A lot of people are thinking about the accomplishments of Chardon senior Stephanie Ferrante, as she finished up racing in the 4x400 last Friday night…
A lot of people are thinking about the accomplishments of Chardon senior Stephanie Ferrante, as she finished up racing in the 4×400 last Friday night at the OHSAA Division Regional Meet held at Austintown Fitch High School.
As accomplished as she is, she has one more week to continue to write her story as an athlete at Chardon.
While interviewing Ferrante and coaches, I kept thinking two things about her: humility despite her accolades (this is her fourth state meet)?and her graduation with a 4.0 grade point average.
To quantify her career may not do it justice. But here is a slice of what the state-bound senior, who will also run at Oklahoma State next season, has put together.
“Career-wise,” said her coach, Eric Bartley, “she is easily the most accomplished sprinter in the history of our high school. We will be looking on improvements from last year’s state meet, like to see if we can’t get a state title in something.”
She qualified in three of the four Division I?events she ran at the regional meet on Friday. That’s four state-qualifying events in nine years.
As a young and unassuming freshman, she got her first Columbus experience in the 200-meter dash.
She would then turn around the next year and qualify in the 100 and 200, this time placing in seventh in 100.
Ferrante really started to cement her place in Chardon history with an outstanding 2013 state meet, advancing in three events, reaching the finals, and placing fourth in the 100, third in the 200 and second in the 400.
When asked about the preparation for the week, Bartley said, “Volume is down, and the quality is way up. She will rest tomorrow and graduate — her graduation party is Sunday — and she will be back on the track on Monday.”
Ferrante finished off the regional portion of her career in dominant fashion. She won the 400 by holding off Emily Hooker from Green with a time of 55.51 seconds, the third best time among state qualifiers.
She would then take second in the 100 (12.33) and 200 (24.89) to qualify for the state meet.
“Through the years I have become more prepared,” Ferrante said of her preparation, “just being ready to compete, and hopefully take it as far as it goes.”
She added, “I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without my coaches. I think they’re one of the main reasons I’m where I am today, and I’m so blessed to have them with me and to be coaching me.”
Another Hilltopper senior who is statebound and finishing up an illustrious career is Nicholas Elswick, bound for Ohio State this fall.
He finished off his regional career in thrilling fashion, getting under nine minutes (8:57.93) in the 3200-meter run, or two-mile.
Elswick separated from the pack early, along with Kyle Mau of Hudson. The race between the two came down to the final two laps. With Mau leading at the final gun, Elswick kicked into a new gear, pushing ahead.
Having qualified for the state meet the last three years, he broke the regional record held since 2000, and came within two seconds of breaking the stadium record held since 1977.
When seeing the sub-nine time, Elswick said, “I was excited, just really pumped to be in that race. The last lap looking at the clock, I knew Kyle (Mau) was right on me — ‘I have to go, the stadium record is in my reach.’ I had to unwind and go for it.”
On Mau staying with him the whole race, he added, “I was shocked. The plan going in was to take it out hard, see if they committed with me, and on the fifth lap to drop hard and go. I heard Mark (Hadley) drop off, then I heard footsteps and it turned out it was Kyle (Mau).
“I wasn’t expecting with 700 meters to go he throws down a huge surge and gets 5-10 meters on me. I had to react and go after him. It was surprising but welcome, because it made for a good race at the end.”
Elswick will enter the state meet with the top qualifying time, and the only qualifier under nine minutes. He finished second last season at the state meet behind Sam Wharton of Tipp City Tippecanoe, who just finished his freshman campaign at Stanford University.
Despite the careers of Ferrante and Elswick coming to an end, Hilltopper sophomore Rachel Banks made people stand up and take notice of the future. After finishing in tenth at regional’s last season, Banks won the 800-meter in a time of 2:12.42. She will enter the state meet this weekend with the second best time.
“It was fun,” Banks said, “definitely setting the pace for the rest of my high school career. I love competing with our coaches and teammates, and being able to go down to the state meet with Steph (Ferrante) next week is the best part.”
Two college-bound, successful seniors from West Geauga will also be making the trip to Columbus this weekend.
Audrey Rabe, who will jump at Liberty University next season, and Paedyn Gomes (Yale University) both qualified for the state meet. Rabe is a pole vaulter; Gomes qualified in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
Gomes, finished second in the 110 hurdles (14.37) and third in the 300 hurdles (38.20) at the regional meet. He is coming off a fourth place finish at the state meet last season in the 110 hurdles.
“I feel great,” Gomes said. “My goal was to get down in both, and I did. I also improved on my place this year.
“It’s more comfortable. I got kind of use to it last year. Now just go down and get another chance at it.”
Rabe finished second in the pole vault behind Ally Thompson of Geneva. Rabe’s final height was 11-06; she recently jumped 12-0 at the Chagrin Valley Conference meet, and is making her return to the state meet after missing last year due to an injury.
“I felt really good jumping today,” Rabe said. “I got a little emotional when I qualified for states since last year I got injured. It’s really exciting and an honor to qualify for state this year.”
Berkshire girls had a successful meet at the Navaare Regional, qualifying two individuals and two relay teams for the state meet.
Juniors Christin Dornback and Melissa Koziol both qualified in the 800. They will also both be members of the 4×400 and 4×800 teams. Junior Suzanne Koziol will also be a member of the relay teams, along with Alison Moss and Kylie Scott.
The 4×800 team finished second, while the 4×400 team snuck into the state meet with a fourth place finish, just edging out Rittman.
Dornback, finished second in the 800, while Koziol finished in fourth place.
Both Koziol sisters will be making a return visit to Columbus. Last year Melissa qualified for the 800, Suzanne qualified for the 300 Hurdles.
Chagrin Fall’s sophomore Joe Bistritz followed up his second place finish during the OHSAA Cross Country meet by qualifying for the 800 and 1600; he will also be a member of the 4×800 team that qualified for the state meet.
Senior Mike Munday qualified for the long jump by finishing fourth at the regional meet. Sophomore Natane Deruytter also qualified in the 3200-meter run for the Tigers.
NDCL saw junior Erin Stewart qualify in the 400. She finished third (57.73) at the Division II Austintown-Fitch meet.
Fellow junior Mic Stanovsek qualified for the state meet in the 800, edging Noah LeBay of CVCA for fourth place, and the final spot for the state meet.
The OHSAA meet will begin on Friday with preliminaries, and finals will take place on Saturday. The meet is being held at the Jesse Owen Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
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