Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rerunning the 3,200 race at Ravenna was a smart move

For the first time in my 17-year career on Tuesday, I witnessed a track event being rerun at the Division II Ravenna Regional.
Everything was in place for the 3,200 girls race which was being rerun due to an official's error on Saturday. There was even a water station for the girls if they wanted a drink during the race.
OHSAA administrator Dale Gabor was there to oversee the race. He was not only passing out water, but also helping girls off the track at the conclusion of the race.
Everyone involved helped put a bad mistake in the past.
What was left was a pure race for 14 girls to run in scorching 90 degree heat in the middle of the day.
I was impressed that 14 girls showed up for the race. No matter what their qualifying times were, they believed they had a shot at one of the four spots that were up for grabs. They chased their dream of going to the state meet in an empty stadium on a hot day.
Lake Catholic coach Erik Schroeder was there with his sophomore runner Amy Dalpiaz. On Saturday, Dalpiaz was running in the lead pack when the gun sounded too early. She finished what she thought was an eight-lap race in seven laps. When she collapsed on the ground near the finish line, she heard people yelling for her to get up and continue the race. But she figured if she got back on the track she would be disqualified.
In the days leading up to the second race, Schroeder tried to keep Dalpiaz calm. He told her to focus on the race and leave the rest to him. She listened to his advice and placed fourth to qualify for state.
"After all that controversy on Saturday, it was tough to come back from that mentally," Dalpiaz said. "It was also hard to focus in the 90 degree heat. But in life you have to do what you have to do. It felt awesome to qualify today."
Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin senior Erin Vanek also qualified. She finished third on her 18th birthday.
She was planning on spending the day at Cedar Point with her teammates, but instead she traveled to Ravenna for the third time in less than a week.
"I feel like over the years I’ve built up this mental strength that helped me to bounce back from what happened on Saturday," Vanek said. "I also have good teammates. They are the best, and I couldn't ask for any more."

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia


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