New London's Luedy ending historic year at state

Mark Hazelwood • Jun 3, 2016 at 6:00 AM

NEW LONDON — The results weren’t surprising to New London junior sprinter Morgan Luedy.

It was more like shocking.

“It’s just this idea that I did that,” Luedy said. “Like, me? It makes me feel good about myself that I can hold records and continue to make history for a school that has had some awesome runners — to continue to make history for our legacy we have at New London.”

At last week’s Division III regional meet at Lancaster, Luedy did the unthinkable and qualified for this weekend’s state championships in four individual sprint events.

She is the first New London athlete in boys or girls track to appear in four state events without the help of a relay team.

To put that in perspective, New London’s boys and girls cross country and track programs have combined for 66 Firelands Conference titles — which is 37 percent of all FC gold in a combined 178 years — five regional team titles, two team state championships, seven individual state track titles and a relay team state title.

Luedy’s feat also comes less than three months removed from her role as a starter on the girls basketball team that won a district championship for the first time in program history before falling in overtime of a regional semifinal.

“Everyone has been telling me to take it all in, because it may be the best experience I have,” Luedy said. “I’m so proud that this small school can have so many talented athletes and make history. I got to be a part of history in two sports in one year.

“It’s definitely an experience to help build this legacy for New London,” she added. “We’re just some small school in the middle of nowhere … whoever is on your team is on your team, and you make the best of it.”

Making a run

Luedy’s postseason began with a bang at the FC championships on May 13, which was hosted by New London at Recreation Park.

The junior won the 100 hurdles (16.12 seconds), 100 dash (12.76), 300 hurdles (46.62) and the high jump (5-feet) to win four individual conference titles.

At the Div. III district championships at Bucyrus, Luedy lowered three of her times — and expanded her speed to the 200 as well. She took first in the 100 (12.59) and second in both the 100 hurdles (16.07) and 300 hurdles (47.36) — then entered in the 200 and won that in 25.94 seconds — a new school record.

It was after the district that the speculation began if Luedy could land herself in the top four in all four events at the Lancaster regional.

“I’m really not a person to look at the rankings, but I did for the regional, and my times weren’t in the top four going into a couple of the events,” Luedy said. “But I knew I could get there. I knew I could get those times, and it was my lucky day.”

She opened with a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles (15.58), then took the fourth and final spots to qualify for state in the 100 (12.72) and 300 hurdles (47.72).

Luedy then etched her place in school and area history by winning the 200 dash in 26.02 seconds — earning a spot at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in four of a possible 13 individual events.

With her performances, Luedy is also the the school record holder in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200, and is just .01 seconds shy of the 100 dash record.

“I told my mom I should have bought lottery tickets last Friday,” Luedy said. “I don’t want to say I got lucky, but everything fell into place and I was able to improve in a lot of events.”

Finding time

At Ohio State on Friday, Luedy will have two of her sprints within 20 minutes of each other.

She will run the 100 hurdles at 10 a.m., then line up for the 100 at 10:20 a.m. She then gets an hour break before the 300 hurdles at 11:20 a.m., but then will have to be ready for the 200 by 11:40 a.m.

“I run cross country as well, and that makes me feel I have the endurance and stamina to stay at my top peak, physically,” Luedy said of the schedule. “I like running the 100 hurdles before the 100 sprint better, because it warms me up for it. Those two races usually don’t get me tired.

“The 300 hurdles is rough because it’s right before the 200, which I feel like I’m much stronger in,” she added. “But it’s mostly mental for me, but I think my cross country background kicks in and calms me down.”

Luedy will enter the races Friday with the fifth best time in her heat in both the 100 hurdles and 200, while she’s seventh in the 100, though all eight runners’ times are within .52 seconds of each other. She’s got the eighth-best time in the 300 hurdles.

The top eight times from two heats in each sprint will come back for Saturday’s championship races.

“It’s a realistic goal to make it (to the finals) in one event, but obviously the biggest goal is all four,” Luedy said. “I would love to be on the podium for one event. But I do like going into the 300 hurdles with the slowest time, because it gives me the underdog role.

“I have no pressure to beat anyone,” she added. “If I beat anyone in that race, I will have succeeded and gotten better. I have the will and drive to push a little harder to get it.”

While just a junior, the 3.98 GPA student has her sights set on becoming a heptathlete in college.

“I have experience in five of the seven events for it, besides the javelin and shot put,” Luedy said. “I’m putting in extra work over the summer to work on those events.”

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