Jacob Gilmore, Sayyid Kanu and Brandon Krietemeyer of the DeSales High School boys track and field team saw the fourth member of their 400-meter relay, Taz Collins, injure his right knee near the finish line in the Division II regional meet May 31 at Lexington.
But in the wake of finishing third (43.1 seconds) at regional and qualifying for state, the trio did not stress over the injury because Collins himself remained calm.
"Taz is one of those types of guys who jokes around a lot," Kanu said. "We had no idea until (June 2 or 3) that he wouldn't run (at state). Then we started working to figure out how we'd do it without him. (On June 4), we put the order in and we just came out and ran and made the final."
Coach Ben McGinnis called upon Adam Acquista to run the lead leg in place of Collins, and the relay went on to finish seventh (44.06) in the state meet held June 6 and 7 at Ohio State. Kanu ran the second leg, followed by Gilmore and Krietemeyer.
Despite being an alternate on the 400 relay, Acquista had not competed in the event until the state preliminaries June 6. DeSales had the seventh-fastest time (43.71), as the top nine advanced to the final. Watterson won the state title in 42.37.
Acquista sloughed off his role with the relay, something his teammates refused to do.
"We threw the whole relay together (June 3)," Acquista said. "I never expected to actually be running."
Standing next to Acquista after the final, Gilmore gave his teammate high praise.
"Adam brings an energy to the team. He is a leader," Gilmore said. "He brings a spark to us, a big burst of energy that we needed."
Krietemeyer also competed at state in the 100, finishing 15th (11.31). He said he didn't visualize a state berth in the event until about halfway through the season.
"I felt myself getting a little faster and relaxing when I was running," said Krietemeyer, who attended Thomas Worthington as a freshman and had to sit out last season per the OHSAA's transfer rule. "I figured I could make a run for it. I did and got here. Unfortunately, I fell short this year, but I'm already looking forward to next year."
DeSales scored two points to tie Cincinnati Wyoming, Elyria Catholic, McArthur Vinton County, Van Wert and Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley for 61st, behind champion Dayton Dunbar (47) as 76 teams scored.
The girls team did not have any state or regional qualifiers.
Boys lacrosse team fell short of state
The boys lacrosse team won its first seven games and two of its three losses came within a three-day span in early April, but coach Matt Triplet isn't convinced his team reached its full potential this season.
"I don't think we ever really peaked," he said. "There were so many different aspects to the season. (Freshman attacker) Chris (Stoll) had a bad knee and it was on and off. There were injuries we dealt with all season, so I'm not sure if we were ever able to really get to the point we wanted to playing-wise. We hit our stride down the stretch. A lot of it was that as the season went on, the competition got harder and more people out there had us scouted."
DeSales, which finished 17-3, saw its season end with an 8-7, double-overtime loss to second-seeded Toledo St. Francis in the Division II Central/Northwest Region final June 1. The top-seeded Stallions trailed 5-0 after the first quarter and 6-1 at halftime before mounting a furious fourth-quarter comeback.
DeSales, which was seeking its third consecutive state appearance, played all three of its postseason games at home. The Stallions defeated ninth-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 16-6 in a first-round game May 23 and beat fourth-seeded Watterson 7-6 in a regional semifinal May 28.
DeSales, which loses seven seniors, had five players earn second-team all-state honors in senior goalkeeper Ben Dumm, senior defender Austin Jackson, senior attacker Tyler Klutch, senior midfielder Tucker Yinger and sophomore attacker Nick Musci.
Dumm, Jackson, Klutch, Yinger, Musci and junior defender Ben Hippler were named first-team all-region. Senior midfielder McLean Fitzmartin and sophomore defender Charlie Romano were second-team all-region, and Stoll and senior defender Hunter Chapman were honorable mention all-region.
"They weren't the most talented group in terms of lacrosse skills as (compared) to other teams we've had in past years, but they have heart and hustle," Triplet said. "They were one of the best, and they almost willed themselves into the state tournament if we could have pulled (the regional final) out. All of that was just grit and hard work."