COLUMBUS — Ryan Gallagher didn’t show up to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon expecting to finish eighth, but he’ll take it.
The Buckeye senior capped the toughest season of his career by placing in the 3,200-meter run for the second straight year at the Division II state meet.
“I really can’t ask for anything else. It’s been a long season, and did just enough to hang on to All-Ohio again. No regrets,” Gallagher said. “Obviously, nobody comes here to get eighth, but it’s enough for me to come into next year knowing I still have it. I can compete.”
The reigning Gazette MVP clocked a season-low time of 9:38.69.
Gallagher, who was fourth last season, hovered between seventh and eighth heading into the final laps, but couldn’t gain much ground on the leaders, who were in separate packs.
“I knew maybe they were a little too far out of my reach, but I could at least stick on seventh and maybe have a chance to hold it and I almost did,” he said. “My goal was to hang back and see where the race went. I was just weighing it to make sure I was getting in position to compete.”
While he hasn’t confirmed where he will be running collegiately, Saturday’s race proved a lot to him.
“It’s something I can build on, but I’m too competitive to be really happy with eighth,” Gallagher said. “I can end it on a good note for what my season was. I did what I could with what I had.”
Montville Township resident Mick Iacofano of St. Vincent-St. Mary finished ahead of Gallagher, placing fifth in 9:34.38. It ended a busy day for the senior, who was third in the 1,600 (4:15.32).
Black River’s Gus Kazek, the first Pirate boy to qualify for state since Aaron Munyan in 2002, struggled with fatigue for most of his 3,200 en route to finishing 16th in 10:19.35.
The race obviously was not the way the senior wanted to end his career — especially after posting a career-best performance in finishing third at the Lexington Regional a week ago — but he was able to put it all in perspective.
“I wasn’t feeling good today, so I just tried to go out there and have fun,” said Kazek, who plans on running for John Carroll. “Not many can say they get to do this. I was happy that I was able to come down here and race and it’s definitely something I will remember heading into college.
“It definitely wasn’t the race that I wanted to end on, but I’ll take it as a memory.”
CVCA sophomore Autumn Young bounced back from fouling on all three of her attempts in the long jump during the morning session with three trips to the podium on the track.
The Liverpool Township resident and younger sister of St. Edward sprinter Anthony Young was third in the 100 (12.30), fourth in the 200 (25.29) and anchored the 4×4 to fifth.
St. Vincent-St. Mary freshman Rachel Iacofano recorded a 12th-place 11:46.06 in the 3,200. Iacofano ran on the state runner-up 4×8 on Friday.
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