BEDFORD — Tradition trumped odds as the Vermilion girls qualified their 800-meter relay to the state meet for the third straight year. The Sailors rang up a second-place finish for the event at Saturday’s Division II, Region 5 track and field championships.
Vermilion was only half of the show.
Keystone hadn’t qualified a relay to state since the 1,600 in 1989, a hurdler to state since Jodi Reimer in 1994 or a sprinter to state ever for the 200 meters. That all changed. The Wildcats had an answer for all three of the categories.
Vermilion was only the No. 6 seed (1:45.74) for the 800 relay after Thursday’s semis, but junior Abbey Bodeker (26.30), senior AuBree LaForce (27.37), senior Mallory Morris (24.96) and junior Hannah Bartlome (24.93) found a way to chop almost two seconds off with a time of 1:43.80. Only Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary was faster (1:43.12).
“That was really unexpected,” Bartlome said. “I thought we were going to get third or fourth. I really didn’t expect to get second and be that close to first place.”
The Vermilion girls dodged potential disaster on the second exchange. LaForce dived as she passed the baton to Morris, who appeared to take off a little early.
“Typically I’ll tell Mallory to slow down if I don’t think I can make the handoff,” LaForce said. “But I knew if the word ‘slow’ came out of my mouth, we weren’t going to state. No one thought we would be here (headed to state), but we did it.”
Morris set the table perfectly for Bartlome’s anchor. Her strong third leg put Vermilion in second place to stay.
“We’re excited to be here, and to be able to achieve it without an anchor like Emily Cunningham is a great accomplishment,” Morris said of her former teammate, who graduated last year.
LaForce, Morris and Bartlome teamed with freshman Annie Rossi for a sixth in the 400-meter relay, which had a season-best mark (49.28) but came up short of making it to state (top four). All eight teams in the 400 relay final ran under 50 seconds.
“The 800 relay was just great all the way around,” Vermilion coach Kristy Edmison said. “Hannah’s anchor had so much strength and power coming off that turn. She took it on home for us.
“We hadn’t seen all of them for the 800 relay run the best that they could until today. Each leg was just perfect. Even in the 400 relay, each leg was perfect. It’s a tough field. Whatever four qualified is a pretty sure bet to be All-Ohio (top eight).”
The Keystone girls 400-meter relay set the tone for the remainder of the meet. Senior Brittany Gates, senior Nikki Tuttle, junior Jenna Quillen and junior Emily Peters captured the fourth and final state ticket in a school-record 48.95 — its fourth record-breaking outing of the season.
The Wildcats’ performance propelled Quillen to third in the 300-meter hurdles (46.80) and another state berth.
“The strength and endurance that’s been built up carried us this far,” Quillen said. “Things weren’t perfect (in the 300 hurdles), but it was good enough. The relay was a confidence-booster for sure.
“Our (relay) team made it and my teammates were all there for me for my race. Making it for the relay was special. We all trusted each other, trusted our marks and put our hearts into it. That’s why we came through.”
Peters chalked up a third place in the 200-meter dash (25.96) for Keystone’s third berth. It was sweet vindication for Peters, who was fifth last year and missed a state ticket by 0.11.
“I had to have a great start,” she said. “I ate up the curve. I had to get out in front of as many people as I could before hitting the straightaway. But I knew I still needed to stay loose and relaxed. I knew that if I tightened up that would be it.
“Obviously, I was thrilled with what happened earlier in the relay. We PR’d on Thursday and then again today so we’re very excited about it. I wanted to use that to motivate me to make it in this race, too.”
Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer was obviously pleased.
“It was a pretty good half-hour for us,” he said. “I kept saying the 400 relay is going to kind of make or break our day. Obviously, you want to get as many people to state as you can, so relays are special. After that, I was feeling very good. Obviously, I’m a little biased but I told them before the race that they’re the greatest girls relay that Keystone has ever seen. I’m fairly certain they are.
“I knew Jenna had a great shot in the 300s even if she didn’t run very well. I told her that even if you mess up a couple hurdles, you can do that and still qualify. Emily is so focused and works so hard. She was hungry after taking fifth last year. Both of the two girls are very deserving.”
The performance by the 400 relay made up for a tough day for Gates in long jump. The defending regional winner and two-time state qualifier finished eighth (16-11) — 4 inches from the final qualifying berth.
