COLUMBUS — The Washington Lady Blue Lions sent a strong group of athletes to the Division II State track meet to compete in the semifinals Friday afternoon at the Jesse Owens Memorial Track at The Ohio State University.
Out of hundreds of relay teams all across the Buckeye State, Washington brought three of its relay teams to compete against the best of the best Ohio’s high schools have to offer.
Washington competed in the 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400-meter relays and Alexis Gray competed in the open 400-meter dash.
On a hot, sunny day, with thankfully a bit of a light breeze wafting across the field, the ladies competed in front of over 10,000 spectators.
It was a group comprised of five recent graduates, Alexis Gray, Megan Mullins, Holly Inskeep, Haley Petitt and Maria Wilson and one junior-to-be, Maddy Garrison.
Kynzie Osborne, who will be a senior when school begins again in August, one of four State alternates, subbed in and competed in the 4 x 400-meter relay.
Unfortunately for the Lady Lions, none of the four events was able to make it through to today’s finals.
The first event for Washington was the 4 x 200-meter relay. That team was comprised of Gray, Mullins, Petitt and Inskeep.
The Lady Lions turned in a time of 1:46.73, which placed them 13th in the field of 16 teams.
To make it to the finals, a relay or an individual in a track event must be in the top two in their heat. To those four are added the next five fastest times, for a total of nine on the Jesse Owens oval. The top eight finalists are honored with medals on the State podium.
Some 20 minutes after the 4 x 2, Washington’s 4 x 100-meter relay team took their places on the track for the semifinals. That team was made up of Petitt, Inskeep, Wilson and Mullins.
The ladies turned in a time of 51.95, placing 15th in the field.
After having less than 30 minutes to recover, it was time for Alexis Gray to take the track again, this time in the semifinals of the 400-meter dash.
Gray turned in a time of 59.21, placing 14th overall.
The final event of the afternoon for Washington’s Lady Lions was the 4 x 400-meter relay.
That team featured Gray to Maddy Garrison, to Mullins, to Kynzie Osborne.
Washington recorded a time of 4:13.52, placing them 15th overall.
The Record-Herald was able to speak with the 4 x 400-meter relay team as they were heading to collect their gear from an area set aside for the athletes directly diagonal across the field from the finish line.
“I’m really going to miss this,” Alexis Gray said. “I’ve been up here for four years. There’s not much more I could ask for. I got to run in anything I wanted and I made it out.
“My freshman and sophomore years I dropped an event,” Gray said. “It was a mistake; I wish I would have ran, but, it’s okay now.
“I have no regrets,” Gray said. “It was a great experience. As long as our team tried…we may not have made it to the second day, but I can tell you all of us gave 110 percent. And our alternates, like Kynzie, she had to step in for the 4 x 4, they ran great.”
“Running three events at State my senior year is awesome,” Megan Mullins said. “Especially coming back from that sophomore and junior year slump that I went through and ending my career here. I didn’t even think I was going to run track this year. Looking around here, ending it by running three events here, it’s amazing.”
Kynzie Osborne ran in the 4 x 400-meter relay Friday for the third time at State.
“I think just being here is amazing,” Osborne said. “If you think about it, we’re still one of the top 16 teams in the state and there are so many teams that we see. It’s just a great opportunity to run, no matter where you finish here.”
“I’m glad I had the team I had this year,” Maddy Garrison said. “It was an honor running with them. I’m going to miss them a lot. I couldn’t have picked a better team to run with this year.”
Holly Inskeep competed at State Friday in the 4 x 1 and 4 x 2 relays, but was subbed for in the 4 x 4 with an injury sustained at the Regional meet.
“I had an injury,” Inskeep said. “I pulled my quad at Regionals. I did my best to push through in the 4 x 1 and the 4 x 2. But it came to the point where I was having trouble walking, so, I didn’t want to bring the team down when I knew there could be someone who could do better than I could right now. It was just best for the team.
“This was my second time at State,” Inskeep said. “And we did a lot better this year than we did last year, especially team-wise and time-wise.”
It was a tremendous rebound for Inskeep after she broke both her legs as a freshman.
“It took a year to get over the injury and another year to rehabilitate myself,” Inskeep said. “Being here is phenomenal. I love my team and I love my girls. I know that through everything we’re always going to be there for each other. We’re always going to share these memories. It’s a blessing to have this be my senior year.”
“It’s been a great experience,” Haley Petitt said. “It’s been a great way to end my senior year. I love my team and I’m glad I got to end my track season with these girls. We left it all out on the track. We gave our all and we pushed through it.”
“I just thankful that we were able to get here,” Maria Wilson said. “Even though things didn’t play out the way we wished they would have, I’m just thankful that we got here and we had the chance to all run together one last time. It’s such a great place to have your last run at the Jesse Owens Stadium. I’m super-excited and so blessed to have such a great group around me.”
“We were happy with the way we performed,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “We didn’t run any worse; we came out and ran well. We just needed to run faster (to get to the finals). I was happy with the way they ran. We had good hand offs. Some times things just don’t go your way.
“I think this finished off a pretty good career for our seniors,” Reid said. “I’m pleased with it.
“Alexis scored tons of points for us in her four-year career,” Reid said. “Megan Mullins ran a lot of sprints, a lot of relays and long jumps. Maria Wilson, high jump, hurdles and now relays this year.
“Haley Petitt really excelled on the relays,” Reid said. “She was a relay specialist. Holly Inskeep ran well in the 100 and 200. I was really pleased with their careers. And Kynzie stepped in and did a good job. That’s why we bring alternates here.
“Maddy got to run up here for the first time and she ran well,” Reid said.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1