COLUMBUS — Wadsworth’s girls 4×800-meter relay didn’t win the Division I state title Friday night, but the group has a lot to be proud of.
After winning a Suburban League championship and placing second at the Nordonia D-I District and Youngstown Regional, the Grizzlies capped their season with a fourth-place showing at Jesse Owens Stadium.
Not too shabby for a foursome of Courtney Palange, Michalla Gordon, Madi Salem and Sarah Berger that had only ran together five times all season.
“I didn’t even know we would have a good 4×8 because we never actually ran together until Suburban League,” Gordon said. “It was just thrown together. There were like, ‘Hey, we could go somewhere,’ and before we knew it, we were at state.”
The relay clocked a season-low 9:21.35 to finish behind Mason (9:11.06), Perrysburg (9:16.64) and Cincinnati McAuley (9:20.10).
“Honestly, I never even expected, no offense to our team, but I never even expected to make it this far, let alone finish fourth at state,” Berger said. “We finished higher than we were seeded.”
Berger, the anchor, took the Grizzlies from sixth to fourth.
“I honestly try to go as blank as I can in my mind, because I think too much,” she said. “I over-think it and then it doesn’t turn out as well as I like.”
The group got a personal-record split from Palange on the lead leg. Gordon kept pace and then newcomer Salem passed two people on the third leg to set the stage for Berger’s finish.
“I got passed by one and then passed two or three people,” Salem said. “Running third I have a lot of pressure, so my goal is to get it to the anchor as fast as possible, with as much ground between me and the people behind me as possible.”
Medina, the reigning D-I state champ in the event, came up shy of a spot on the podium. The team of Alexis Smith, Maria Scavuzzo, Kimmy Vidika and Sarah Pack finished in 9:27.12. The 10th-place Bees were 0.17 seconds off the final placing position.
“I think everyone definitely still gave it their all, but some of us just weren’t feeling it,” said Smith, who will run collegiately next season at Ashland. “I felt a little worn down today, not myself, but everyone else did great. It just didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, that’s for sure.”
In the other local final Friday, Medina’s boys 4×8 of Tommy Menyes, Dan Schwendler, Dylan Dombi and Ian McKee ran 8:01.47 to take 13th in the 16-team field.
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