COLUMBUS — It was an eventful day for Washington High School sophomore Rayana Burns at the State track and field championships at The Ohio State University.
A now seven-time State qualifier, Burns overcame some nervousness to place third in the high jump, clearing 5’ 4” Friday morning.
She came back in the afternoon and was the second-fastest out of 18 competitors in the 400-meter dash, setting herself up for today’s finals.
Burns ran a time of 57.52, second only to junior Ke’Aijhan Strong of Tuslaw (57.47).
The finals are set for 2:05 p.m. today.
“I felt really good,” Burns said of the high jump. “It was really fun. I started out kind of slow. But, once I got up there, I was really confident and I felt really good.”
Burns made it over the bar at the opening height of 4’ 10” on her second attempt.
She then made it over the bar on her third and final try at 5’ 0”.
It was the same scenario when the bar was raised to 5’ 2”. Burns was up and over on her third and final attempt.
She next opted to pass at 5’ 3” and go at 5’ 4”.
She cleared 5’ 4” on her second attempt.
Burns finally exited the competition after missing three attempts at 5’ 5”.
Katelyn Meyer, a senior from Eastwood, won the State high jump in Division II at 5’ 8”. She missed on three attempts at 5’ 9”.
Senior Marisa Gwinner of Galion placed second at 5’ 7”. She cleared every height on her first attempt until she could not make it over at 5’ 8”.
Muskingum Regional champion, senior Lilly Ritz of Cambridge, placed fifth at State at 5’ 4”.
Burns spoke about her 400-meter dash semifinal.
“I felt really good,” Burns said. “I was just running my race.”
“Early on, her nerves got to her a little bit (in the high jump),” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We talked about some things. We just talked about how hard she has worked all season. I’ve really been proud of the effort she’s put in.
“I just told her, ‘think about all that hard work you’ve put in,’” Reid said. “‘Just use all of your frustration right now.’ She does a really good job of exploding up into the air to get over the bar and she did that on those jumps where, several times it came down to her third and final attempt, and she cleared it.
“She did a great job of refocusing,” Reid said. “It was something we’ve talked about all season long. She refocused and put the bad jumps behind her and she was able to be successful. When she cleared 5’ 4”, it jumped her from tenth place to third. That was a huge jump and a lot of kids can’t do that. Sometimes that pressure is too much for you.
“There were 10 jumpers left at 5’ 3” and she said, ‘I want to pass,’” Reid said. “That was her call. We passed at 5’ 3” to go to 5’ 4”. She felt more comfortable jumping at 5’ 4”. As a matter of fact, we did that last week at the Regionals. It was a good call by her. I feel comfortable with my athletes. I trust what they tell me and she knew how she felt and it was the right call. The first jump at 5’ 4”, she just clipped it off and on the second jump, she soared way over it and that’s what put her on the podium.
“I was really proud of her effort in the high jump today,” Reid said. “And just now, she ran a great 400. She did exactly what we talked about. She got out harder than she did last year. Then, she picked it up at the 200. She works on going hard from the 200.
“Then, down the homestretch, she put the hammer on,” Reid said. “It was great. It was her best time of the year and that’s what you want to see; the best time of the year up here. And, I think she’ll go faster (Saturday).”
Burns scratched out of the 200-meter semifinals and can now put all of her focus and energy into the 400-meter finals today.