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St. Paul girls cap weekend with four All-Ohio relays

By KEVIN SHIELDS • Updated Jun 3, 2018 at 3:55 PM

COLUMBUS — Meghan Hedrick made history before even running a single meter at the Division III state track and field championships.

Standing on the podium for the 1600 relay at the end of Saturday’s running finals, she entered yet another category in the St. Paul history books. With a seventh place finish in the 3200 relay Friday, coupled with fifth-place finishes in both the 800 and 4x400 relays, plus another seventh-place effort in the 400 relay, Hedrick become the only girl in Flyers history to medal in four events at the same meet.

With their four state qualifications, Hedrick and senior teammate Olivia Powers had come to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as the only girls to qualify in four events in a single season.

Powers finished with three medals.

“That still hasn’t hit me. Everything has gone by so fast the past two days down here, but it couldn’t have been more fun than it was,” said Hedrick, who will compete at Ball State University next year. “It’s something I couldn’t have done without my teammates since it was all relays. I can’t take all the credit for it.”

Paired with Gabby Scavuzzo, Gwen Olcott and Powers, Hedrick’s 4x200 relay ran a time of 1:45.56 in the 800 relay to place fifth in the race won by Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic at 1:44.03.

The same four girls ran 50.75 to take seventh in the 400 relay, also won by SJCC.

Hedrick, Scavuzzo, Powers and Lily Dowdell closed the meet at 4:01.35 in the 1600 relay.

Dowdell had already run a 1600 race, placing 13th in 5:20.06 prior to having to leadoff the final relay.

“I think my teammates really helped me, and were like, ‘Hey, you got this,’ Just always encouraging me,” Dowdell said. “So no matter how many laps I’d run before the race I came out thinking, ‘Hey, this is for my team,’ I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to do it with. It was bittersweet because it was my last race with them.”

Dowdell is a sophomore, while Scavuzzo, Powers and Hedrick are all moving on.

“We didn’t PR in any of the relays, we’re just really happy to get on the podium for them,” said Powers, who will run at the University of Mount Union. “We’d never made it on the podium in the 4x100 relay, so that was special. Even the last race, we went from sixth to fifth this year.”

Scavuzzo won’t run again, but plans to attend the University of Cincinnati.

“We’ve been together so long, it’s hard to believe this was the last race together,” Hedrick said.

All told, Hedrick ran 16 races at state and finished with six finishes in the top eight, while Powers competed in 15 races with five top eight placements. Scavuzzo ran in 14 state events and earned five top eight finishes. In four years, none of the three were involved in a disqualification in a relay race.

“For us, we go down there in nine events, and being there for so many years, the unthinkable happens almost every year,” St. Paul coach John Rossman said. “You appreciate every time you go down how hard it is to get on the podium — every time it happens is a blessing. You realize how hard it is to get on there and great talent that surrounds you.

“To get five on podium with Davis (Hedrick) in the discus (Friday) and a clean sweep on the relays, we couldn’t have wrote a better ending to our story,” he added. 

Rossman said the careers of Hedrick, Powers and Scavuzzo speak for themselves.

“Both Olivia and Meghan obviously had incredible careers, but when you see their faces down there at the end of this four-year run, you just sit back and smile and let them enjoy the moment,” he said. “We’re more of a support system down there, you just let them get on big stage and do what they do. But it was an emotional time after we got done.

“These kids didn’t want it to end, Gabby in particular, she has been my workhorse and done whatever we’ve needed these last four year,” Rossman added. “When it was over she said, ‘what am I going to do now’? When state track ends it always leaves you wanting more — but it gives you a great sense of satisfaction that you got there.”

Rossman also noted the support the Flyer program received last week. 

“On Friday we had close to 200 people there, and I know we ordered 145 state t-shirts for people,” he said. “A lot of people just came down on their own. At one point, we had almost an entire restaurant filled down there. It was a community, family feel that these kids earned and deserved — and we are just really happy we got that kind of support.”

Monroeville’s Smith places eighth

Running faster than the day you did the day prior is a motto that Kristen Smith always follows.

Friday, the senior ran a prelim time of 59.08 to earn one of the final two qualifying spots.

Saturday, she crossed the finish line in a season-best time of 58.58 to finish eighth, earning a third podium spot in four years in the one lap event.

“All last night my coaches were telling me, ‘Just one.’ So just one spot is what I went for,” Smith said. “In our record book, there’s been only one other person that’s placed twice, so this makes me the only one to place three times, which is very cool.”

Smith is only the four-time state qualifier in Monroeville history as well.

“I’ll take eighth any day,” she said. “I was afraid I was going to end up ninth there for awhile because in Lane 1 you just see everyone to your side and it’s a big mental game. Then you get up here and you realize they’re not as far as they seem to be.

“Even if it’s not by much, I always try to do better than the day before,” she added. “Now, I got graduation tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to.”

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