Granville was not interested in waiting its turn.
The Blue Aces’ Division I competitors might be ready to send them back to Division II. Granville took care of business Wednesday by winning the 3,200 relay during the regional meet at Pickerington North.
“It is really an unbelievable feeling,” Granville senior Kaitlyn Logan said. “I knew we were seeded first, but it is so unreal to know that we are first in the regional and going to state.”
The Blue Aces lowered their school record from what the 9:23.66 they ran to earn the district title, winning in 9:18.93 at this meet in their first year of Division I competition. Hilliard Davidson and Thomas Worthington each were less than three seconds behind.
Logan led off and gave Granville the lead.
“I just knew that I had to get them in a good position and try to stay with the leaders,” Logan said. “I feel like I did my job pretty well. It is kind of out of your control at that point, but you know that your teammates are strong and will pull through for you.”
Juniors Claire Lamb and Cassidy Carey followed and kept the Blue Aces in the front pack. Sophomore Micaela DeGenero finished it, taking the lead for good during the final 200 meters of her anchor leg.
“Even though it is super exciting that we won the regional, I think we were kind of expecting it and it is awesome to make that into a reality,” DeGenero said. “It was a little closer than maybe I had expected, but I guess it is something to expect at a higher level in Division I.”
Granville competes in the state meet June 7 at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Joining the Blue Aces in the season’s final meet will be Newark sophomore Tana Barrett.
Barrett cleared 5-feet-3 on her third and final try to clinch her first trip to the state. Barrett placed third, trailing New Albany’s Dena White and Canal Winchester’s Megan Tamasovich, who each cleared 5-4.
“I get nervous,” said Barrett, who will be competing June 8. “I like to get it on either the first or the second. I don’t like waiting for my third one.”
Barrett was not able to reach her district-winning height of 5-5, but she will have another chance next week. Qualifying was her primary goal.
In 2013, Barrett also cleared 5-3 but she missed out on a state berth because she had a higher number of misses than the fourth-place finisher. This time, only three of the six remaining competitors cleared 5-3, ensuring advancement.
“It’s relief,” she said. “I wanted it so bad last year and I missed it by one miss. I did feel (more comfortable), but there was still a nervousness because I knew this time these girls are a lot better. I had to keep competing with them.”
Licking Heights senior Bryan Justice in the boys pole vault was the area’s other champion. He cleared 15-0 to qualify for his second consecutive state meet.
Justice cleared 14-4, 14-8 and 15-0 on his first attempt to leave the rest of the field in his wake. Justice — who finished in a tie for sixth at the 2013 state meet — attempted to clear a personal-best 15-7, but he never could make a good run at it.
“Really for me, the first jump of the competition is the hardest,” Justice said. “You can put the bar wherever you want, but that first jump to know that you are in and you are going is the hardest one. I think I handled it well especially without run-throughs.”
Granville senior Byron Spruill was one of three competitors to follow Justice over 14-4, and he earned second place and his first career berth. Watkins Memorial’s Jarod Worcester (13-0) tied for eighth.
The Warriors’ Jerrod Lyon placed sixth in the long jump (20-7.5) and the Blue Aces’ Casey Lenfest seventh (20-7.5). Granville’s 3,200 relay finished ninth (8:11.37), and Watkins followed in 11th (8:17.65).
Qualifying to Friday’s finals were Lenfest in the 100 (11.04) and 200 (21.93) and the Warriors’ Hunter Holton in the 110 hurdles (15.15) and Gerald Brewer in the 300 hurdles (40.25). Watkins also qualified the 400 (43.17), 800 (1:29.41) and 1,600 (3:21.42) relays to the finals.
In the girls meet, the Wildcats’ Takia Barrett did not reach the final in the shot put (34-10.5) but she returns Friday to compete in the discus.
Blue Ace qualifiers to finals were Rachel Blumling in the 400 (58.34) and the 800 (1:45.07) and 1,600 (3:57.65) relays.
McKenzie Biniker in the 200 (25.95) and the 400 (49.37) and 800 (1:43.58) relays led the Warriors’ qualifiers to the finals, and the Hornets qualified the 400 (49.80) and 800 (1:44.55) relays.