By ANDY WOLF
TIFFIN — Last Saturday at the Division III district meet at Fremont Ross, St. Wendelin’s girls 3,200 relay team qualified for the regional meet in second place with a time of 10:16.51.
On Wednesday, the team of Victoria Volpe, Jocelyn Reinhart, Maddie Borer and Sophia Volpe shaved more than 23 seconds off that time to finish fifth in the Division III regional meet at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
Still, the group’s time of 9:53.71 fell just short of qualifying for next weekend’s state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Area schools were shut out of state qualifications in Wednesday’s contested finals. Running preliminaries aside from the 3,200 relay also took place Wednesday. The meet will wrap up on Friday. The top four finishers in each event advance to state.
The Mohawks finished just over a second behind fourth-place Holgate’s time of 9:52.65.
“I’m really, really proud of our team,” Victoria Volpe said. “(Our time) is a wonderful accomplishment. I just can’t believe it.”
Despite not qualifying for state, the group could have another crack at it next year. Both Victoria Volpe and Jocelyn Reinhart are juniors, while Maddie Borer is a sophomore and Sophia Volpe is a freshman.
“It is slightly depressing that we didn’t qualify, but I know we were able to go as fast as we could,” Victoria Volpe said. “This is just one more step for next year to get even better.”
Also in the girls regionals, Lakota senior Cariss Reese will compete in Friday’s finals in both of her running events.
In the 300 hurdles, Reese finished second in her heat to earn an automatic qualification to the finals, garnering the fourth-fastest overall time at 46.91.
“I felt really fast today with my time,” Reese said. “I try not to think about the pressure or things like that.”
Reese didn’t finish in the top two of her heat in the 100 hurdles, but she was among next four fastest times to qualify for the final.
“Toward the end, I felt like I was slowing down,” Reese, who will also compete in the pole vault Friday, said. “In the finals, I want to run strong the whole way and build rather than die.”
Van Buren’s 1,600 relay team of Lauren Wise, Carlee Schmelzer, Rachell Resnik and Bri Lasley advanced to the final after winning its heat in 4:10.66. Archbold had the fastest qualifying time at 4:07.13.
“We didn’t PR, but we still ran a pretty good race,” Lasley said. “It’s hard not to get nervous, but it’s better to be confident so your nerves aren’t all over the place.”
The Black Knights led into the final leg of the race as Resnik handed the baton off to Lasley to finish the job.
“I just hope my teammates do well and get me a good spot,” Lasley said on anchoring the race.
In the boys regional, Hopewell-Loudon’s Noah Breidenbach qualified for Friday’s finals in two individual events.
Breidenbach had the seventh-fastest time in the 400 at 51.7.
“(My time) is up there with my fastest times,” Breidenbach said. “I know I’m going to have to run faster Friday, for sure.”
Breidenbach also teamed with Elancio Velasquez, Patric Gase and Eli Tooker to qualify for the 800 relay final.
“We’re going to have to make sure we have clean, good handoffs,” Breidenbach said, looking ahead to Friday’s finals. “It makes yourself nervous, but you have to push yourself harder to run faster.”
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