It took Lonzell Feagin awhile to claim what he hoped was the first of four championship medals at the Division I regional track and field meet May 24 at Pickerington North.
After winning the long jump in 21 feet, 10 1/4 inches, the Canal Winchester High School senior qualified for the finals in the 100, 200 and 400 meters and was a favorite to win all three events May 26 based on preliminary times. Only then, about two hours after he clinched the long jump, did he walk to the awards tent and get his reward.
Feagin’s jump was nine inches shorter than his district 1 championship effort from a week earlier, largely because he and the rest of the field contended with a stiff headwind and occasional rain showers that turned heavy at times.
As a result, Feagin jumped only twice and scratched four times, but that turned out to be enough.
“There was a lot of headwind,” Feagin said. “I didn’t have a distance in mind (May 24). I just wanted to come out in first. I didn’t have any set goals otherwise.
“It wasn’t a good day for jumping, so I ended up scratching most of my jumps. I figured the 21-10 would get me to state. I wasn’t as sure it would win.”
The top four finishers in each regional event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State.
Feagin will be making his second consecutive state appearance. Last season, he placed fourth in the 400 and 12th in the long jump.
“I am a lot more confident in my abilities to perform now,” he said. “I go in there knowing what to expect and how to pace myself.”
Also competing at regional May 24 for the boys team were Danny Jones in the discus (11th, 130-1), Denzell Feagin in the 200 (12th, 22.21 seconds), Caleb Jones in the 300 hurdles (15th, 42.61) and the 800 relay of Denzell Feagin, Tyler Toledo, Jacob Robertson and Gibby Cornett (15th, 1:32.73).
Other Indians still had a chance to make state on the second day at regional May 26. Will Butler ran in the 800 and Jones, who fouled twice during the discus final and hit 130-1 on his final throw, competed in the shot put.
The girls team’s only regional qualifier, Erica Babusci, finished 10th in the 100 hurdles (16.0) on May 24 but held out hope of making state in the 300 hurdles May 26. The junior qualified for regional in both events for the second consecutive year.
“It was great to get back in both events. I’ve been wanting this for a year,” said Babusci, who finished 10th at state in the 300 hurdles last season.
“It’s a great way to see how far I’ve come. I am glad I’ve been able to stay consistent. At least I know I haven’t gotten worse.”