The Tecumseh High School 3,200 boys relay team will go down as the best in school history. But the team of Stephen Mattingly, Ethan Adams, Clay Mastin and Garrett Gemmaka isn’t ready to be retired to the record books just yet.
The Arrows kept their dream season alive with a runner-up finish at the Division II district track and field championships Wednesday at Piqua High School. Tecumseh qualified for next week’s regional meet by finishing among the top four teams.
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“I’m really honored to have this chance. Getting to regionals is a big milestone for all of us,” said Mattingly, a junior who ran the first leg. “This is what we’ve been shooting for.”
Tecumseh never fell below third place in what turned into a three-team race with Butler and Trotwood-Madison. The Arrows held a narrow lead when Adams, a junior running the second leg, handed off to Mastin. Butler, Trotwood and Tecumseh each led at one point during the first and second legs. When Mastin, the lone senior on the team, handed off to junior Gemmaka to start the fourth leg Butler had started to pull away by about seven seconds.
Butler held on to win in 8 minutes, 8.81 seconds to Tecumseh’s 8:10.24.
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“We just wanted a good time to set ourselves up for a good spot at regionals,” Gemmaka said. “We knew we were probably going to advance so we got the time we wanted there.”
The Arrows’ time was 1.8 seconds off their school-record 8:08.44 established at the Clark County meet May 8. The previous record of 8:18 stood since 1974.
“Going down in Tecumseh history as the best 4x8 team is an honor,” Adams said. “Beating a record that’s 43 years old is insane. I’m really proud of everyone. … We knew we were going to have a good 4x8 team, but we never thought we were going to get the record.”
The Arrows’ qualifying run came a few minutes after the Tecumseh Arrows did the same with a spirited come-from-behind effort to grab the fourth and final spot. Sophomore Kylee Mastin started the final lap shoulder-to-shoulder with Northmont’s Terri’Anna Lewis in a battle for fourth. Mastin pulled away down the backstretch as Tecumseh’s 10:30.61 beat Northmont by 18 seconds.
Watching from the infield was Clay Mastin, Kylee’s brother.
“I’m always cheering her on. She does a great job,” Clay said. “The effort she gives, especially on the last stretch, makes me want to try harder.”
He’ll get another chance to cheer on his sister next week at regional, along with her 3,200 teammates in senior Natalie Allen, junior Gracie Perkins and Mendoza.
“It means so much qualifying,” Clay Mastin said. “This is my first year running and for coach to bring me into this 4x8 team, it was something special. … I love these guys. They give great effort and I’m enjoying moving on to regionals.”
Springfield senior Quincy Scott, who finished second in the state in the long jump last season, won the D-I district championship with a leap of 22-11. Butler senior Daiton Sharp finished second with a best of 22-04.75.
“Coming into this meet I was just worried about getting a jump. I didn’t really care how far it was, I just knew I wanted to make the top four to go to regionals,” Scott said. “When I started warming up I was getting my mind right. Just thinking get a jump. After my first jump went 22-4, I was like alright I’m loose.”
Scott’s goal was to soar 23 feet. And he might have had he not fouled on a jump that drew a chorus of approving ahhhh’s from the spectators.
“Yeah (I hear it), but I try not to pay too much attention to them,” Scott said. “I don’t really feed off of attention. I just kind of do my thing.”
The meet resumes Friday in Piqua with field events at 5 p.m. and running finals at 6:30.