October 25, 2014

Medina
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Track: Injury forces Gordon to take different path

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s the exact approach Michalla Gordon has taken this season.

After hurting her Achilles tendon during the indoor season — making it virtually impossible to continue as a hurdler — the Wadsworth senior wasn’t sure what she was going to do until a suggestion from Grizzlies coach John Burton.

Former state hurdler Michalla Gordon is making a name for herself on relays this spring. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

“I ran the 800 a few times my freshman year and my coach just said, ‘Hey, do you want to run this?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m up for anything,’” said Gordon, a state qualifier in the 300-meter hurdles last season. “I’m so happy that I got the chance to run this year because I love my teammates.”

The move has paid off, as Gordon has proven to be a key asset in a variety of events.

There has been a major difference in her thought process from early March, when the All-Gazette selection qualified for the state indoor meet in the 60 hurdles before getting hurt.

“It was just mentally really tough at first because I love hurdling so much,” Gordon said. “I just tried to have a positive attitude and turn it into something better for me.”

The results have been positive, as last weekend Gordon was a part of three Suburban League championship relays — the 4×200, 4×4 and 4×8 — along with finishing runner-up in the 400.

Gordon is slated to run in all four events at the Nordonia Division I District, which opens today.

The 4×4, which also includes Courtney Palange, Leah Runkle and Sarah Berger, clocked a meet-record 3:56.08 — a mark that is third in the state, according to milesplit.com.

“I’m really looking to go (to state) in the 4×8 and the 4×4,” Gordon said. “(The 4×4) is one of my favorite events anyways, so it’s always been something I wanted to go to state in.”

Making up lost time

Cloverleaf’s Angela Landrum will likely have a big smile on her face when the shot put competition takes place today at Nordonia. The senior, who claimed her second straight SL title, missed district competition last spring when he sustained a knee injury in practice.

“It brings back a lot of memories of getting hurt, but this is my best season so far, so I’m just going to keep going with it,” she said.

Dominant duo

Medina’s Jenna D’Errico and McKenna Baluch have been the best pole vaulters in Medina County this season. D’Errico started the season strong before being sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury. In her absence, Baluch saw her career best go from 10 feet to 11-6 — the latter height won the Berea Relays — before D’Errico came back to win the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division title with a meet record.

“We definitely push each other to do better and support it,” said D’Errico, who also has cleared 11-6 this season.

Final laps

Wadsworth senior Nick Seme has opted to focus on just the discus as he attempts to make his first trip to Columbus. The Ashland recruit, who has been throwing the discus since seventh grade and picked up the shot put two years ago, has already broken the school record in the disc (173-9).

•Alex Hartill has become one of the most versatile athletes in the county, as the Brunswick senior recorded season bests at the NOC Meet in the high jump (6-4), long jump (21-7¾) and 400 (51.10).

• Reigning Gazette MVP Ryan Gallagher of Buckeye clocked a season best in the 1,600 to win the Patriot Athletic Conference Meet in 4:27.84. Teammates Sam Johnson and Michael Keith also recorded fast times in the 110 and 300 hurdles, respectively, to break the area’s top times.

• Brunswick’s Brandon Emert and Wadsworth’s Ryan Looser posted identical career lows in the 300 hurdles last week. Their 40.01s lead the county.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.