Columbus School for Girls track and field coach Jennifer Bunker liked what she saw from her 1,600-meter relay in the Division II regional meet that concluded May 25 at Lexington.
Freshmen Kayden Edwards and Carly Priest, sophomore Nyah Funderburke and junior Peyton Jackson combined to finish second in 4 minutes, 3.18 seconds to advance to the state meet Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"Our team demonstrated amazing resilience (to get through in the 1,600 relay)," Bunker said. "We gathered as a relay with the coaches and asked them to make a choice. We told them they had earned the right to be there and were in the mix to contend for a regional title, but they had to race. All four ran personal-best splits. I'm so proud."
The Unicorns scored in five of their seven regional events, but only the 1,600 relay advanced. The top four finishers in each event automatically advanced to state. In addition, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on time, height or distance statewide.
The 800 relay of Edwards, Asia Nguyen, Funderburke and Jackson finished fifth (1:47.44) and Nguyen placed sixth in the long jump (16 feet, 7 inches), but neither earned an at-large state berth.
Placing seventh were the 400 relay of Edwards, Nguyen, Emily Dewolf and Jackson (50.23) and Dewolf in the 100 (12.9).
"The (400 and 800 relays) ran well, just not well enough," Bunker said. "We ran a season-best in the (400 relay). The (800 relay's time) was not what we expected, not what the team is capable. I would be lying if said we were not disappointed, so it could have been easy to write off the (1,600 relay) after not qualifying in the other relays, but we were resilient."
Nguyen just missed advancing in the long jump, as Lodi Cloverleaf's Maddie Boltz earned the second at-large berth by jumping 16-7 3/4.
"Asia struggled with her takeoff in her first two jumps, but rallied to jump a (personal record) to sit fourth going into the finals," Bunker said. "She finished sixth and missed an at-large berth by 3/4 of an inch."
Also competing were Elizabeth Johnson in the discus (13th, 101-6) and Jolien Kusi in the shot put (14th, 30-7 1/4).
CSG totaled 19 points to finish 14th behind champion Creston Norwayne (65) as 39 teams scored.