COLUMBUS - Twenty-two local athletes will lace them up at the Ohio State Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Stadium this weekend.
The meet gets under way at 9:30 a.m. Friday with five Division II field events and the Division III 4x800 relay.
The two in each heat of the 100, 200, 400, both hurdles and the four relays, plus the next five fastest, times will qualify for Saturday's finals.
HEADING WEST — Steubenville Catholic Central senior Taylor Zapolnik heads 22 local athletes who will compete in the Ohio State Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
-- Mike Mathison
There will be 16-member races in the 800, 1600 and 3200 on Saturday. The 4x800 relay championship begins each division on Friday.
"We expect, going in, to go and put up good performances," Steubenville Catholic Central head coach Rob Copeland said. His girls squad was district and regional runners-up. "We have a team full of girls who always run their best when it matters most, and the same thing goes for Doug (Maslowski, the lone Central boys participant).
"There are too many uncertainties when you go looking at points, but I believe we'll have a good showing."
Five Lady Crusaders are heading west.
Seniors Taylor Zapolnik and Michaela Gotta, junior Monica Rigaud and freshman Kara Kakascik will compete in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
Rigaud will be in the 100 hurdles, an event where she finished fourth a year ago at 15.85. Rigaud's 15.35 qualifying time is second in the heat and third overall.
Junior Moriah Vosteen will compete in the high jump, where she finished seventh last season at 5-2. Her 5-2 qualifier is tied for ninth. The leader is at 5-6.
"I think Moriah, more than anyone, benefitted from being in Columbus last year," said Copeland. "She understands the time schedule and it's not going to be new for her. She knows what to expect. For the most part, she was pretty healthy this year."
Central's relay teams are:
4x200: 1:45.63, third in heat, sixth overall.
4x100: 50.18, best in heat, second overall.
4x400: 4:04.94, fourth in heat, seventh overall.
"You can't overemphasize how important experience is," said Copeland. "And, the same goes for last week, too. A lot of people get to Navarre (the regional championship) and have their eyes opened. These girls have been there. They've been in the fire before. They are accustomed to this. They are used to how their season is supposed to end - running at Jesse Owens."
Maslowski's 14.23 is best in his heat and second overall.
"His is one of the most amazing efforts I've ever seen," said Copeland. "He's had various lower body injuries throughout the year and he's going to doctors almost daily just trying to get healthy to get onto the track.
"For him to do what he does with limited practice time is pretty remarkable. If you would have asked me a month or six weeks ago if he would be here right now, I would have said 'no way.'
"It's pretty scary to think of what he'd be running if he were completely healthy all year. He'd be in the mid-to-high 13s every time he ran."
Maslowski finished second last year at 14.85. He was the only underclassmen last year of the top four.
Chad Zallow of Warren JFK leads the qualifiers at 14.20.
The Division II meets begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The top qualifier of the 16 athletes is Indian Creek senior Alex Young in the 400.
Young's 49.91 puts him fourth in his heat and seventh overall.
He is in lane 5. Just inside is Vayante Copeland of Dayton Thurgood Marshall and his 48.87. Right outside is Chad Winner of Versailles and his 49.78. In lane 2 is Maliik Briggs of Columbus Eastmoor Academy and his 49.80.
Redskins teammate sophomore Max Lewis is 13th in the 800 at 1:58.26.
Steubenville will send five with Robert Hayden leading the way. His 100 time (11.27) is fourth in his heat and ninth overall.
Joey Nodianos is in the 110 hurdles with a 15.15, which is sixth in his heat and 13th overall.
Ja'Quan Lavender and his 50.81 in the 400 is eighth in his heat and 15th overall.
Hayden, Nodianos, Perrier Coleman and Garon Lytle and their 1:32.24 in the 4x200 are eighth in the heat and 16th overall.
Harrison Central's foursome of Dakota Malcomb, Josh Moore, James Thompson and Blake Yoho are seventh in their 4x400 heat (3:28.67) and 13th overall.
For the girls, Edison's Katelyn Pollock and her 15-11 in the long jump is 15th overall.
Big Red's Toshchel Demus is fifth in her heat of the 100 hurdles (15.45) and 10th overall. Elise Watts is 16th in the long jump (15-6).
Demus, Watts, Shilynn Crawford and Cierra Macon are eighth in their heat of the 4x100 (51.05) and 16th overall.