Lumped in a loaded field, the Shawnee boys 4x800-meter relay was hoping for the best during Friday’s first day of the state track and field meet.
They placed fifth in the Division II event.
“If you had told me before the race that we’d run 7:54 and place fifth, I’d have laughed,” said veteran Braves coach Mike Garberich. “You never can tell when you go to state what’s going to be there.”
Friday’s first of two days at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium featured boys and girls finals in half the Divisions II and III high school field events, the 4x800 relays and preliminaries in all but the distance running events. The top eight qualifiers in each running prelim advance to today’s finals.
Garberich had a right to be giddy about the Braves’ success. In his 27th season as a Shawnee track coach, he can’t remember a more deserving foursome than senior Tyler Greenwood, junior Michael Tymoski and sophomores Dusty Seelig and Will Holmes.
They officially were timed in 7 minutes, 54.74 seconds. All four ran personal-best splits. Greenwood burned a 1:55 anchor leg.
That all accounted for the Braves knocking nine seconds off their fifth-place time at state last season. Three of those members returned.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better effort,” Garberich said.
That placing served as a warmup for Greenwood, Holmes and Tymoski. Greenwood will double in the 1,600 and 800 today. Holmes earned a 1,600 berth and Tymoski will have a go in the grueling 3,200.
• The West Liberty-Salem girls 4x100 relay posted the second-fastest finals-qualifying time (50.66) behind leader and defending D-III state team champ Versailles. Tigers members were freshman Morgan Freyhof, sophomores Michaela Rausch and Abigail Rabenstein and senior Megan Etgen.
• WL-Salem’s boys also had the sixth-best qualifying time in the D-III 4x400 relay (3:24.73). Members were Ross Hickenbottom, Taylor Cordell, Kelvin Shank and Conner Karg.
• WL-Salem’s Meghan Vogel is back to defend her state 1,600 title. She’ll also run in the 800. However, she won’t run the 3,200. That’s the event in which she gained wide-ranging acclaim last season for helping a fallen runner cross the finish line.