Graduating high school is a milestone moment in life. But Greeneview High School senior Ocean Morris might miss that special moment Saturday.
Instead, she may have to settle for hearing her name over the public-address system at the Division II state track and field championships in Columbus.
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With a spirited kick down the final stretch, Morris went to the head of the class in the 1,600 run to win the D-II regional championship at Piqua High School on Saturday. She advances to the state championships Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Once finished there, she hopes to race back to Jamestown in time to attend graduation ceremonies.
“I hope to make it to my graduation,” Morris said. “But yeah, that’s definitely OK.”
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Thoughts of a scheduling dilemma didn’t slow her down. Running about sixth among the lead pack entering the final turn, Morris picked up the pace and held on to win in 2 minutes, 17 seconds.
“I knew I had to kick so I just gave it everything I had,” Morris said. “I’m a senior so this is my last hoorah, I guess.”
Morris qualified for state in 2015 as a member of the Rams’ 1,600 relay team. But she wanted the feeling of doing it on her own. She got it after edging Tippecanoe’s Kaili Titley by 1.68 seconds.
“It was probably one of the greatest feelings I’ve had, ever,” she said. “I knew I had to give it everything. When I saw I was not in fourth I just had to go. If she caught me at the end, as long as I got fourth and made it to state that’s all I really cared about.”
Kenton Ridge senior Jamari McDavid won her third regional championship in the long jump and finished second in the 100 and 200 dashes. She wasn’t upset, but felt she could have done better.
“Yes I do, most definitely. This next week I really have to push myself,” said McDavid, who has placed at state seven times overall in those three events. “I got out of the blocks good in the 100 and 200, it’s just the middle of the race was killing me. I have to work on that this week. Other than that I’m pretty excited where I am right now.”
McDavid’s long jump title gave her five regional championships overall. She won the 100 dash and long jump as a junior and freshman. She finished second in both as a sophomore.
On Saturday, McDavid won the long jump with an effort of 18 feet, 8.25 inches. She was the state champion in 2014 and finished second as a sophomore and junior.
“I think I can go much further. I just need to practice some more and get my technique down,” McDavid said. “That’s definitely the goal. I plan on sweeping (my events).”
Shawnee junior Grace Holmes had the drive to reach state last season. But nerves derailed her bid in the 1,600 with a seventh-place finish. She rebounded Saturday to finish second in 5:11.55, just 0.23 seconds behind winner Ashleigh Prugh of Cincinnati Indian Hill.
“I already train as hard as I can. I knew this would be the last meet (if she didn’t qualify) so I ran as hard as I could,” Holmes said of the pre-race pep talk she gave herself. “I left it all out on the track. … “It’s nerve-wracking. You’re trying to take every little ounce of energy you have left and try to give it.”
Holmes dropped about 10 seconds off her personal best to help her achieve her goal of staying among the top four. On Thursday she qualified for state with the Braves’ 3,200 relay team.