It was a relay race for the ages. Mason had the fastest time coming into the State Meet, and Gahanna Lincoln was the defending State Champs. It had all the makings of a great race, but no one knew how great of a race it would be. Both teams were up towards the front for most of the race, but it was Westerville Central who led through most of the race. In the final stretch of the third leg, Mason’s Faith Min took over the lead. She handed to senior anchor Elizabeth Brush. About 25 meters back was Gahanna who was in fourth place when Ari Redmond handed the baton to super sophomore Madison Martinez. Martinez had been the hero last year as a freshman, holding off a late charge from Centerville’s Lainey Studabaker. This year, she was the one who was the chaser. After the first lap, the gap remained the same. It was Mason in first, Kings in second, Westerville Central in third and Gahanna Lincoln still about 25 meters back in fourth. Brush was looking very strong and it seemed that Martinez was just too far back to have a chance. As they started down the backstretch you saw the gap start to narrow. Martinez turnover was getting quicker as she starting closing the distance between her and Brush. Around the final turn there were just a few meters separating them, and Martinez made a move to the outside. The two were in an all out sprint towards the finish line, and Brush would not give in. As they neared the finish line it was almost too close to call. In the end, it was Brush of Mason holding off the late charge by Martinez of Gahanna Lincoln to secure the win. In the process, both teams crushed the existing state record by 4 seconds, and led 10 other teams to run 9:20 or better. Six teams ran 9:06 or better. It was an unbelievable way to start off the Division 1 State Track Meet.
On the boys side it was Worthington Thomas Worthington who was victorious. Much like the girls race, it wasn’t the eventual champion who led for the majority of the race. It was the boys from Louisville who spent a large part of the race in the lead. In the end it was Jha of Thomas Worthington outracing Louisville’s Chaplick down the final stretch. The winning time of 7:39.86 is the top 4×800 time in the nation this year.
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