The Oak Harbor 4x400 relay team celebrates its victory at the Division II Regional Track Meet in Lexington. From left, Karis DeWalt, Cydney St. Clair, Athena Eli & Allie Jett. Photo by Rebecca Eli.
A tremendously successful season for the Oak Harbor Rockets only got better when the team finished third at the Division II Regional Track & Field Meet at Lexington High School on Saturday.
In a testament to their immense depth, the girls track team saw six athletes qualify for the state meet in Columbus this week. The 4x400 relay team of Karis DeWalt, Cydney St. Clair, Athena Eli and Allie Jett finished first in 4 minutes, 0.91 seconds, setting a school record. Jett, DeWalt, Eli and Rebekah Rayburn finished second as part of the 4x200 squad in 1:44.28, also a school record, and the 4x100 team of Jett, Rayburn, St. Clair and Eli were fourth (50.22), coming in just ahead of Heath (50.29) for the final qualifying spot as Eli outlasted Claudia Allen.
Junior Jordyn Dunn was the lone individual to qualify, doing so with a throw of 114 feet in the discus. Dunn, a regional qualifier last season, qualified on her sixth and final throw. Alexa Weis was eighth in the 300 hurdles (48.08), senior Trinity Gephart was ninth in the 3200 (12:09.25), Ally Bloomer came in ninth in the high hump (4-10) and Raybun was 15th in the long jump (14-6.5).
On the boys side, Cody Pfeiffer and Cole Weirich both finished just short of getting state, coming in sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 110 hurdles (15.51) and the 100 (11.55). Tyler Sievert, who was battling the flu, came in seventh in the 1600 (4:36.03) and 15th in the 800 (2:14.25).
Head coach John McKitrick talked about the performance of his squad, specifically his relay teams.
"We have three relays going to state," McKitrick said. We're probably one of the only teams in the state that has three relays going. They've sacrificed for the good of the team. These girls compete together, and they win together. We took 19 girls to the league meet, and I think 17 girls scored. We talk about how everyone contributes in those victories; it has become a team environment. There's not a lot of finger pointing or bickering. I'm real proud of these girls. They've done everything I've ever asked of them. They don't argue; they know the coaching staff is there to help them.”
"It's amazing when you're little, and Oak Harbor is little, and you don't know you're little, and you start thinking big. And that's what these girls are doing, they're starting to think big. They don't realize they're a small Div. II school competing against bigger schools. When little people starting thinking big, that's a good sign.”
McKitrick is especially proud of St. Clair, who has come a long way in the last year to get to this point.
"Cydney had a good year as a sophomore, and then she regressed," McKitrick said. "Before this year, she was never a regional qualifier. You would have never thought of her as a regional qualifier. She worked hard (in the offseason) — she showed up at morning weightlifting. She switched positions, and went to hurdles and the sprints. You could see that her speed was better (early on), but you're wondering if it was going to be good enough. She kept getting better, and once she gained the confidence down and seeing that she could be a sprinter, it changed everything.”
"Her attitude has been wonderful. She's going to be role model for next year's team. For anyone that fell short of their goals, and wants to change an event, they can look to her. You get in the weight room, you work hard, you don't take a day off, and that's Cydney St. Clair. It's so nice to see her going out on a high note."