It is rare a mind would drift away from football during the fall at Newark Catholic.
But as the Green Wave were winning a Licking County League title and making another playoff run, a couple football players would take a quick moment to think about track. It might have just been a quick text or tweet, but NC assistant coach Zak Holland knew his runners were ready for the spring.
“The kids last year kind of surprised themselves by getting to the regional finals in the (400 relay),” Holland said. “From that point on, they decided they really wanted to make a run at state. … They have been working toward their goals, and they have never wanted to settle.”
The foursome of Chris Meek, Anthony Wing, Blake Baker and Luke Ceneviva hold the fastest time in the 400 relay in the Division III regional at Fairfield Union heading into today’s semifinals. The finals are Friday.
The Green Wave qualified almost their full team to the regional, and the relays are the headliners. The 800 relay of Ceneviva, Baker, Meek and Kevin Lally and the 1,600 relay of Baker, Meek, Lally and Jared Jeffries each hold the second-fastest times to Berne Union. The 3,200 relay of Meek, Lally, Tanner Ernest and Reilly Mentel also is in position to make a run for qualifying to the state.
“They have looked ahead,” Holland said. “They came up to me after district prelims and said: ‘Hey, this is what this team ran. This is what we are going to be looking at next week.’ But as soon as they say that, they say: ‘But that is only if we focus on what we need to do.’ They are humbled, but they also know what they have coming ahead of them.”
Unfortunately, the NC girls did not have as much success. But it was through no fault of their own. The Central District had just one meet for Division III girls, and the fast-improving Green Wave were stuck behind perennial powers Columbus Academy, Columbus School for Girls and Grandview Heights.
Twenty-four teams scored in the meet, and NC had four fifth-place finishers. Freshman Megan Stanton was a part of three of them. One of the Green Wave’s few qualifiers was Mary Richardson, who is seeded third in the 3,200.
“When the girls got done, they were happy with how they did,” Holland said. “They were bummed that they didn’t get to go on to regionals, but they were content with how they ran. They knew when they crossed that line that they gave everything they had.”