Seniors see careers end differently

Lauren Jones hasn’t been shy saying she wants another puppy, but leaving for Oklahoma this summer presents a quandary.

The Garfield High School senior thrower finished her Ohio High School Athletic Association career as a three-time state champion in the Division II girls discus, and went to this year’s state meet in three events — she finished third in the shot put and ninth in the long jump, incidentally both personal bests.

Making marks was her issue. She told me back in early April her father, Bruce, told her she had to pass Edie Svonavec’s shot put mark of 49 feet in the shot put or pass the all-division state record of 186 feet in the discus to get another puppy. She currently has two puppies at home, Mickey and Minnie. Getting the third one, that’s another story.

She has two more opportunities to get that third dog — Saturday’s Midwest Meet of Champions at Ohio Wesleyan University and the New Balance Nationals June 17 in North Carolina.

However, she’s being realistic about it since she can’t take either puppy with her when she heads to Norman, Okla., to compete for the Sooners Track and Field Team. She’s looking for a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle.

“This dog will be put on hold for a little bit,” she said. “I’m going to college and I don’t want to miss all the puppy years and training phase. I want it to be attached to me.

“When I get back from college, I want a Goldendoodle.”

Jones is poised to have a successful career with the Sooners, but how can she convince her parents another puppy is a good idea before she graduates in 2021?

“I’m not sure we’re exactly to that point yet, but I have four years to get this,” Jones said. “I’m going to get it sooner or later, I know I will.”

Then there was John F. Kennedy senior Jacob Coates not ending his senior year the way he expected. Coates more than likely had another race or two left at the Midwest or New Balance, but that wasn’t meant to be after the state semifinals of the Division III 200-meter dash.

Halfway through the race, Coates felt a pop. It was a pop he didn’t expect, in his right leg, since he had been rehabilitating the left leg after it cost him his junior year.

That hamstring strain, as Coates had an ice pack wrapped to his leg, was a sign his season was complete. He made it official as he and JFK coach Jack Thornton, and Coates’ father, Jim, lamented the inevitable.

Coates has a Youngstown State University football career ahead of him. His future is with the Penguins. This summer is a time for Coates to heal that hamstring, strengthen it and move ahead.

His hamstring slowed him Friday, but never stopped Coates completely. On his good left leg he hopped about 100 meters to the finish line. Time didn’t matter, but showing his intestinal fortitude certainly did.

It showed YSU coach Bo Pelini the Penguins have a strong-willed athlete heading their way.

These were two things that stood out to me at this year’s state track and field meet.