COLUMBUS — Wind or no wind, Medina’s Ali Kovarik proved she belonged.
The senior was the Medina County standard in the long jump all season and capped her career Saturday afternoon with a third-place showing at the Division I state meet.
“I’m so happy,” Kovarik said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. I was just trying to get to the finals and I got third. I couldn’t be more happy.”
Despite facing a headwind that reached 30 miles per hour, Kovarik cleared 17 feet, 6 inches on her third attempt to earn a spot on the podium in her Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium debut.
Kovarik sat second for most of the event behind Chesterland’s Chantel Richardson (18-3) before Olivia Small surpassed 17-6 on her final tries to steal the spot.
“It was tough to get used to, and finally once I got used to it and got my 17-6 jump, I got a lot more comfortable I think,” Kovarik said. “You have to just try and make the most of every jump. I got lucky when I timed my jumps because I got a little bit of a dead wind.
“It was a little disappointing (after Small’s jump), but how can I not be happy with what I got?”
Thanks to Kovarik, along with Medina’s impressive win in the 4×800-meter relay on Friday, the Bees finished in a tie for fifth overall with 24 points. Lexington won the title with 56.
One of the heroes of the 4×8 victory, senior Anna Boyert made a quick recovery to make it onto the podium in two more events and wrap up an impressive four-year career.
The Penn State recruit took third in the 1,600 (4:55.15) and followed with 2:15.60 in the 800 for seventh.
“I can’t complain,” Boyert said. “We’re still state champs in the 4×8 and I still made it on the podium in all three. It’s something to be proud of. I know it didn’t turn out (Saturday) like I wanted, but it was good still.
“It’s a good way to end my career. I’m sad, but at the same time excited about moving on and racing in college.”
Boyert came out fast in the mile and raced alongside Northeast Ohio Conference rival Therese Haiss of Solon before Beavercreek junior Sydney Leiher found a burst of speed and broke away to win in 4:49.61.
“I mean, you always want to win. That’s your goal, duh,” Boyert said. “There can only be one winner and that’s whoever is on that day. I guess today just wasn’t my day, but I can’t walk with my head down.”
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