The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 13, 2014

Eagles flying south

Decorated Geneva girls taking part in national meet in Greensboro

The Geneva girls 2014 track season didn’t end when the Eagles 1600-meter relay team finished ninth last weekend at the Division I state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

No, the Eagles have one more meet this year — the New Balance National Outdoor Meet in Greensboro, N.C. that begins today.

Coach Bobby McQuoid and his Eagles that qualified for the state meet will get to see how they stack up nationally.

Most notable to watch will be the 3200-meter relay team of Hailey VanHoy, Dareion Marrison, Emily Deering and Brittany Aveni who ran the third-fastest time in state meet history but placed second last Saturday.

There are two divisions at the national meet — championship division and emerging elite division.

The Eagles’ blazing time of 9:04.77 bumped them from the emerging elite division to the championship division.

“There’s five sections of the (3200), so it’s a pretty big meet,” McQuoid said. “Everyone who is going is competing in the emerging elite division, but we bumped up the 3200 to the championship division after Saturday.”

The incredible time stands up well going into this weekend’s meet.

“In high school, we finished 15th in the nation,” McQuoid said. “It’s a little different at this meet because they do have some club teams racing that are the higher seeds. I already started looking at the times and we’re up against some 9:07, 9:02.

“It’ll take a fast time to get in the top, but what we’ll give it our best and finish where we finish.”

McQuoid said his 3200 squad handled its difficult defeat quite well after having some time to reflect.

“They’ve been good. They took the experience and the whole van ride home they were talking about Saturday because that was the last day but they had a chance to reflect on what they accomplished and they cam so close and now they’ve got bigger goals,” he said. “Any time we make a goal, we remake a goal. Now, their goal is to do it last time with Hailey and go under that time and finish on a real high note.

“I think that race was a big confidence booster and showed them anything is possible.”

The 1600 team of VanHoy, Deering, Aveni and Summer Arndt is hoping to put behind their ninth-place finish.

The Eagles made it to the finals of the 1600 for the second-straight year, but came up one spot short of making the podium.

“Of course, that’s something they didn’t want to happen, but there were a lot of factors in that,” McQuoid said. “They learned from why they didn’t run so well. There’s three separate days of competition (this weekend) so they want to give themselves one final thought of the 1600 for this season and cap a great year.”

Also competing in North Carolina is sophomore pole vaulter Ally Thompson.

Thompson won the Division I Austintown region, but battling an illness, she wasn’t able to clear past 11 feet at state.

McQuoid said she’s feeling better this week, even though she’s had a steam weight loss over the past month.

“She’s feeling better, it’s a long process, we weighed her this week and she’s down 10 pounds from the PAC (Premier Athletic Conference) meet,” he said. “There’s a lot of issues, but she said she’s feeling better. It’s one of those things that it’s not a couple days then it’s done. She needs to take a little bit of time for her body to get back what she lost.

“After this weekend, she’ll shut it down and get in the weight room.”

As a sophomore, the Ashtabula County record holder in the pole vault, Thompson handled the difficult weekend with the poise of a much-older competitor.

“She handled it better than I expected,” he said. “After indoor state, it really set the tone for how she handles meets and disappointment. She was a little upset, but the fact that she was just there (was important). She was a good teammate and a lot of the pole vaulters they know each other and some vault together so she wanted to stay and root them on.

“I think that showed a lot about her character.”

Placing this weekend isn’t as important as the experience gained from competing at such a meet.

“I think regardless of how they finish, that experience of getting to this meet is the greatest thing they’ll take back with them,” he said. “You can’t really substitute experience. Once these kids get a bit of experience, if get this chance to be down there and run against this competition, they’ll get more confidence.

“I think it will help show them at other meets to not stress as much or over think it. At the end of the day it’s just a meet or just an event. It will be huge for them to get to see this.”

While VanHoy is already going to continue her running career at Lake Erie College next season, getting to show off on a national stage could be a benefit to the rest of Geneva’s competitors who may want to run after high school.

“I think that is one of the options and benefits to going down there,” McQuoid said. “Emily really wants to run in college. After her season, she had a lot of contacts who are interested. Off the track, she’s a phenomenal student and getting her name out there is a great asset. It’s the same thing for the other ones.

“We haven’t really talked to them about it yet but it’s good to know their option. (Running track in college) can be a good chance for these students to further their academic career.”

For more information on the meet and to follow along with the results, visit www.nationalscholastic.org/nbon/info.

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