December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain’s Jocelynn Rogers ready for regionals after rare sprint double, 4 titles at districts

Jocelynn Rogers is a rare high school track athlete who accomplished a rare feat Friday night at the Amherst Division I district.

The Lorain High junior captured the 100- and 200-meter sprint double, taking the 100 in 12.51 seconds and the 200 in 25.95. Rogers is the first Lorain girl to accomplish the double since Admiral King’s Stephanie McMiller at the 1980 Elyria Class AAA sectional.

But Rogers in the open sprints was only half the story. She had four wins on the evening as she helped the Titans take of care of business in the sprint relays.

Simply put, Rogers has some serious wheels.

She teamed with senior Tierra Goodman and juniors Andresja De’Armas and Lamia Scott for the 400-meter relay that Lorain captured for the fourth straight year, in 49.99. Rogers, Goodman, De’Armas and Scott also won the 800 relay (1:45.01), setting a district record (1:42.17) in the prelims.

“I love winning,” Rogers said. “It feels refreshing. That was the reward. That was just icing on the cake for me and our team.”

As outstanding as Rogers’ district performance was, it was only step No. 1. Regionals are next, starting Wednesday and continuing Friday. The competition will be ramped up.

“Jocelynn has really matured this season,” Lorain coach Donovan Wilson said. “Her work ethic has grown tremendously. She has so much confidence, which is warranted. She has put in the work. She has become a leader. Her maturity level has grown leaps and bounds.”

Rogers had two great role models the past two years in teammates Melody Farris and Alicia Arnold, who graduated last year. Farris was All-Ohio eight times and Arnold six.

“We just need to go out there and handle our business,” Rogers said. “That should get us to be in first place. If we handle our business, things will come for us. We’re going to try our hardest to win regionals.”

Last year, Lorain won the Amherst regional and went on to finish second in the state with 34 points to four-time defending champ Reynoldsburg (56).

Rogers was a member of the 400-meter relay that finished second at state in a Lorain County-record 46.63. It crushed the 2003 mark of 47.19 set by Elyria.

Reynoldsburg’s state-record performance in the 400 relay was the only thing that stopped Lorain from a title. The Raiders clocked 45.99 as they broke the 2009 record of 46.53 set by Cincinnati Withrow.

Rogers was also All-Ohio (top eight) as a member of the eighth-place 1,600 relay (4:00.88) and a regional qualifier in the 200.

“Jocelynn loves track,” Wilson said. “She really pays attention to all the small details at practice when she’s being coached up. She pays attention about coming out of the blocks the right way, being in her drive phase, hand placement. All those little things she pays a lot of attention to now.”

Rogers, who moved to Lorain in the seventh grade from North Carolina, began her late-season run at the Lake League meet May 15 at Bedford. She won the 100 (11.96) and 200 (25.95) and was a member of the second-place 800 (1:43.41) and 400 (49.81) relays.

The Lorain girls finished fourth at the Amherst district with 59 points. Last year, Lorain was second to Medina, 103-84.

“I’m more focused and dedicated, plus my attitude is much improved over last year,” Rogers said. “I’m very focused on winning. One of my coaches, assistant (Tabitha) Brown, has really helped me out. We had a long talk about being focused because I can be easily distracted. She really influenced me about being positive at all times because I worry a lot. I look up to her.”

Last year’s state finish was a city record by a Lorain high school track team. The Lorain High boys finished third in 1915.

“All of our hearts are into winning and being a family,” Rogers said. “We just all work together to try harder. I have my partner in crime, ‘Tink’ (De’Armas). I’ve felt very confident since the beginning of the season, no matter what the challenge or who we have in our lineup. I feel very proud that we can all carry that legacy together.”

“We all know it’s a process,” Wilson said. “Jocelynn understands. We’re not done with our goal yet. We’re all happy and excited with how things have gone so far, but we’re not satisfied. The girls all understand that.

“We’re just trying to stay even-keel, keep our nose to the ground and try to reach our goal. They’re trying to make history, like the girls before them. The good news is they all have the experience. Hopefully, they can make things happen.”

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.