She ran eight punishing laps around the track at Graham High School in first place, the final seven by herself. But Shawnee High School junior Olivia Warax knew she wasn’t alone.
“I don’t think there’s anything much harder than distance running,” Warax said following her 3,200-meter victory at the Division II district track and field meet Saturday. “If I didn’t have my teammates (encouraging me around the track) I wouldn’t get there. With (Audrey DeSantis) being gone competing is not the same at all.”
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DeSantis, Warax’s running mate, missed last week’s Central Buckeye Conference championships and is out for the rest of the season with mono. She was ranked No. 4 in the state.
“It’s hard not having her there,” Warax said. “But it’s more hard just knowing how bad she wants to be out there. She’s always there cheering us on.”
Maybe that’s one reason Warax spent the next six minutes after her race cheering on her competitors, bringing them water and lending them a shoulder to lean on as they regained their legs.
Warax won the 3,200 in 11:34.87 for a 46.48-second victory over Tippecanoe senior Katie Taylor. Warax stuck around the track until the final finisher, Kenton Ridge freshman Addison Brien, crossed the line 5:56.82 behind Warax.
“What’s her name?” Warax asked a Kenton Ridge runner sitting on the ground still catching her breath.
“Come on, Addison!” Warax cheered as Brien received additional applause down the frontstretch.
“Our coach teaches us that way,” Warax said a few moments later. “He treats us like we should be positive all the time so that’s how we are. He makes sure if we don’t have a positive attitude we fix it real quick.”
Shawnee freshman Abigail Klemmensen also qualified for next week’s D-II regional meet by finishing fourth in 12:42.80. Senior Emmy Lavoie also qualified in the 100. Warax was all smiles for them, too.
“I’m so proud. I think I’m happier about their race than I am about mine,” Warax said.
Also winning district titles on Saturday was Shawnee junior Robie Glass, including a district record in the 400 dash.
Glass swept his four events with victories in the 100 (11.33), 200 (22.66), 400 (48.66) and high jump (6-04.) His 400 time lowered the meet record 48.98 set by Versailles’ Dave Berger in 2000.
“I was trying to break the record and I did, so I accomplished one thing I had as a goal,” Glass said. “Still the same goals for regional – get top four. If your not first place it doesn’t matter (as long as you qualify for state). No pressure.”
Greenon’s Delaney Benedict won the 400 dash (58.51) and finished third in the 200 to advance.
Shawnee’s Alex Dyar won the 800 run (2:00.97).
Northwestern’s Korbin Spencer won the discus (176-10) and teammate Blake Jamison finished second. Adam Riedinger won the shot (58-05.75) with Jamison second.
Kenton Ridge won the 1,600 relay with Carson Jones, Owen Waters, Andrew Good and Justin Peterman.