Fitch girls relay team hopes to sprint to state

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Austintown Fitch’s Alena Williams finishes the final leg of the 4x100-meter relay Saturday at the Mahoning County Meet in Austintown.

AUSTINTOWN — Alena Williams grabbed the baton. Only 100 meters separated her and the finish line at Austintown Fitch High School’s all-weather track where she has practiced many times.

The Fitch junior sprinter crossed the line in 50.61 seconds on Saturday as the Falcons’ girls 4×100-meter relay team won the event in 50.61 seconds at the Mahoning County Meet.

Williams is the anchor and knows what it takes to make a good finish in that final leg of the race.

“Make sure you take off on time, get the baton in the right hand,” she said. “Just drive. Knee lift. Everything. Push to the finish.”

Sophomore Jenna Rodgers, junior Logan Franczkowski and senior Alyssa Deslandes were the other members of the team on Saturday.

Communication is the key to a good handoff.

“If we take off too fast or too slow, we’ve got to communicate with each other so our handoffs could be like precise every time we run,” Williams said.

She’s one of the better sprinters on the Fitch team. She’s been to indoor state and nationals. Being on a big stage has never bothered her.

“I think that experience she has is pretty valuable when it comes to running the anchor leg,” Fitch sprint coach Seth Steiner said. “She’s cool, calm and plays a big role in our relay.”

The weather has been quite good this season. Saturday was an exception, raining and overcast in the morning.

“It is not as good as we want it to be, but it’s decent,” Williams said. “Even though it’s cold and rainy, we still push and make sure we’re warming up properly

“Everything going and flowing so we can execute our race properly.”

If this team can get down into the 48s, it might head down to this year’s Division I state meet in Columbus.

“I feel we can go to state and place on the podium this year,” Williams said. “All of our girls have good times. Our times keep dropping. We can go to state.”

It’ll take one handoff at a time.