COLUMBUS — The number three kept cropping up for Washington sophomore Rayana Burns at the 2018 State track meet. And it turned out to a be a good one.
After qualilfying to the State in four events as a freshman, Burns advanced to State this year in three events.
On Friday, she finished third in the high jump.
Then, on Saturday, she took another third place, this time in the finals of the 400-meter dash.
Burns recorded a time of 57.08.
The four top finishers and seven of the final nine are underclassmen, either sophomores or juniors.
Junior Ke’Aijhan Strong of Tuslaw won the State title in a time of 55.78.
Sophomore Delaney Benedict of Greenon was second in 55.92.
Junior Kaitlyn Clark of Rossford was fourth in 57.72, placing the top four all finishing in under 58 seconds.
There were two seniors in the finals; Megan Braun of Van Wert, who placed fifth in 58.00 and Hayley Robinett of Clyde who was ninth in 59.90.
A trio of sophomores filled spaced six through eight: Jill Vogler of McNicholas, sixth in 58.65, Aminah Claxton of Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, seventh in 58.91 and Sedona Goodard of Orrville, eighth in 59.18.
The 12 points Burns scored at the meet placed Washington in 21st place out of 75 schools that scored at least one point.
“I felt really good out there,” Burns said. “It was really good competition. I had a lot of fun running. Everything I did this season, it worked toward that. Everything just built up and got me there. I’m happy with where I am.
“I was kind of glad, because, finally, this was my last race,” Burns said. “But, it’s sad that the season’s over. I can’t wait until next year.”
Burns also spoke about Maddy Garrison, the young lady who also qualified to State along with her the last two years.
“Maddy has been one of the best teammates,” Burns said. “She was really a leader. She looked out for all of us. She’s been there for me since last year. This year, it was me and her again and we just have each other’s back. She did so great. I’m really proud of her.”
“Rayana has been really focused this year,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “At the beginning of the year, she told me some of her goals. Her goal was to get on the podium at State. She came up here this weekend and placed third in the high jump. She had a tough go, but she was very resilient. She bounced back and stayed focused.
“She was really focused for that 400,” Reid said. “I think getting on the podium in the high jump helped her stay focused in the four. She did really awesome. She had a great race strategy.
“She got out really hard,” Reid said. “Harder than she normally does. When the girl who ended up being the State champion went by her, she closed the gap to just keep it pretty close.
“She waited until about the 120-meter mark to start her kick,” Reid said. “That was good. She had enough left that she passed a whole group and ended up a strong third. Her kick is really strong. I think next year we’re going to work on kicking a little earlier.
“She has a bright future ahead of her,” Reid said. “She works really hard. Both of these girls do. I was really proud of the effort we had from Rayana and Maddy.”