The Perrysburg girls 3200 relay team hugs in celebration of their record-setting run in Friday’s Division I state championship race. THE BLADE/LORI KING
COLUMBUS — Redemption.
That is what the Perrysburg girls 3200 relay team has chased for a year since finishing a disappointing second place at the 2013 Division I state track and field championships.
The Yellow Jackets finally put an end to the pursuit on Friday evening when Jordan Doore, Taylor Monheim, Alexis Kemp, and Courtney Clody became champions by winning the eight-lap race. Clody crossed the finish line for a school and Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium-record time of 9:04.63.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view more photos
Clody, who will run at Ohio State next year, trailed Geneva's Emily Deering by approximately 30 meters when she received the baton from Kemp.
However, Clody caught up and surpassed Deering with approximately 200 meters left in the final leg and held on for the long-awaited victory.
"I'm so astonished really," Clody said. "I knew we could do it, but, of course, the fear of the unknown is before every race. The fact that it happened is just huge reassurance that if you put your mind to it, good things happen."
Clody, Monheim, and Doore were members of last year's relay team (along with Perrysburg graduate Emily Wyrick) that finished as state runner-up with a time of 9:16.64.
Each one of them spent the past year not forgetting what took place when the Yellow Jackets went into the race favored to win only to come away somber about second place.
Monheim, a senior, didn't want to waste a second chance at winning what has been one of the Yellow Jackets' strongest events in recent years.
She also wanted to close out her high school career with the opportunity to stand on the top step of the awards podium with her teammates.
"It's just amazing and it just makes it even sweeter that we came so close last year and didn't get it," Monheim said. "It was pretty rough last year. We came in so far ahead and then to see that taken from us, it was one of our huge motivations for us.
Clay's Haley Hess, Erin Gyurke, Sydney Hess, and Hannah Hess finished 16th in the race (9:47.0).
Clay hurdler Grace Winckowski advanced to the finals for both hurdles events after turning in a personal-best time of 14.91 for the 100 hurdles and a time of 45.90 in the 300 hurdles.
"It was definitely tiring," Winckowski said.
"But I knew that if I ran in control I could do well."
Perrysburg's win started off a solid opening day for northwest Ohio in the D-I competition.
In the only other final on Friday, St. Francis de Sales' and St. John's Jesuit's boy’s 3200 relay teams made it to the awards stand by running seventh and eighth, respectively.
David St. John, Ryan Maraldo, Steven Will, and Jason White turned in a time of 7:50.18 for the Knights.
The Titans’ Tevin Brown, Nicholas Jarrell, Benjamin Clark, and Jake Barnes completed the race in a time of 7:51.64.
Southview senior sprinter Malcolm Johnson showed up to the state meet at less than 100 percent after tweaking his right hamstring during a practice session earlier in the week. He still managed to advance to the finals in the 100 and 200.
Johnson, running with medical tape on his injured leg, turned in a time of 10.66 during his heat for the 100. He returned to the track for the 200 and qualified for the finals with a time of 21.78, which was the fourth-best time of the day.
"I'm probably around 75 percent," Johnson said. "It just depends upon the point that I'm in of my race when it actually starts hurting.
"I got out real strong in the 100 and I was looking to run an ultimate P.R. [personal record], then right at about 35 meters it started to hurt. I just started to pick up my knees and hoped that I would get into the finals.
"Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be at my best so I can take it."
Johnson opted not to run his leg of the Cougars’ 800 relay that entered state with one of the best qualifying times. Southview's Earl Armstrong, Nathan Hall, Matt Morrison, and Jay Lawrence placed eighth in their heat with a time of 1:30.42 and didn't earn a spot in the finals.
However, the Cougars’ 1600 relay (Armstrong, Frank Hayes, Lawrence, Pinckney) did earn a spot in the finals after winning their preliminary heat with a school-record time of 3:17.03, which was four seconds off the state record.
Southview defeated Glenville (3:17.16) in the fastest of the two preliminary heats.
"We ran great today," Pinckney said, regarding the Cougars' 1600 relay.
"Everyone stepped up. Everyone wants to win."
Pinckney also qualified for 400 finals after running second in his heat and finishing the race with a season-best time of 48.66, which was the third-best time of the day.