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Boys Track & Field

Eagles win state title in 400 relay

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKSPORTS
Watterson's Dominic Lombardi celebrates after crossing the finish line to win the 400-meter relay during the Division II state meet June 7 at Ohio State.

Cody Calhoun and Dominic Lombardi of the Watterson High School boys track and field team wanted one more state title before their prep careers came to an end.

The seniors, who won separate state championships last year, got their wish, as they teamed with junior Brad Kanney and senior Ryan Urquhart to win the 400-meter relay in a program-record 42.37 seconds during the Division II state meet held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State.

"We've both been very successful here at Watterson and we wanted more than ever to bring home some more gold before we left high school," Lombardi said. "Winning my first state title (last year in the 300 hurdles) is something I'll never forget, but being able to share this relay title with my teammates just makes it all the more special."

Before competing in the 400 relay, Lombardi placed second in the 110 hurdles (program-record 14.48), behind Cambridge's Errik Snell (14.4). He finished seventh (14.8) in the event last year.

"Finishing that high in the 110 hurdles was a shock and a nice surprise," he said.

After the 400 relay, Lombardi finished second in the 300 hurdles (program-record 37.43), behind Norwayne's Kaled Harris (37.25).

"Honestly, I should have had three gold medals today," said Lombardi, who ran 38.13 in the event last year at state. "In the 300s, I stuttered and hit hurdle six and it slowed me down. Then I hit the last hurdle with my foot and it really messed up my balance and the guy got me at the end. You have no idea how frustrated I am. At least I (set a personal record), but I'm going to be thinking 'what if' for a long time.

"After taking a day to think about it, though, I'm blessed to leave the state meet with two silver medals and a gold medal around my neck."

The same four runners competed in the 400 relay at state last year.

"We got 10th last year and going into the season we were hoping for top five," said Calhoun, who helped lead the boys basketball team to the Division II state title in 2013 and a state runner-up finish last season. "But our chemistry and handoffs really advanced over the year. With every meet, we improved a little bit more. We really peaked at the right time."

Watterson scored 26 points at state to finish fourth behind Dayton Dunbar (47), Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (46) and Pemberville Eastwood (38) as 76 teams scored.

"It was nice to end our season with a state championship," coach Matt McGowan said. "(The 400 relay) was our fourth state title in the past three years, and that's a heck of an accomplishment for a school that isn't known for track.

"Dominic didn't reach his goal of winning the hurdles, but he came very close in both races and we set school records in all three events, which is all you can ask for."

Watterson finished fifth (29) at regional held May 29 and 31 at Lexington, behind champion Eastwood (61) as 46 teams scored.

Lombardi won the 300 hurdles (37.99) and took second in the 110 hurdles (14.71), and the 400 relay won in 42.71, which at the time was the program record.

Also competing at regional were freshman Nick Haley in the 1,600 (eighth, 4:36.44) and 3,200 (did not finish), sophomore Max McClelland in the 1,600 (10th, 4:39.85), the 800 relay of Kanney, Urquhart, Calhoun and junior Sam Maglicic (10th, 1:32.15) and Urquhart in the 200 (11th, 23.46).

McClelland also qualified for regional in the 3,200 but did not compete in the event.

The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to state.

Watterson placed third (82) in the 14-team district 2 meet that concluded May 24 at Heath, behind Caledonia River Valley (130) and Eastmoor Academy (115).

Winning district titles were Lombardi in the 300 hurdles (38.62) and the 400 relay (42.92).

The Eagles finished second (123.5) in the CCL meet held May 15 and 17, behind St. Charles (188) and ahead of DeSales (91), Hartley (56.5) and Ready (27).

Winning league titles were Lombardi in the 110 hurdles (14.5) and 300 hurdles (39.5) and the 400 relay (43.1).

"I thought we had one of our best outings in recent years in the CCL, district and regional meets," McGowan said. "(Three of) our (four) seniors -- Cody, Ryan and Dominic -- are members of the 400 relay, which has not lost all season. (But) we have a nice group of athletes coming back next year, including Max and Nick, who both qualified for regional in the 1,600 and 3,200, (and) we are always hopeful to get new athletes out who can compete."

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