“We knew that if we didn’t run our best that we weren’t moving on,” she said about the 400 relay. “I think we wanted this more than anything. We came in, we knew what we had to do. We just had to do it.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
1. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 81; 2. CVCA, 54; 3. Triway, 41; 4. Canton South, 31; 5. Orrville, 30; 6. Streetsboro, 28; 7. tie — Keystone and Orange, 27; 9. Poland Seminary, 25; 10. Crestwood, 23; 11. tie — Vermilion and Lake Catholic, 21
Top 4 finishers advance to state meet at Ohio State, Friday and Saturday
100 meters: 1. Alexandra Carnathan (Ursuline), 12.50; 2. Autumn Young (CVCA), 12.50; 3. Taylor Tompkins (Canton South), 12.65; 4. Brianna Johnson (Orange), 12.69; 7. Brittany Gates (Keystone), 13.00
200: 1. Imani Davis (Akron SVSM), 25.47; 2. Autumn Young (CVCA), 25.88; 3. Emily Peters (Keystone), 25.96; 4. Imani Bush (Canton South), 26.05
400: 1. Chelsea Laury (Akron SVSM), 56.58; 2. Keishawnna Burts (Akron North), 56.63; 3. Frances Bull (Lake Catholic), 57.46; 4. Tori Chiller (Crestwood), 58.63
800: 1. Julia Mendiola (Akron SVSM), 2:15.05; 2. Jaimie Adams (Padua), 2:17.90; 3. Kate Girrouard (Chagrin Falls), 2:19.34; 4. Mallory Myers (CVCA), 2:20.17; 14. Rhema Nicoll (Vermilion), 2:30.50
1,600: 1. Jen Muhlenkamp (Triway), 5:12.46; 2. Marissa Rossetti (Akron SVSM), 5:13.73; 3. Haley Davis (West Branch), 5:14.81; 4. Sammy Bockoven (CVCA), 5:16.33; 9. Shannon Wargo (Keystone), 5:34.50; 12. Michaela Bierly (Lutheran West/North Ridgeville resident), 5:49.98
3,200: 1. Michelle Klim (Poland Seminary), 11:37.84; 2. McKinsie Klim (Poland Seminary), 11:43.43; 3. Abby Soltisz (Crestwood), 11:45.38; 4. Rachel Iacofano (Akron SVSM), 11:48.48; 12. Wargo (Keystone), 12:48.67
100-meter hurdles: 1. Destiny King (Streetsboro), 15.24; 2. Megan Gunther (LaBrae), 15.34; 3. Sage Spotleson (Poland Seminary), 15.59; 4. Chelsea Rice (Harvey), 15.79
300-meter hurdles: 1. Tessa Brooks (Triway), 45.66; 2. Jessica Eby (Orrville), 45.75; 3. Jenna Quillen (Keystone), 46.80; 4. Payton Julian (Streetsboro), 46.81
400-meter relay: 1. Ursuline (Precious Williams, Korree Cotton, Paige Hall, Carnathan), 48.95; 2. Orange, 48.86; 3. Canton South, 48.92; 4. Keystone (Gates, Nikki Tuttle, Quillen, Peters), 48.95; 5. Beachwood, 49.21; 6. Vermilion (AuBree LaForce, Annie Rossi, Mallory Morris, Hannah Bartlome), 49.23
800-meter relay: 1. Akron SVSM (Imani Davis, Katie Goedecke, Alexis Taylor, Laury), 1:43.12; 2. Vermilion (Abbey Bodeker, LaForce, Morris, Bartlome), 1:43.80; 3. Orrville, 1:44.85; 4. Girard, 1:44.95
1,600-meter relay: 1. CVCA (Bockoven, Myers, Katie Hess, Young), 3:56.72; 2. Akron SVSM, 3:56.82; 3. Beachwood, 4:01.66; 4. West Branch, 4:03.35
3,200-meter relay: 1. CVCA (Alex Blair, Natalie Pasiczynk, Mallory Myers, Sammy Bockoven), 9:23.78; 2. Akron SVSM, 9:23.23; 3. Chagrin Falls, 9:33.50; 4. Crestwood, 9:38.47; 15. Lutheran West (Michaela Bierly – North Ridgeville resident, Olivia Vasiloff – Vermilion resident, Lindsay Tomola, Marissa Nuti), 10:30.94
Shot put: 1. Edie Svonavec (Garrettsville Garfield), 41-7; 2. Ciera Trybend (Salem), 41-5 ½; 3. Kendra Zbinovec (NDCL), 40-10 ¾; 4. Joanna Halisy (Lake Catholic), 40-7 3/4
Discus: 1. Zbinovec (NDCL), 137-5; 2. Ciera Trybend (Salem), 134-5; 3. Caroline Hahn (Garrettsville Garfield), 115-9; 4. Hallisy (Lake Catholic), 115-4
High jump: 1. Hannah Bartlome (Vermilion), 5-6; 2. Shelby Willis (Orange), 5-2; 3. Rebecca Fortner (Fairless), 5-2; 4. Rylee Scott (Orrville), 5-2; 5. Jenna Quillen (Keystone), 5-1; 9. Mallory Morris (Vermilion), 5-0
Long jump: 1. Sydney Vaughn (Canton South), 17-10 ½; 2. Laury (Akron SVSM), 17-7 ¼; 3. Destiny King (Streetsboro), 17-5 ½; 4. Autumn Young (CVCA), 17-3; 8. Brittany Gates (Keystone), 16-11; 11. Makayla Koerner (Black River), 16-7; 13. Bartlome (Vermilion), 16-0 1/4
Pole vault: 1. Allyson Simmons (Fairless), 12-0 (MEET RECORD, old record 11-3 set in 2012 by Triway’s Tessa Brooks); 2. Brooks (Triway), 11-3; 3. Kayla Cool (Perry), 11-0; 4. Angel Myers (Wickliffe), 10-9; 5. Maddie Jarrett (Orrville), 10-3; 6. Lauren Kingsboro (Keystone), 10-3
Note: no local boys teams at Bedford.