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Ohio track, Day 1

June 6, 2008 - Mike Mathison
ife was good for a lot of people during Friday's Ohio State Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University.

Unfortunately, it was way too hot to be helpful for the athletes and the wind was howling, into their faces down the homestretch, to hurt the quality of times.

Some things were rather obvious, though:

The university is getting way too protective of their precious infield grass. It's really OK for kids to throw up on it and OK for us to move about it to take photos.

Whether it is Ohio or West Virginia, track and field officials really have to learn their manners -- please and thank you are absent from a lot of vocabularies.

There is no reason why the best eight times in relays advance while the top four in heat advance in the sprints -- 100, 200, 400 and both hurdle events.

Case in point is Steubenville's DeTroy Smith. He finished sixth in his heat at 23.17, but would have qualified if in the other heat.

In the same prelims, Streetsboro's Kasey Schwing ran 22.71, but happened to be in the fast heat and, although he had the sixth-fastest overall time, will not run the 200 on Saturday.

I don't want to hear that's how it's always been. It's time for a change. But, that six-letter word is used much more like a four-letter word.

"We've never done it that way before," is never an answer and shouldn't be now.

In the Division II 300 hurdles, a 41.19 qualified, but three faster times did not make the finals.

Middletown's Alex Trent had the sixth-fastest time in the 400, but he can't compete in the final, even though two slower times made it.

The eight fastest times, regardless of which heat, should be in the finals in those five sprints. Period.

No excuses by the officials.

Get it right.

In the boys 4x100 relay, six of the eight fastest times came in the second heat.

It was my pleasure to witness, up close, Anna High School's Laura Gehret set a state meet record in the Division III girls high jump with a leap of 5-8 1/4. She just missed the state record of 5-9 on her first and third attempts.

Bellaire St. John's and coach Bubba Kapral are on pace to score in all 13 events in which it brought participants. That is unheard of and gives the Lady Irish a shot to defend their state team title.

Good luck to the athletes from Big Red, Catholic Central, Indian Creek, Harrison Central and Buckeye Local who will run on Saturday.

Your best is all you can ask and all you can give.


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