bassitt, Lindsay Bassitt, Kelsey Goldenetz and Stratton were third fastest in the 800 relay (1:44.19) and sixth in the 400 relay (50.19). “I was disappointed that I didn’t push harder in the 4x2, but we have all of tomorrow to work harder and improve our times,” Stratton said. “I was really tired after the 200.”
Stratton will be joined in the 100 and 200 finals by Elmwood’s Katie Reiser. Reiser was third in her heats of the 100 (12.91) and 200 (26.38).
Riverdale’s Kayla Brown, last year’s state runner-up in the 300 hurdles, advanced in her specialty by winning her heat in 46.16 seconds, which is fourth fastest overall.
Brown also anchored the Falcons’ 1,600 relay team of Shaye Eatherton, Kylie Brown and Vanessa Stewart into Saturday’s finals. The Falcons ran a 4:06.27 for third in their heat and fifth overall. They’ll be joined in the race by the Columbus Grove quartet of Paige Heffner, Ella Diller, Grace Needler and Jaimie Lewis, which ran a 4:03.64 for second in their heat and overall.
Columbus Grove’s Selhorst, Heffner, Diller and Lewis also moved on in the 800 relay by finishing third in their heat (1:46.07). Arlington’s team of Lauren Pepple, Taylor Beck, Hannah Kimmel and Jasmine Foster also reached the 800 relay finals with a time of 1:46.25.
OTHER AREA RESULTS
(PLACE IS BASED ON HEAT)
100 HURDLES – 7, Paige Vaupel (L-B) 16.16; 5, Jaunna Gase (FSW) 15.85. 800 RELAY – 6, Liberty-Benton (Andrea Bellman, Adrienne Ford, Vaupel, Angie Rettig) 1:48.16. 400 RELAY – 5, Columbus Grove (Selhorst, Diller, Grace Needler, Heffner) 50.73; 6, Arlington (Maci Bower, Pepple, Morgan Heacock, Foster) 50.79. 400 – 7, Taylor Bidlack (Cont) 1:01.18. 300 HURDLES – 5, Gase (FSW) 47.48. 1,600 RELAY – 6, Ottoville (Beining, Maag, Holly Heitmeyer, Siefker) 4:11.32.
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