Brookfield relay team runs one more time

Special to Tribune Chronicle Brookfield track and field coach Adam Hughes, left, with the Warriors’ 4x200 relay team, from left, Dionte Colwell, Nicholas Varga, Xavier Bailey and Alexander Bell.

Xavier Bailey said after this year’s Division III regional track and field meet that he had one goal — to take his teammates to the state meet and get them the experience on the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium track.

It didn’t seem that was going to happen after three legs of the 4×200-meter relay, as the Warriors were in last place.

Bailey took the baton and blasted past the rest of the field and shattered the school record with a time of 1:29.71.

It helped them win the regional title and eventually finish fourth at the state meet, but it also qualified these four Warriors for today’s New Balance Nationals Emerging Elite race at 1:50 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C.

“The best part of having this 4×200 meter relay team run one more meet is the chance that this team gets to prove themselves in a meet against the entire country,” junior Nicolas Varga said. “This meet is an opportunity of a lifetime that we may never receive a second chance at, and we will not take this meet for granted.”

Just as the this race will be memorable, so was the drive down to the meet at North Carolina A&T University.

“Oh boy, the drive down,” said Brookfield track and field coach Adam Hughes. “These kids are crazy and they will make fun of us coaches and we will dish it right back. It will be a fun and entertaining drive and weekend.

“But be truthful, they will probably sleep the whole way down.”

Well, maybe not.

“To entertain ourself we will likely sleep and make fun of the coaches like we always do because of their bald heads and how old they are,” Bailey said.

Bailey is also running in the Emerging Elites 200 at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

This trip is possible through the generous donations of a GoFundMe account which raised $2,167 of a $2,100 goal.

“So hopefully the kids have fun this weekend and make the community proud because the Brookfield community has stood behind us and helped us get the money for this to be possible,” Hughes said. “So we would like to thank everyone in the Brookfield community and everyone who helped make this possible.”

That’s what this team wants to do, make Brookfield proud.

Finishing as one of the top eight or higher would definitely do that for this foursome.

“Our coach said that last year the team that won the Emerging Elites ran a 1:29.4,” junior Alex Bell said. “Our fastest time and the school record is 1:29.7. However, I don’t think that we should be distracted by how close those times are. I think if we keep focused as a team, we definitely hope to perform well enough to take one of the top three spots on the podium.”

It’s a chance to run with some of the nation’s elite.

“There isn’t a meet any bigger than this so we have to come out with our best performance to make podium,” Bailey said.

These four are heading to nationals for one last meet as a team of four. Bailey is graduated and heads to Ohio University this fall.

“It gives us one more time to run as a family because we are losing one of our family members,” sophomore Dionte Colwell said.

This weekend is about making memories.

“There’s nothing more amazing than being able to look back and think to yourself what our team has accomplished as a group. Even though it is our last we will definitely remember it forever,” Bell said.

THROWERS UNITE: The top two Division II girls discus throwers in Ohio — three-time state champion and Garfield senior Lauren Jones and Newton Falls senior Kayla Barreca — are competing in the New Balance girls discus championship Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Jones is heading to Oklahoma, while Barreca is going to Akron this fall.

Austintown Fitch senior Brent Fairbanks, who is at Ashland this fall, competes in the boys hammer throw championship Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

His teammate, senior Joe Pfeffer, who is going to Youngstown State University, is competing in the event as well.

OTHER FITCH ATHLETES: Zach Krohn is heading down in the 4×100, 4×200 relays, along with the shuttle hurdles. Jakari Lumsden is in the 4×100, 4×200 relays. Devin Moore is in the shuttle hurdles. Dylan Beany is in the shuttle hurdles. Drew Bretsik is in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. Ralph Fitzgerald is in the 4×100, 4×200 relays. Daniel Newman is in the shuttle hurdles.