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Hawken runner goes distance for gold
Hawken runner goes distance for gold
By TONY LANGE
The saying, "Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it," may not be so true when it comes to state titles at the track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Hawken School junior Ally Markovich knew exactly how previous 3,200-meter races at the big dance unfolded, and that helped her repeat the winning formula for a Division III state championship last Saturday, head coach Chris Farroni said.
"All week we just watched videos of past races to see how the 3,200 unfolds at the state level on a consistent basis," Farroni said. "It takes a balanced race to be in the hunt and to be able to make a move to be able to win it, because that's what happened in past races."
Running no slower than an 85-second split and no faster than a 78-second split per quarter mile, Markovich executed a near-perfect strategy, clocking a 5:33 first mile and a 5:31 second mile.
She started the race in 11th place after the first lap, worked her way up to sixth place at the one-mile mark and then held a steady third until the final lap, when she made her move and took over first place with 300 meters to go and never looked back en route to her state championship time of 11:04.53.
"You know what, right now I feel exhausted, but I feel so proud with everything I've accomplished with the help of everyone who supported me -- my coaches, friends and family," she said. "I was ecstatic when I took over first place, but I was also hoping that she wouldn't surge back. I was pretty surprised when she didn't put up that much of a fight."
Markovich's time was about 48 seconds faster than she ran the previous week at the regional meet, when she finished fourth -- barely making it to states.
"That day she went out a little too fast at the start of that race, so she took too much oxygen in too early in that race, and she wasn't able to maintain it at the regionals," Farroni said.
Also in the 3,200, Gilmour Academy sophomore Halle Markel placed fifth with a time of 11:18.01. In 2011, she was runner-up in that race with a time of 11:26.07, but the competition clearly was faster this year.
"I was happy with my performance," Markel said. "This year has been even more special, even though we've been less successful as our plan going into the meet. It really means a lot knowing my teammates are lined along the sidelines, and I can see my grandma and my aunts and uncles over here. So we know that our best year is still ahead of us, but we gave it the most heart this season."
Markel's teammates, juniors Briah Owens, Alexis Anton and Meghan Pryatel and freshman Caitlin Whetstone, also stood on the winners' podium to help earn the Lady Lancers a sixth-place team finish with 22 points. Versailles claimed the team title with 39 points.
Owens was the top scorer from Gilmour with 11 points as she was runner-up in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.59 seconds and sixth in the 200 dash at 26.11.
"It's really hard to score points at the state meet, so I'm just happy to be here and finish on the podium in my races," Owens said. "Finishing second in the 100 was so amazing. I was so proud. I just came out today relaxed and more cool than yesterday, so I knew I was going to place really well."
Also placing individually, Anton took fifth in the 800 run with a time of 2:18.5. She was able to pass five girls in the second half of the race, including two of her opponents in the final 200 meters.
"I was excited. Once I got to the top of the stretch, I'm like, 'Ope, I'm almost done, so I might as well give it everything,'" Anton said. "I was kind of nervous before I ran, because I know how I run being tired, but all year I had yet to run it being fresh. The entire year this is my first fresh 800, so I was excited, but at the same time I was nervous. Everything worked out."
Both Anton and Markel qualified for the 1,600 but elected not to run it and save their energy for their high-seeded races at the end of the meet, Gilmour head coach Jeff Klein said.
It turned out to be a good decision, because the eighth-place finisher in the 1,600 ran a 5:09, and neither Anton nor Markel have run faster than a 5:15, he said.
The Lady Lancers also stood atop the winners' podium for their four-by-800 team of Pryatel, Whetstone, Markel and Anton, who placed sixth with a time of 9:41.22.
"Each set of girls is their own," Klein said. "When you're at Gilmour and they see the names that come before them, a lot of people say, 'Oh, that's not so-and-so,' but they've got to be their own. They've got to carve their own niche, and they've got to set their own mark. I think today they really did. They came into their own, and they ran for themselves, and they ran for the team, and they did well."
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