All eight times Shawnee junior Michael Tymoski ran through the second turn at Welcome Stadium on Saturday, his teammates yelled encouragement.
Every time Tymoski passed he was leading the 3,200-meter race. And he was leading at the end, holding off Kyle Bussard of Valley View by just over a second to win at the Division II regional meet.
“It started out a little fast for me, but it was good that I was out front the whole time to kind of control the pace of the race,” he said. “That makes it easier to finish the way you want and throws everybody else off a little bit because you’re running your race instead of their’s.”
Tymoski’s time of 9:48.17 takes him back to the state meet, where he finished seventh last year.
“I’m feeling I can go better than seventh this year,” he said. “It’s a big confidence boost to win regionals for the first time.”
Tymoski’s victory sparked Shawnee to a fourth-place team finish with 41.33 points behind co-champions Dunbar and Versaillies (66 points each) and third-place Caledonia River Valley.
Shawnee senior Tyler Greenwood advanced to state with a second in the 1,600 and a fourth in the 800. Greenwood, Tymoski, Will Holmes and Dusty Seelig also advanced with a second in the 4x800 relay.
“To go in all three, it’s awesome,” Greenwood said. “The experience of last year definitely helped - learning from mistakes and running smart and just overall working hard and being ready for this.”
Holmes also advanced with a third in the 1,600.
Urbana’s Christy Finney got a taste of the state meet last year in the 4x400 relay, but this year she will make the trip to compete in the 400 and the high jump.
“It’s awesome to get back there,” Finney said. “I’ve been working so hard for so long, and it finally pays off. It’s like a dream come true.”
Finney has been close before. The past two years she missed state by finishing fifth in the 400. This time she got fourth. Last year she was sixth in the high jump. This year she was fourth.
Northeastern finally broke through to state in the 4x100 with a fourth-place finish on the legs of seniors Caitlyn Gullett, Halle Raines, Hannah Rolf and Megan Simpson. After running a fourth-best 50.67 seconds in the preliminaries, the Jets ran 50.66 in the final to hold off Stivers.
“We knew we could be in that top four, but we had to perform,” Jets coach Dan Phillips said.
Their time in the finals was a personal record for the four. Phillips was not surprised to see them peak because the relay exchanges have become the focus recently with fewer individual events to prepare for.
“We work on that over and over and over again, and you could tell today that we did,” Phillips said. “That last handoff where other teams had trouble, we just shot out.”
The Jets will also take senior Ashlyn Lockwood back to state after she placed third in the shot put.
The Jets were disappointed when senior Cody Parker finished seventh in the high jump and did not qualify for a return to state, where he was fifth last year.
Also going to state are Jordan Adams of Northwestern and Lianne Masquelier of Greenon. Adams was third and the discus, and Masquelier was fourth in the 1,600.
Columbus Eastmoor dominated the girls meet with 82 points. Oakwood was second with 56.