The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 17, 2014

Eagles a blur at national meet

Geneva girls close out 2014 season with terrific efforts in event in Greensboro, .N.C.

When Geneva’s 3200-meter relay team of Hailey VanHoy, Dareion Marrison, Brittany Aveni and Emily Deering ran the third-fastest time in state meet history with a time of 9:04.77 at the Division I state meet in Columbus last weekend, it seemed to be a feat that would be tough replicate.

But, this weekend at the New Balance National Outdoor meet in Greensboro, N.C., the Eagles didn’t just replicate their time, but beat it by running an incredible 9:02.98.

“It was a big question once you have a performance like that if you can repeat,” Geneva coach Bobby McQuoid said. “We PR’d so largely, we dropped so much time over the last few weeks that eventually you stop dropping time and level off. Their goal was to break 9 minutes, which is a very lofty goal. I was a surprised (they ran 9:02.98).

“I don’t want to say I was surprised in the sense that they couldn’t do it, but to take in the situation and come back in do that, it was really fun to watch.”

Unfortunately, only the top 6 times out of the national championship division get to the podium, so the team pissed by one spot.

However, in the emerging elite division, the 1600-meter relay team of Summer Ardnt, VanHoy, Aveni and Deering bounced back to run a 3:53.26 to finish third overall and take home a medal.

The race atoned for some of the disappointment the relay team experienced when they missed the podium by one spot at state, placing ninth.

“I think after the (3200), even though it’s postseason, they basically ran the fastest time in Ohio (this year), the 1600 was so pumped with a adrenaline they knew only six made it to the podium and wanted to get on,” McQuoid said. “They really wanted it, they were so close the weekend before so they really wanted that medal. They were running against fast competition but they went after it and ran a great race.”

McQuoid pumped his 3200 relay team up from the emerging division after its fast race at state.

He was excited to see how they stacked up against the best competition the country had to offer.

“That’s one of the things we like to try to do is test them and see how they can do, first against the best in Ohio then the bets in the nation,” he said. “To see them step up and perform with those kids, it’s a big mental boost and a lot of times this experience alone and running against those type of kids is invaluable experience.

“I think this weekend is something they’re going to have and keep in their mid for a while.”

While the Eagles have experience at the state meet, having athletes qualify the past few seasons, McQuoid said not much compares to the experience of the national meet.

“It was pretty awesome to see as a coach, the atmosphere is everything you’d expect a national meet atmosphere to be,” he said. “There’s music playing and there’s all these other events that we don’t compete in in Ohio like the javelin and the steeplechase. It’s fun to take all those events in and look at some of the athletes.

“It’s a blessing to be able to see these kids put down the times and they are and take in the music and the play by play over the speakers that happens. For a track fan or athlete, it’s a situation you want to be in.”

While winning is the mission of every team and athlete, placing in the top 10 nationally is no small feat.

Although the Eagles are a public-school program, they weren’t just running against other high schools but also club teams which are basically all-star teams where the best runners of an area are put together to create the fastest time.

With all that in mind, McQuoid said the Eagles accomplishment is all the more impressive.

“There is a lot of talent there, it’s a pretty big accomplishment to place down there,” he said. “The best part about it in my opinion is there are a lot of clubs competing. They’re taking the four fastest and making an all start team and we’re taking four from the high school, it’s a huge accomplishment to compete with those type of athletes.

“In the 1600, we took third, but the top 3 teams all beat the meet record. So to have them on that level for a meet that’s been going on for a long time, it’s a pretty huge accomplishment.”

McQuoid anticipates the postseason success the Eagles experienced should help carry them through offseason workouts.

“It’s pretty big when we hear the girls when they’re sitting there and watching, they’re talking about track and it makes them want to do more and put extra time in the weight room or the indoor season,” he said. It’s contagious. The whole weekend the kids were just talking about track. When you’re around that environment, one of the reasons we bring them down is to put that in their minds then when winter comes and even in the summer you do a little extra.

“That little extra may be what makes the difference to placing a little better.”

Everyone who competed in North Carolina this weekend will be back next year with the exception of VanHoy.

McQuoid thought the senior standing on the podium with her teammates to close the meet was the best way to send the senior off.

“You couldn’t ask for a better way to send out a remarkable senior, a great track athlete and an even better kid,” he said. “She was so fun to coach this year. To take seventh then when they realized what they ran that was so great. Then getting that medal in the 1600, your fear as a coach is they’re not going to run as fast.

“But they did and for her she has a bunch of family down in North Carolina and they had a chance to come and watch her run. There was just no better way to send off a senior.”

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