By Josh Brown
TROY — As Miami East’s Marie Ewing crossed the finish line, her face lit up.
“I thought I saw 2:15!” she yelled at Viking girls track coach Preston Elifritz, knowing that 2:16-plus was roughly the Miami East school record in the 800.
She discovered her exact time was 2:16.12 and headed over to the awards podium thinking she had the school record, while Elifritz jumped onto his cell phone to check the exact mark.
He found it — Juli Accurso’s 2:16.11 — and walked over to Ewing to give her the news.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said, her face sinking.
Though she missed the mark by the smallest possible measure of time, her performance at Friday night’s Division III regional track and field meet at Troy Memorial Stadium accomplished another important thing — giving her one more chance to get the record this season as Ewing joined Megan Kinnison in qualifying for next week’s state meet.
Ewing, a junior who had the fastest district qualifying time entering the regional, finished fourth in the 800, with the 2:16.12 being a new personal best. She will return to the state meet after qualifying as a freshman in the 800, as well.
“It gets rid of the nerves a little bit,” Ewing said of her previous experience. But the girls get better every year, too. This year, I’m just so blessed to be able to compete at state. I wanted first place, but I have another year for that.”
And as for chasing that school record?
“Yes,” she said simply when asked if Friday night’s near miss would give her added fuel going into state. “Next week, and next year, it will.”
Kinnison, meanwhile, found qualifying a struggle — and also found herself racing after the official results were delayed.
The Miami East senior, who finished 10th at state last season, was one of only two competitors entering regional competition with a throw of better than 120-0 from the district level. She fouled her first two throws on Friday night, though, with landing far out of bounds.
“It was tough,” she said. “I just calmed down and listened to my coaches. I had to listen to what they were telling me to do and just try to get into the finals.”
She landed a 105-10 on her final attempt to earn three more throws in the finals, though, then threw a 111-9 to finish fourth by better than a foot and claim the final state qualifying spot.
“It’s great to be going back,” she said, short of breath as she’d taken off running after grabbing her medal nearly a full hour after being taken to the awards area — there had been a delay on the results being finalized, and she had to reach graduation right after. “I didn’t throw the way I can throw today. But it’s great to be getting another chance.”
Kaitlyn Mack finished eighth in the 300 hurdles (50.18 seconds), and on the boys side, Gavin Horn finished 10th in the 1,600 (4:46.77).
Kinnison and Ewing will join Daniel Everett, who also qualified in the boys discus on Wednesday.
* McBride Takes 2nd
Last year, Newton’s Brady McBride wasn’t back to full speed by the time the regional rolled around.
Friday, he showed what he could do when he is close to it.
McBride finished second in the 3,200 at the Division III regional track and field meet Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium, allowing the state competitor in cross country to advance to the state track meet for the first time in his career.
McBride ran a time of 9:45.24, finishing second only to Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker’s 9:37.23. Siefker had easily won the 1,600 earlier in the day.
“This will be my first time at state track. I’ve been to state in cross country twice. Last year, I was injured and just trying to catch up on my training at this point,” McBride said. “It feels good. I didn’t feel great today. I wanted to win and defend my regional cross country title, but Brendan ran a great race.”
McBride had also qualified for the regional in the 1,600, as did Bethel’s Korry Hamlin, but both scratched in the 1,600 to focus on the 3,200. Hamlin narrowly missed qualifying for state, finishing fifth in the 3,200 in 9:49.56.
“It was kind of up in the air until a couple days ago,” McBride said of scratching the 1,600. “It was really tough to decide whether or not to drop it. But my best race has always been the two-mile, and we figured it was my best chance to make it to state.”
Newton’s Jack Yoder also ran in the 200 finals on Friday, finishing eighth (23.59 seconds).
* Buccs’ Bounty
Cade Harshbarger went 2 for 2 Friday.
Breanna Kimmel will make a return trip on her own.
And the Covington boys 4×400 team moved up a spot from the prelims, solidifying its spot at state.
All told, seven Covington Buccaneers will be advancing to next week’s state meet as six more punched their tickets at the Division III regional track and field meet Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium, joining Jett Murphy, who won the regional title in the pole vault on Wednesday.
After Harshbarger qualified in the 110 hurdles, finishing third in 15.45 seconds and ensuring that he’d be at state in at least one event, he still didn’t know what to expect.
“Honestly, I really haven’t thought that far ahead yet,” the Covington sophomore said. “I just want to try to make it in the 300s, also, then I’ll get to state and try to do my best there, too.”
Harshbarger qualified in the 300 hurdles, as well, finishing fourth in 40.79 seconds.
“I knew it was going to be tough to get into the top four,” he said. “But I’ve been working hard and been trying to get my times down. I felt loose, felt good. It definitely feels great (to qualify for state).”
The 4×400 team of Zane Barnes, Brandon Magee, Jayce Pond and Nathan Lyle also qualified for state, finishing third in 3:28.73 — more than three full seconds faster than their time from the preliminaries on Wednesday. They entered the regional race with the fourth-best time, but that time would have only been good enough for seventh on Friday. But the Buccs held strong to the third position throughout every leg of the race Friday night, continuously staying one step ahead of the competition.
Zach Parrett earned a spot on the podium, finishing seventh in the high jump by clearing 6-1. Covington’s 4×100 team of Shane Straw, Ethan Herron, Murphy and Magee also entered Friday night with the sixth-best time from the prelims, but a dropped baton DQed them in the finals.
Kimmel, meanwhile, was the lone Buccaneer girl to qualify for state, finishing fourth in the 100 in a time of 12.76 seconds.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I don’t feel any different right now, but I know I will.”
The sophomore has already been to the state meet last year on a relay team — and she said that having that experience actually made it a little tougher this year.
“It made me even more nervous,” Kimmel said. “I felt like I was supposed to do something, like I had to. I had to meet those standards, or else. I wanted to get to state every year, and I was a little nervous that I might not. But we had a really good senior with us last year, Heidi Cron, and she really helped us all out and encouraged us. Having that helped me out a lot this year.”
Kimmel almost qualified in a relay race again, running the 4×200 with Rayna Horner, Victoria Lyle and Shae Robinson. The team finished seventh in 1:50.24.
The Buccs had even more near misses Friday night, too. Carly Shell was fifth in the 1,600 (5:19.39) and Horner was fifth in the 400 (59.3 seconds), while Anna Dunn finished sixth in the 3,200 (11:42.63) and Natalie Snyder finished sixth in the 100 hurdles (16.94 seconds).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.