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McDavid, Salheigh pace Cougars at regional

It was just one of those days for Jamari McDavid.

An emerging talent, she couldn’t get her long jump steps down during Saturday’s Division II regional track and field meet at Welcome Stadium. She was fouling too often and not coming close to the takeoff board; no-no’s for that event.

“At the beginning it was a struggle,” McDavid reflected. “Everything was going wrong. I couldn’t do anything right.”

Comforted by teammates and coaches, the freshman tweaked her approach and popped a winning jump of 17 feet, 6.75 inches.

Then she and teammate Iman Salhieh trumped that by placing 1-2 in the 100 meters. Both girls ran on the 4x100 relay that placed fourth.

That all added up to the most productive day of any area competitors and helped the Cougars tie for fourth as a team.

The top four in each event advance to next week’s season-ending state meet at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Just three points separated the top five girls teams. Meadowdale won (45), followed by Versailles (44) and Wauseon (43). Kenton Ridge and Ottawa-Glandorf each had 42.

Dunbar won the boys team title, 91-43 over runner-up Carroll.

Joining the Cougars in the D-II state meet will be Greenon junior shot putter Dan Wallace. The Shawnee boys 4x800 relay was fourth on Wednesday.

McDavid, just a freshman, burned a 12.31 and out-leaned Salhieh (12.32) in the 100. They both joined Karrah Batten and Sara Thornton to place a state-qualifying fourth in the 4x100 relay (50.58).

Salhieh, a talented sophomore, added a third in the 200 (25.39).

Kenton Ridge will need similar efforts from both should it hope to contend for a state team title next week.

“I want (a state championship) so bad,” said McDavid, her gold medals hung around her neck and clanging non-stop. “I couldn’t sleep (Friday night) because I wanted to win so bad.”

Wallace was just so mad. That’s because, like McDavid, he couldn’t get anything going in his specialty.

Finally, with his last throw, Wallace uncorked a 49-2.50 heave. That vaulted him from seventh to a season-extending fourth.

“I don’t know what it was,” he said. “I was really mad at myself and upset. … I had steam coming out of me, I was so mad.”

That clutch final throw helped ease a meltdown in the shot put that he had in last year’s regional. “It turned out great,” he said.

In the dreaded fifth spot and missing state by one place were the Kenton Ridge boys 4x400 relay and Greenon’s Lianne Masquelier in the 1,600.

The Divisions I, II and III state meets are Friday and Saturday at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

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