LAKEWOOD — Two hours of heavy rain with sporadic lightning caused all field events to be postponed Wednesday at the Lakewood Division I District track meet.
With the boys and girls long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put and discus now set for Friday, only one event final took place on the first day of competition at Lakewood Stadium.
It came in the 4×800-meter relay, which saw Highland’s girls team place third and punch its ticket for next week’s Amherst Steele Regional.
The Hornets’ quartet of juniors Hannah Buehrle, Meredith Taylor and Natalie Zidd, and sophomore Kori Gaishouser held down a top-four spot from start to finish and completed the race in 10:05.02.
“All year, we’ve been pretty strong and have pushed it as far as we can as a group,” said Buehrle, who earned her second straight regional appearance. “Even though we expected to make it, we’re all pretty excited right now.
“We tried our hardest today and we’ll try our hardest next week. That’s all we can do for each other.”
Despite running in light rain and dealing with the lengthy weather delay, Highland showed no ill effects and matched its seed time.
On the anchor leg, Zidd put an exclamation point on the regional bid by blowing past St. Joseph’s Caitlin Nagy — and finished more than 10 seconds ahead of her in third.
“I’m not sure what it is about Highland and the 4×8 every year, but we’ve built quite a tradition in it,” Hornets girls distance coach Devin Lippincott said. “I’m very proud of the way the girls ran again today.”
Highland’s boys 4×800 competed at full strength for the first time all spring and set a season-low time of 8:27.17. Senior Adam Valco, junior Zach Davis, and sophomores Mason Rorapaugh and Cole Vandenberg comprised the unit.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, that was only good enough for fifth place, which was one spot and 5.87 seconds behind Normandy for the final regional berth.
“It was nice to have Mason back, but we knew it was going to be tough to get out today,” Highland boys coach Josh Victor said. “We were seeded seventh, so there were a number of teams we had to pass even if we did set a season PR.”
Both Hornets squads advanced myriad runners to the Friday finals. All field events will be held at 3 p.m. with the track competition starting at 6 p.m.
For Highland’s girls, returning regional qualifiers Taylor (100 hurdles, 17.10; 300 hurdles, 49.66), Paige Springhetti (400, 61.70), and Carli Terepka (100, 13.65) led the way. Springhetti was a late scratch in the 200.
Defending state 800 champion Natalie Zidd (2:23.96) took it easy in finishing third in her heat behind Lakewood’s Alyssa Hasman (2:30.25) and Revere’s Maggie Harris (2:32.94).
“My coach and my dad told me I wasn’t allowed to go faster than 2:40 today because I had to run hard in the 4×800 and the 4×400,” Zidd said, smiling. “I just wanted to qualify for the final, so it went pretty much how I expected it would.”
As it turned out, Highland’s 4×400 of Zidd, Taylor, Hallie Sours and Riley Stewart advanced without even breaking a sweat as only seven of the 12 entered teams stayed around for the event, which would have occurred at 9:05 p.m.
Among the other Hornets moving on were Sam Zidd (100 hurdles, 16.82; 300 hurdles, 49.75), Sarah Carpenter (100, 13.29), the 4×200 of Terepka, Stewart, Carpenter and Springhetti (1:48.24), and the 4×100 of Terepka, Springhetti, Sours and Carpenter (51.44).
Highland’s boys team earned finals spots in the 400 with Nick Kerr (52.84), the 800 with Mason Rorapaugh, the 4×200 of Brandon Carpenter, Mike Rorapaugh, Julian Hadley and Adam Valco (1:34.28), and the 4×400 of Hadley, Mason Rorapaugh, Kerr and Valco.
The latter event saw the runners sprint into near-darkness at the south end of the stadium due to a lighting issue.
Lakewood St. Edward’s Anthony Young, a Medina County resident, is the top seed in the 200 (22.37) and 400 (49.63).
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.