Pickerington Central Roundup: Tigers girls track team's 400 relay sprints to second at state

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Central's Ramiya Roy competes in the 400-meter relay in the Division I state meet June 5 at Hilliard Darby. The relay finished second in 48.21 seconds.

A few days after the Division I state meet, Pickerington Central girls track and field coach Darrin Green still marveled that the Tigers’ 400-meter relay pulled out a second-place finish June 5 at Hilliard Darby.

Senior anchor Zora Shakhan and Cincinnati Princeton’s fourth runner, Madison Roshelle, both hit the finish line in 48.21 seconds, although Shakhan crossed the finish line hundredths, if not thousandths, of a second ahead of Roshelle.

“You talk about an edge. I don’t know what they were gauging it on,” Green said. “It must have been a hair or something.”

In any case, Shakhan anchored a relay that also included senior Kaiah Hicks and juniors Ramiya Roy and Rhani Roy and scored eight of the team’s nine points.

Senior Grace Adegoke was eighth in the high jump (5 feet, 4 inches), and Central tied Medina and Twinsburg for 22nd place behind champion Mentor (70) as 75 teams scored.

Sophomore Amber Carter fought a calf injury to finish 16th in the 1,600 (5:29.93).

“It went as well as it could have. We were pleased,” Green said. “That relay was a testament to our three coaches (Steve Robinson, Matt Terrell and Brittni White) who work with them the most. This was a great run for that (400 relay) and those girls also got to the regional in other relays (the 800 and 1,600). 

“Those coaches did a great job talking them through and getting them ready. None of them had been to state. They did an incredible job and put forward the best performance they could.”

Adegoke was making her second consecutive appearance at state, after finishing 16th in the high jump (5-0) as a sophomore.

Other athletes eligible to return from a team that won the OCC-Buckeye Division and the district 1 title include junior Deborah Smith (sprinter) and sophomore Jordan Archie, a regional qualifier in the 100.

Central's Gavin Kelly (left), Jailen Willis and Garner Wallace celebrate their third-place finish in the 3,200 relay during the Division I state meet June 4 at Hilliard Darby.

Boys team finishes

eighth at state

Led by the third-place 3,200 relay of seniors Chase Balko and Garner Wallace and juniors Gavin Kelly and Jailen Willis (7:49.77), the boys team scored 18 points to tie Brunswick and Mount Vernon for eighth place behind champion Pickerington North (43) as 84 teams scored.

Despite falling short of his desired time, sophomore Troy Lane was third in the 100 (10.78). Westerville Central’s Justin Braun won in 10.47 and Cincinnati Moeller’s Brandon White was second (10.64).

“I was trying to go down to 10.5. My fastest time is 10.65, but I’ve been struggling with groin problems the past two meets. I just wanted to get top three,” said Lane, who wore a brace on his upper left leg. “This year, I was really just trying to get down to a 10.8, but I finished with a 10.6. I’m not mad about that. My coaches and I put in the work and helped me get that time down.

“I’m only a sophomore competing with juniors and seniors. That’s exciting. Maybe I can get a 10.4 next year.”

Wallace, a Northwestern football recruit, also was fifth in the 800 (1:54.31), while junior Kwabena Asamoah placed seventh in the shot put (54-10 ¾).

“As soon as I finished the race, I thought, ‘I’m done with track.’ I’m tired of killing myself,” Wallace said. “I’m glad I made it to the podium. Taking a year and a half off of running because I don’t do cross country and going into now, I’m just happy I got here. I’m definitely the heaviest dude here, the biggest dude, so just being able to do distance stuff now after taking a year and a half off, it’s really crazy when you think about it.”

Also expected back are juniors Josh Harlan (sprints), Iyrenn Harrison (sprints) and Kyle Imboden (throws) and sophomore Derek Grimes (jumps).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

TRACK & FIELD

OCC-Buckeye standings: Boys — Lancaster (168), Pickerington Central (153), Reynoldsburg (115), Groveport (51), Newark (30), Central Crossing (6); Girls — Central (164), Lancaster (158.5), Newark (95), Reynoldsburg (63), Groveport (38), Central Crossing (2.5)

Seniors lost: Boys — Josiah Adams, Chase Balko, Genesis Boakye, Jacob Brown, Matthew Brown, John Bush, Malachi Frimpong, Gary Garrison, Bryce Mims, Nick Mosley, Brycen Rogers, A.J. Sanders, Kenneth Santos, Josh Smith, Garner Wallace and Quinn Wills; Girls — Grace Adegoke, Taylor Arnold, Carmen Brown, Kaiah Hicks, Chidi Mba, Alissa McKnight, Semmie Moore, Zora Shakhan and Grace Vega

Key returnees: Boys — Kwabena Asamoah, Josh Harlan, Kyle Imboden, Troy Lane and Jailen Willis; Girls — Jordan Archie, Amber Carter, Ramiya Roy, Rhani Roy and Deborah Smith

Postseason: Boys — First (104) at district, fourth (42) at regional behind champion Hilliard Darby (68), tied for eighth (18) at state behind champion Pickerington North (43); Girls — First (85) at district, 12th (19.5) at regional behind champion Gahanna (84), tied for 22nd (9) at state behind champion Mentor (70)