Track & Field
Central relay rallies for third
The Pickerington High School Central girls track and field team's 800-meter relay took a page from the history of another of its relays during the Division I state meet June 8 at Ohio State.
In the regional meet May 31 at Pickerington North, the Tigers' 1,600 relay rallied during the final two legs to earn a runner-up finish and help Central capture a share of the team championship.
The 800 relay of senior Jada Williams and juniors Irene Skinner, Tyler Williams and Shalon Conley also made a big move in the second half of its race in the state final on the way to a third-place finish in 1 minute, 40.5 seconds.
The Tigers were in about seventh when Tyler Williams was handed the baton, but they were fourth by the time she handed it to Conley.
"I know we all wanted to achieve first place, but I just had to try to catch up to everyone," Tyler Williams said.
"We (ran a season-best time), so obviously we ran our best."
The 800 relay had just the fifth-best preliminary time (1:41.98) on June 7.
The relay's six points helped the Tigers tie Big Walnut and Gahanna for 13th (15) behind champion Solon (47) as 74 teams scored.
Also reaching the podium were sophomore Dana Shoff in the pole vault (fourth, 11 feet, 9 inches) and the 400 relay of Skinner, junior Cortisha Short, Jada Williams and Conley (fifth, 47.98).
It was the first state appearance for Shoff, who won the regional May 31 when she was the only athlete to clear 11-4.
At state, Shoff's personal-best effort placed her behind Green senior Morgan Estes (13-1/4), Kettering Fairmont senior Natalie Uy (12-3) and Cuyahoga Falls senior Nicole Waibel (12-0). Two others also cleared 11-9.
"It just really came together," Shoff said. "I wasn't doing as well as I thought I could the last couple weeks. I was close (to clearing 12-0) but then I came down on it."
The 400 relay had the fifth-best preliminary time (48.63) and broke the program record in the final.
"I feel like everyone came out and gave it everything they had and left it on the track," Jada Williams said.
Also competing were Jada Williams in the 200 (11th, 25.37), Tyler Williams in the 400 (14th, 1:00.17) and the 1,600 relay of Jada Williams, Tyler Williams, Conley and junior Morgan Richardson (16th, 4:05.61).
Nichols competes in two state events
According to boys coach Jason Roach, senior Alex Nichols likely would have reached the podium in the discus if he hadn't fouled on his third and final attempt in the Division I state meet June 8.
Nichols also fouled on his other two attempts and was one of three athletes to foul on all of their attempts in the discus.
Nichols, who had his sights on breaking the program record of 181-0 and whose personal best is 172-2, also competed in the shot put, in which he was 13th (51-1 1/4).
Central didn't score as Lakewood St. Edward was first (62) and 62 teams scored.
"We really thought there was a decent chance he could place in the discus," Roach said.
"He doesn't foul very often. We were watching the shot put and I was saying 'What's the difference between you and some of the other guys?' He just said they were faster across the ring. On his last throw (in the discus) he just nipped the top of (the out-of-bounds line). That one would probably have placed him at about 165."
Nichols will compete in track and field for Rio Grande, which is Roach's alma mater.
"He wasn't all that disappointed," Roach said. "He's only going to get better in college. He already has had a great career."