NEW MIDDLETOWN - Morgan Rice maintained a smile on her face, despite knowing she dreaded that one lap around the track.
The John F. Kennedy senior and Miami University recruit had already broke two records at the Division III Springfield district track and field meet in the 100 and 300 hurdles on Friday. She also was a part of the 4x200 relay.
Every effort exerted over the hurdles took its toll on Rice. So running the first lap of JFK's 4x400-meter relay wasn't first on her list.
"Oh God, it's so painful," Rice said. "I'm already tired after three events. It's terrible."
She was one of five Eagles on the girls team, along with Natalie Hoso, Amber Brown, Nina Macali and Antonella LaMonica. LaMonica won the 100 (12.63) and 200 (26.13). Though there were only five girls on the team, Kennedy placed second with 74.5 points.
"Finishing runner-up with five scoring runners is just crazy," Rice said. "They're all really good. It's good to be part of a good team - small, but mighty."
Rice ran 14.73 in the 100 hurdles and 44.60 in the 300 hurdles.
"In the 100s, I'd like to be going faster right now, but I'll take it," Rice said. "The 300s, I seem to be stuck on 44. Hopefully I can get that at regionals - get 43. That's my goal."
Meanwhile, JFK's boys finbished second as well with 86 points with Chad and Carl Zallow, Zach Watt and Jacob Coates.
Carl won the 100 (11.35) and 200 (22.37), while Chad set meet records in the 110 hurdles (14.24) and 300 hurdles (38.54). Carl is the defending Division III 100 state champion, while Chad is the defending 110 and 300 state champion in Division III.
The JFK foursome also won the 4x200 relay in a meet record time (1:30.70) and 4x400 relay (3:24.29). The 4x400 relay was .10 seconds off of the meet record set by McDonald in 2009.
Watt won the 400 (49.93).
"They're great too," Rice said. "I'm glad our small girls team is doing as well as the boys team."
However, the night belonged to the McDonald Blue Devils for the third straight year. Both the boys and girls captured district titles. McDonald boys won with 149 points, while the girls amassed 164 points.
The McDonald boys have won districts every year since 2008.
Blue Devils boys coach Lou Domitrovich said winning at Springfield High School is not always a given.
"I think it's a testament to the kids committing to our program, our community, our school and everything like that," he said. "The parents buy into this year in and year out."
McDonald's Christian Smith won the discus on Wednesday (174 feet, 4 inches) and shot put (54-5), while Bobby Johnson had a meet record in the 1,600 (4:21.07) and won the 3,200 (9:50.63).
The Blue Devils also won the 4x800 relay on Wednesday, while Tyler Cvetkovich took the boys pole vault (10-6).
Domitrovich said his coaching staff vaulted his boys to district title.
"It sounds cliche', but we have some of the best coaches in the area all at our school," he said. "My sister, Mary, with the throws, John Fields (sprints) and Chris Rupe (distance). They all know what they're doing."
The boys won without one of their integral cogs - sprinter Jonah Walp, who tore a quad muscle on Wednesday. His status is day-to-day.
"We've had some ups and downs, but a lot of the guys stepped up today," he said.
As for the girls, they were led by McDonald's Tory Ross and Jai'Lyn Mosley taking 1-2 in the shot put and discus. Ross won the shot put on Wednesday (41-9), while Mosley took first in the discus (144-7).
Heidi Hoffman pulled the double by winning the 1,600 (5:25.73) and 3,200 (11:42.30).
The Blue Devils took the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 relays - including the 4x800 on Wednesday.
McDonald girls coach Mary Domitrovich said the 22-strong team has learned from the past athletes.
"The kids have seen some of the older kids come through and the hard work they put in," she said. "They understand that and accept that from day one."
As for Rice, the defending Division III 100 hurdles state champion, she's trying to get the 300 hurdles on a state championship level as well.
"I'm feeling a lot stronger in the 300s because I keep pushing myself more than I did last year," Rice said. "Last year I focused on the 100s. This year, I'm trying to do both."
PUT UP YOUR DUKES: Mineral Ridge's Ethan Dukes won the boys long jump with 6-2. He also qualified in the 100 (third) and part of the 4x100 relay that took third.