Coach Brian Schoch and his staff were lost in the moment.
Liam Kerr of the Grandview Heights High School boys track and field team was a distant eighth entering the final lap of the 3,200 meters in the Division III regional meet May 26 at Fairfield Union.
However, the junior kept passing competitors and moving up to gain valuable points for the Bobcats. His fourth-place finish (10 minutes, 11.51 seconds) helped give the program its first regional championship since 1989.
"Liam wasn't close to the fourth-place guy; heck, he wasn't close to the sixth-place guy," Schoch said. "But he gave us five (team) points that we weren't sure we were going to get going into the last lap.
"We started thinking maybe he could get seventh and then maybe he could get sixth, and he kept passing guys one after the other. I'm not sure how fast that last lap was. None of us (on the coaching staff) are. We were too busy yelling for him, counting places and trying to help him move up."
The 1,600 relay of Luke Lachey, Eli Evans, Jack Kessler and Jordan Butler sealed the deal with a sixth-place finish (3:31.97) for three team points. The quartet did not advance to state Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at Ohio State as one of the top four finishers, but cemented the Bobcats' second regional title.
Grandview scored 71 points to edge runner-up Mount Gilead (69 points) as 39 teams scored. The two teams finished in the same order at district May 20 at Watkins Memorial, with the Bobcats totaling 186 points to the Indians' 171.
The team's only first-place regional finishes came from senior Jordan Beight, who won both the 110 hurdles (program-record 14.8) and 300 hurdles (38.93).
"Getting 71 points is a huge number at regional because it's tough to get a lot of wins there," Schoch said. "You need to put a lot of people in finals and give yourself a lot of scoring opportunities.
"To win at regional, you're usually getting more three-, four- and five-point performances than 10s (first place) and eights (second). You need contributions across the board because the competition is so tough."
Beight totaled 33 points for the Bobcats after also finishing second in long jump (20 feet, 7 inches) and fourth in the 100 (11.05). He runs the 100 hurdles and then the 100, with only the girls 100 separating the events.
Schoch said the pace of the meet gave Beight only seven minutes between races instead of the usual 10, but it didn't bother the senior standout.
"The last few weeks it seems like there wasn't a lot of time between the two races," Beight said. "I was still out of breath when I got into the blocks (for the 100), but it's hard to complain when you are running the two shortest races back-to-back. We'll see what the schedule is at state."
Also qualifying for state were Butler in the 110 hurdles (fourth, 15.88), Chris Miller in the 1,600 (fourth, 4:32.29) and the 3,200 relay (third, 8:10.1) of Evans, Eli Hall, Kerr and Miller.
Butler also was sixth in both the high jump (6-0) and 300 hurdles (41.36), and James Lachey placed sixth in the shot put (46-5 1/4).
The 800 relay of Evans, Luke Lachey, Harrison Morosky and Iain McCormick was seventh in 1:34.28. In the pole vault, McCormick was seventh (11-6) and Ben Murphy was ninth (11-0).
Luke Lachey was eighth in the 400 (52.88), and Hall was ninth in the 1,600 (4:47.98) and 16th in the 800 (2:20.41). Evans was 10th in the 800 (2:03.09), and Miller placed 10th in the 3,200 (10:38.6). Luke Wallace competed in the high jump, but did not clear the initial height of 5-10.
lead girls track team
Dareth Douglass was runner-up in the discus (127-11) and Whitney Schaefer was fourth in the 300 hurdles (46.3) for the girls track team in the Division III regional meet.
The two also combined with Maddy Morosky and Molly Smith to finish second in the 800 relay in 1:48.46.
Douglass also placed seventh in the shot put with a personal-best 35-11 3/4.
"Dareth and Whitney had great regional meets," Schoch said. "Dareth had her best-ever shot put throw even though she didn't get out (to state), and she's going to state in the discus.
"Whitney had a great 300 hurdles, knocking more than a second off her previous (personal record). We had a lot of PRs throughout the lineup."
Smith broke the program record in the 800 (2:18.59), but fell one place short of state by placing fifth. She bettered the previous mark of 2:20.23 set by Laura Satterthwaite in 2012.
"Molly broke the 800 record in a really competitive race," Schoch said. "She ran down runners at the home stretch, but didn't make it out. I can't remember the last time a 2:18 didn't make it to state (in the 800)."
Grandview finished eighth (29) behind champion Marion Pleasant (45) as 43 teams scored.
The Bobcats also had two eighth-place relays -- the 3,200 relay (10:07.67) of Nina Amicon, Liza DeVere, Taylor Wilson and Smith and the 1,600 relay (4:18.19) of Morosky, Schaefer, DeVere and Smith.
Emma Hall was 11th in the 1,600 (6:04.95), and Amicon was 14th in the 800 (2:32.68).