PICKERINGTON — The Division I Regional Track & Field Championships are a place where jubilation and heartbreak coexist, and the line between them is razor thin. Mount Vernon Yellow Jacket athletes had a taste of each on Friday.
Mount Vernon’s Danae Rockwell experienced both emotions in the 15.33 seconds it took her to run the race. Overcoming a terrible start in the girls 100-meter hurdles, she still managed to finish third and is heading to the state championships at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus next weekend.
“I can’t even believe it,” said Rockwell. “After all the hard work I put into it and I had a terrible race. I can’t even believe that I made it. I fell out of the blocks. The girl beside me hit the seventh hurdle and my steps got messed up, so I can’t even believe I finished so well. It was probably one of my worst races. Everybody beat me out of the blocks, so I had to push the second and third hurdle to catch them. Then, I caught up and I held on.
“I’ve got all week to work on my start, now,” she laughed.
Also heading to state is Lucas Ferguson, who is going to compete in the discus. Ferguson, despite finishing first in both the shot and discus, is still looking for that elusive perfect throw.
“Warm-ups looked really good,” said Ferguson, in the shot semi-finals. “I was right around 60. I wanted to get one in and make sure I went to finals.”
In the finals, Ferguson was good enough to make it out, but not quite satisfied.
“Still didn’t get off the one that I wanted,” said Ferguson who heaved the shot 56-foot-11 3/4. “I’m still 3 feet short of 60. I’ve got a lot to work on next week.”
Katie Groseclose made it to the finals in the discus, despite not being quite on her game.
“My throws were okay,” said Groseclose, after she made it into the finals. “Hopefully, they’ll go a little further. I was using more of my upper body and less of my lower body and that’s a problem. I think in the finals I’ll throw a little better. I’m starting to feel better.”
Groseclose finally got off a 111-9 toss in the finals, but finished seventh.
A jubilant Jhazmyn Anderson will be heading to state in the 400-meter run after hanging on for fourth place with a time of 57.24.
“I’m so excited,” said Anderson. “I finally made it my senior year. I’ve been working at this since my freshman year.”
Anderson said she was just glad she didn’t have to run into a stiff breeze the way she did on Day 1 of competition.
“That was awesome, because I hate running against the wind,” she said.
Thoren Lindsay was disappointed after experiencing some knee stiffness which hampered him in the boys 400, where he ran a 52.74 after setting the school record a couple of days earlier at 49.97.
“When I was doing my warm-up, doing strides, something in my leg just hit and my knee was killing me,” he said. “I was trying to push through it in my race. About the first 130 meters, I seemed fine but, as soon as I hit the beginning of the last turn, my knee just wouldn’t move. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious, but I am still a little upset. This was my chance to go to state.”
Celia Leonardfell a bit short in the girls 800- and 1,600-meter runs.
In the 1,600, she was fifth, and missed going to state by under two seconds, running a 5:13.26. In the 800, she was 10th with a 2:23.76.
“It wasn’t my best,” said Leonard. “I wish I would have done better. It was exciting to be here, but I was expecting to do a little better. There’s always next year. I need to try to work on my start a little bit. I got off a bit too fast.”
Sarah Baker finished third in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:18.81. Baker, an All-Ohio runner in cross country last fall, will advance to state competition.
Baker and Esther Nzishura, along with Celia Leonard and her sister, Zoe, finished the girls 4x800-meter relay in the ninth spot, with a time of 9:57.21.