Oak Harbor's Athena Eli poses with her 3 medals earned at the Division II State Track Meet.
One of the most memorable seasons in Oak Harbor sports history ended in fantastic fashion with three relay teams placing at the Division II State Track & Field Meet on Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium at The Ohio State University.
The 4x400, 4x100 & 4x200 meter relays finished fourth, sixth and eighth, respectively. The 4x400 came in at 3 minutes, 58.67 seconds, clinching the fourth spot when Allie Jett rallied to pass Autumn Young of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy just before the finish line. Athena Eli led things off before passing the baton to Cydney St. Clair, who had the team in first place when she handed it off to Karis DeWalt.
The 4x100, which consisted of Jett, Rebekah Rayburn, St. Clair and Eli, finished in 49.81, just 0.11 short of the school record, and the 4x200 team of Jett, Rayburn, DeWalt and Eli came in at 1:44.46. (The school record for the 4x200 was broken at the regional meet in 1:44.28.)
Jordyn Dunn finished 14th in the discus with a throw of 114 feet, 7 inches, a personal record. Port Clinton's Morrisa Mallory, who was the regional champion, finished in 15th place with a throw of 104-06.
As a team, the Rockets finished in 30th place with nine points.
"I was extremely happy with what they did," Oak Harbor head coach John McKitrick said. "They probably accomplished more than what we set out for. They set themselves up nicely in the finals, they had decent lanes going into the finals. Once there, they had to make it happen, and they did that.”
"The kids competed, and that's all you can ask for. Their mindset was right. We didn't have that same enthusiasm last year. I think last year they wanted to do well, and this year they were determined to do well, and that's a big difference. Last year, we let the race dictate to us what was going to happen. This year, we were going to dictate the race, and that's what happened."
It was a special experience for St. Clair, the lone senior, who got to finish her career off on a high note.
"Coach told us exactly what we needed to do going into the race," St. Clair said. "The whole time I was thinking about my team and what we needed to get done, and to exceed our expectations, and we all did our part and I could not be more thankful for what everyone has done. When I got to the last 100, I thought, 'This is the last time I'll be running this and I need to give it my all and to not give up.' I was very determined going into that last 100.”
"Just where we've come and how far we've come along, it's awesome. I wanted to win it for my teammates so badly. Sharing it with other people and knowing that we pushed each other to this point is important. I believe it's the most important thing."
It was redemption Jett, DeWalt and Eli, all of whom got to the state meet last year as part of relays but were unable to advance to the final.
"Last year, we came to state, and I guess our reward was just being at state," Jett said. "It didn't go very well last year, so this year, we wanted to fix it, and go further and do better. We wanted to place at state and get on the podium. If we place at state, we get our picture on the wall (at the gym), and that was one of my major goals. I think this was a pretty big achievement."