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It was a banner day for the Minerva relay teams this past Saturday at the Division II regional track meet at Athens High School.
Three squads competed in the finals, and those same three foursomes qualified to Columbus.
With the top four moving on to state, the 4x200 was the first to hit the track. And the foursome of Emmalee Markins, Amanda Kukunis, Ava Burman and Alyssa Markins set the tone for the Lady Lions as they finished second with a school-record time of 1:45.37.
Minutes later, it was the 4x100's turn. And they did not disappoint, breaking the school record as the foursome of A. Markins, Ashley Gulling, E. Markins and Amanda Kukunis placed second in 49.96.
With darkness approaching, the 4x400 consisting of Burman, Sarah Carver, Skylar Trussel and Kukunis made it 3-for-3 as it finished third in 4:06.72.
Two days earlier, the 4x800 consisting of Mack Scott, Burman, Carver and Nelle Yankovich missed qualifying to Columbus by one spot and 1.06 seconds. The girls ran a personal-best 9:42.47 to place fifth.
"I am beyond excited for our three relay teams that qualified to state," stated Coach Olivia Scott. "These ladies busted out huge personal records to punch their tickets to Jesse Owens.
"Our 4x100 broke the school record, and our 4x200 broke their own record once again. Our handoffs are still not perfect. We will continue all week to get these to where they need to be. We are looking to make the podium in all three events. With the determination these ladies have, I foresee that happening.
"We were within one second of having all four relay teams at state. The 4x800 was in fourth the last lap and was outstepped at the finish line. It was a heartbreaking end for the girls. Luckily, all four will be returning next year.
Also finishing fifth were Yankovich in the 800 (2:22.09) and E. Markins in the 200 (26.1).
Scott was sixth in the 3200 (11.50.69), and Jenna Daulbaugh was seventh in the 3200 (12:13.34).
"Mackenzie and Jenna made the podium in the 3200, and Nelle was fifth in the 800," commented Coach Scott. "We knew it was going to be tough for any of them to get out with the strong senior class in our region. Look for those ladies to be at the top of some podiums next year."
Carrollton won the girls title with 70 points. Rounding out the top ten are Indian Creek with 40, Minerva with 39, Indian Valley with 36, Steubenville with 34, Cambridge with 33, WCH Washington with 31, East Liverpool with 26, Fairfield Union with 25, and McClain with 24.
"We finished third overall, missing second by one point," noted Coach Scott. "That is a huge sign of what is to come for next year, since we are such a young team. We are only losing one senior from our entire team."
The 2017 State Track and Field Championships are Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.
The Division II prelims will take place on Friday.
The 4x200 will compete at 2:30 p.m., the 4x100 at 2:50 p.m., and the 4x400 at 4 p.m.
The top two teams in both heats and the next five best times will move on to the finals on Saturday afternoon.
Seven-tenths of a second separated Jason Williams from the state championships.
Competing in the 200 at regionals, Williams placed fifth with a time of 23.25, one spot shy of Columbus.
The 4x400 consisting of Carl Fritz, Wyatt Kohl, Coy Mullins and Williams reached the finals, finishing sixth with a time of 3:31.35.