COLUMBUS — Three student-athletes from Fayette County competed on the first day of the Division II State track meet in Columbus Friday.
Washington freshman Rayana Burns competed in four events, recent Miami Trace graduate Drake Litteral ran in two events and Miami Trace junior Katie Seyfang competed in the discus throw.
The day began with Seyfang in the Division II discus throw which was held in a field across the street from the Jesse Owens Memorial Track.
Seyfang fouled on her first two attempts.
On her third and final attempt in the preliminaries, Seyfang converted a throw of 123’ 2”.
That throw was good enough to place her in the top nine, advancing her to the finals.
The pattern repeated in the finals, as she fouled on her first two attempts.
On her final throw of the day, she threw for 130’ 0”, a new personal best.
That throw put her on the podium in sixth place.
Senior Lauren Jones of Garrettsville Garfield won the State title for the third year in a row with a throw of 157’ 9”.
The top three finishers were all seniors.
“What a fantastic way to start off the weekend up here at Ohio State,” Miami Trace head coach Brent Noes said. “Katie came out today and threw a new (personal best) at 130 feet even. That was good enough to put her on the podium in sixth place. We couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s really put the work in during the off-season and through this season. That’s so exiting for her and her family.”
“I had (four fouls) and a 130,” Seyfang said. “That’s a P.R. (personal record) for me. I was just trying to go as hard as I possibly can, because, what else do you do? I was just trying to give it everything I had. I stayed in on my last throw and got a new P.R., which is awesome.
“Coach (Bill) Beatty has been great,” Seyfang said. “He volunteered to help us through the end of indoor season. He’s just pushed us beyond what we thought we could do. He’s been a blessing, that’s for sure.”
While Seyfang was competing outside the track in the discus throw, Rayana Burns was competing inside the stadium at the north end in the high jump.
The competition began with the bar at 4’ 10”.
Burns passed at that height and then cleared 5’ 0” on her third and final attempt.
She cleared the bar on her first try at 5’ 2”.
However, she missed all three attempts at 5’ 4”, placing 11th out of 16 competitors.
Senior Alyssa Matheny of Akron Manchester won the Division II title at 5’ 8”.
It took a jump of at least 5’ 5” to make the podium. That height was accomplished by four contestants.
Fourth place was 5’ 6”, third place was 5’ 7” and second place was 5’ 8”. (Matheny cleared 5’ 8” on her first attempt; it took Lilly Ritz of Cambridge three tries to clear 5’ 8”.) They both attempted 5’ 9”, to no avail.
The track portion of the Division II meet began at 1:30 p.m. with the finals of the 4 x 800-meter relays. Chagrin Falls won the girls’ event in 9:12.10.
For the boys, it was Worthington Christian in 7:50.65.
At 2 p.m., it was time for the semifinals, beginning with the girls’ 100 and boys’ 110-meter hurdles.
At 2:20 p.m., Burns made her State track debut for the semifinals of the 100-meter dash.
She finished 15th with a time of 12.75.
Right after that, it was Drake Litteral’s turn in the 100-meters.
Litteral set a new personal best mark of 10.98, placing sixth out of 16 to qualify to Saturday’s finals.
After the 4 x 200 and 4 x 100-meter relay semifinals, Burns returned once again to the track for the 400-meter dash.
She placed 10th overall in the event in a time of 57.91. The top nine qualify to the finals.
After the 400-meter dash prelims and the 300-meter hurdle prelims, Burns made her way onto the track for the final time Friday for the 200-meter dash.
In this event, Burns was 14th with a time of 26.10.
Litteral soon followed in the 200-meter dash and turned in a time of 22.26, good for seventh and a spot in the finals.
He will have to beat at least one competitor in his finals events Saturday to earn a spot on the podium.
Rayana Burns spoke about her first experience at State, starting with the high jump.
“I got over two heights,” Burns said. “I didn’t make it over 5’ 4”. I was a little nervous, but I was getting through it.
“I ran well today,” Burns said of her sprints. “These girls are just quick; they’re really fast.
“I know I ran strong through the races,” Burns said. “But, these girls are really fast.
“I got out on the curve (in the 200),” Burns said. “Those girls caught me in the last 100.
“As a freshman, being here was a really good experience,” Burns said. “It was fun being here and being able to just go through this. I just give all the glory to God that I’m able to be here and do this. It’s a good experience.”
“Rayana had great results,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “Coming in we thought high jump and the 400 were our two best chances of getting on the podium. She was 11th in the high jump and 10th in the 400.
“She still ran well,” Reid said. “A lot of people come up here to the State meet and their nerves get the best of them. You wouldn’t have known she was a freshman. She was poised and ready to compete. I was really proud of the effort. Some people never make it up here. She’s made it here and hopefully, this will motivate her to want to make it back and make it onto the podium, now that she knows what it’s like up here.”
“There are some fast kids here,” Drake Litteral said. “I’m a lot better at running curves. I like this 120-meter curve. The straightaway is 80 (meters). I like that a lot better. It benefits me more.
“I felt good coming out of the 100,” Litteral said. “I could have had a better start, but, I felt good about it. If I get that fixed, I should be in pretty good shape.”
“He’s a great kid,” Tim Walters, who has been working with Litteral this season, said. “He didn’t run what we wanted there in the 200 prelims. His 100 was excellent. We thought he might be a little nervous, which, obviously, most kids are.
“He handled the pressure well,” Walters said. “I was really proud of him with the 100. (In the 200) he really ran, once he got into this curve. The Jesse Owens curves are special, anyway; they’re 120-meter curves, so, they’re much more friendly to the athletes.
“He looked good,” Walters said. “He ran strong and represented Miami Trace well.”
“It was a great day for Drake out here on the track,” Brent Noes said. “In the 100, he looked really strong, really powerful in that today. Coming into the finals (Saturday) with the sixth-fastest time, we’re excited to see what he can do.
“Then to sit around and wait a little bit for the 200, he handled that well,” Noes said. “He’s a senior, he’s focused, he’s prepared mentally. He came out and ran a nice race in the 200. He’s right on his P.R. in the 200.
“We’re excited to see what he can do in both events in the finals,” Noes said. “We’re excited to see Katie come back in the shot (Saturday).”
Other events of area interest:
McClain High School senior, Kaylee Hurley, featured on the cover of this year’s State track meet program, won the seated shot put with a throw of 18’ 3”.
Hurley competes in three events Saturday: the 800-meter run at 10:55 a.m., the 400-meter dash at 2:05 p.m. and the 100-meter dash at 4:40 p.m.
In the pole vault, Hillsboro junior Austin Goolsby won, clearing the bar at 15’ 2”. With the championship in hand, he attempted to clear 15’ 8”, but was unsuccessful.
The McClain girls 4 x 200-meter relay team placed 15th overall in 1:46.72. That team was made up of Madylyn Stegbauer, Hunter Scott, Ashley Hardesty and Chayden Pitzer.
Pitzer qualified to the finals in the 200-meter dash, eighth overall, in a time of 25.48.
She was 11th overall in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.31.
McClain’s Tristan Pitzer was 16th in the 200-meter dash in 22.94.
Hillsboro’s boys 4 x 100-meter relay was 16th overall in 44.69. That team was made up of Austin Kimball, Jeremy Hayton, Luke Gallimore and Austin Goolsby.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1