Harris, Gunther experience drama at regional meet

BEDFORD – The faces of tragedy and comedy usually are reserved for the theatrical stage.

Saturday, there was a flair for the dramatic at Saturday’s Division II Bedford regional track and field meet.

Lakeview’s Eric Harris showed his displeasure of his 4×800-meter relay team coming less than a second away from qualifying for state on Thursday.

The senior took it upon himself as the team’s anchor to say he wished he had enough to get the Bulldogs back to state for the third trip in four years.

Instead, the Bulldogs took fifth. The top four in each regional final advanced to state.

Saturday, things changed and Harris shed his tragic face to put on a big smile after finishing third in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 27.21).

Harris was part of a three-person cluster to finish at the same time. Norton’s Spencer Ziegler was fourth (4:27.725) and St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Nick Campbell was fifth (4:27.727).

“It was a good race,” Harris said. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving the whole way. The last lap I got in a good position. I was in third and I kicked and kicked. I felt that kid coming up on me. I had one last push and ended up getting third. It’s a lot better than Thursday night.”

It bodes well for the program’s distance squad.

“For Eric, he’s been training pretty hard still,” Lakeview coach Mark Swinning said. “It was a tough race but he ended up coming out third there in the 1,600. It’s really important for us too. We’ve always had a pretty solid distance program. It just solidifies that having another distance guy down at state and having a real good chance to represent well today.”

Meanwhile, LaBrae’s Megan Gunther had the gamut of emotions.

She started her day with second place in the 100 hurdles behind Streetsboro’s Destiny King. The two took 1-2 at last weekend’s districts in Cortland.

“I got second,” Gunther said. “I’m going to state. That’s all the matters.”

Then, she had a burst of energy heading into the 300 hurdles. That’s when tragedy struck for the LaBrae senior. She false started and was disqualified.

“I actually have never felt so right for that race in my entire life, which sucks,” Gunther said. “I guess when I was so anxious to start it was .1 second before the gun went off.

“At first, I didn’t think (the official) was going to shoot the gun again. It took awhile. I ended up false starting. It sucks, but maybe there’s a girl who wanted it more than me and went to state.”

That means she’ll concentrate on the 100 hurdles in Columbus.

“My goal is to win it because I have nothing else but that race. My goal is to be state champion,” Gunther said.

With that, a smile came back on her once forlorn face.

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING: Ursuline’s Alexandra Carnathan was double winner on Saturday.

She started her day winning the 100 over Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Autumn Young. Both ran 12.50, but Carnathan won on a hundredths of a second.

“I saw other people in front of me,” Carnathan said. “I knew you had to get at least the top four to qualify. I knew I had to beat someone else. I didn’t expect to come in first.”

Then, she anchored the 4×100 relay that took first (48.85). Precious Williams, Korree Cotton and Paige Hall were the first three legs of the relay.

POLAND’S PAIR: Poland senior sisters Michelle and McKinsie Klim took 1-2 in the girls 3,200. Michelle ran 11:37.84, while McKinsie went 11:43.43.

UNDERDOG ROLE: Liberty’s John Helms took third in the boys 400 (50.32).

“It felt good,” Helms said. “I’m the underdog here, trying to qualify. I felt like if I came out here and ran my race I’d do good.”

He said he owes his success to his vigorous training.

“Coach (Jay) Cripe has been helping me throughout this whole year,” Helms said. “I’ve been running hills, doing deadly workouts I couldn’t even finish. It got me where I needed to be today.”

BACK TO STATE: Lakeview hasn’t had a shot putter go to state since George Washko placed fifth when the state meet was in Dayton (53-8.5).

Saturday, that changed when Jordan Lowther took fourth in the regional (51-7.75).

“For him to step up when the time was right was fantastic,” Swinning said. “It really means a lot for us to have a thrower down at state again because it’s been quite a while.”

OTHER AREA QUALIFERS: Girls – Poland’s Sage Spotleson in the 100 hurdles (15.59), Girard’s 4×200 relay (Alexis Cloud, Justine Kagy, Caitlyn Trebella, Destiny Hall). Boys – Struthers’ Dan Pape in the shot put, Struthers’ Arnoldo Morales in the high jump, Cardinal Mooney’s 4×200 relay of Jayshawn Coleman, Donovan McWilson, Dawan Britt, Marcus McWilson and Struthers’ relay of Arnoldo Morales, Steve Seifert, Frankie Serrano, Temeko Holness, Cardinal Mooney’s 4×100 relay of Justus Ellis-Moore, Kareem Ellis, Dawan Britt, Marcus McWilson, Cardinal Mooney’s Coleman in the 200, Poland’s 4×400 relay of Tad Duran, Connor McFadden, Aaron King, Patrick Hiznay took third.