The only thing that could slow Wayne from winning its own high-end track and field invitational was unrelenting rain that drenched Heidkamp Stadium on Friday night. Fifteen minutes into an early finals start, the gloomy inevitable overtook the entire region.
After waiting nearly 90 minutes, multiple lightning count-down restarts and no letup of the worsening weather in sight, Wayne coach and meet coordinator Mike Fernandez shut down the 19th edition of the event that drew 67 teams and 1,434 competitors. Many schools were from out of town, so there was no chance of requesting those teams to stay over and start up Saturday.
“I wanted to wait but we just had so many teams from Columbus and Cleveland,” he said. “It was the right thing to do, unfortunately.”
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Wayne posted its only first during Thursday’s shuttle hurdle relays (1:00.23) and added seconds in the hammer throw and high hurdles to mount a 59-33 advantage over Lakota West. Springfield (31) was third.
Mason (62) was pulling away with the girls team lead over Wayne and Pickerington Central (46 each). Lima Senior and Centerville shared fourth with 43 each.
“It was great competition,” Fernendez said, “exactly what we needed to see. We didn’t want to see anyone get hurt with the conference meets coming up.”
There were several outstanding efforts on Thursday and Friday before the weather took over:
• Meadowdale’s Wayne Lawrence blew out a 10.63 to easily win the 100 meters. He hadn’t run that distance in a meet since he was a freshman. Lawrence had planned on running the 400, also. He’s a two-time Division II state runner-up in that event.
It’s an easy stretch to imagine him trying the 100-400-200 triple in the postseason. The ultimate sprinter’s grind, he’s capable of sweeping all three races at state.
• Springfield junior Dyier Smith burned a personal-best 14.42 to capture the 110 high hurdles. That was an exceptionally fast race, with Wayne sophomore Justin Harris placing second (14.52). The top six placers ran 14.75 or better.
Smith also would have been a 300 hurdles contender and was ticketed for Springfield’s 4x100 relay.
• Fort Loramie stunned a loaded field to win the boys 4x800 relay on Thursday (8:01.84). A small Shelby County League school, the Redskins whipped a predominantly D-I field.
• Wayne junior Taylor Robertson won the girls 100 hurdles (14.71). Lima Senior junior Suerethia Henderson missed the 100 record by a thousandth of a second (11.97) and out-leaned Kaylyn Heath of Lakota East (11.98) in another quality finish.