Norwalk Reflector: Willard's Holida, Western's Woodruff both finish seventh
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Willard's Holida, Western's Woodruff both finish seventh

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Jun 1, 2019 at 9:28 PM

COLUMBUS — It was a day Joey Holida had been building toward for several months, if not years.

After a strong showing at the Indoor state track and field championships in early March, Holida set his sights on the podium at the OHSAA state track and field championships over the weekend in Columbus.

The Willard senior did just that, improving by 11 spots in the Division II high jump competition to earn All-Ohio honors inside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

His regional jump of 6-feet-2-inches was the lowest of the 19 competitors entering Saturday’s event. But Holida worked his way up to clear 6-feet-4 to place seventh overall.

“I think my performance was good today, but not great,” Holida said. “I still competed with 6-4, but I needed higher to place in the top three. But all in all, I’m grateful for making podium and having a chance to go to state.”

Holida easily cleared six feet and 6-feet-2 on his first attempts to begin the competition. He then cleared 6-feet-4 on his second attempt, which proved to be his best for the day.

“If it wasn’t for all my wonderful coaches and my family’s support, I wouldn’t have been where I am today,” Holida said. “Ending my high school career on the podium is a great feeling. Getting this medal, I’ll save it for years to come.”

Holida will continue his high jumping career at NCAA Div. II Tiffin University next year.

Meanwhile, Holida’s cousin and classmate, Josh Holida, competed in the Div. II discus throw. He placed 13th with a throw of 148-feet-8.

Also in the Div. II field events on Saturday, Bellevue senior Payton Vogel ended her career with a 12th place finish in the girls shot put (37-feet-2).

 

Woodruff is All-Ohio

Holida wasn’t the only area athlete to make a big improvement to to the podium on Saturday.

In Div. III, Western Reserve junior McKenna Woodruff finished the 400-meter dash in 59.24 seconds to place seventh. She entered with the ninth best time among the 19 competitors on Friday, which is where she finished after the prelims to earn the final spot in Saturday morning’s finals.

Woodruff then moved up two spots to finish in seventh.

 

Shaver breaks school mark

Another big improvement on Saturday came from New London junior Savannah Shaver.

Shaver entered the 800-meter run on with a 2:22.18 seed time from the Tiffin regional the week before. It was the slowest time of the 19 competitors.

But not only did Shaver improve six spots to finish in 12th place, her time of 2:20.21 also set the new record in the event for the New London girls program.

 

St. Paul duo competes

The St. Paul track program had two distance runners compete on Saturday.

In the boys 3200 run, senior Noah Avendano ran the two-mile event in 10:10.19 to place 14th. Meanwhile, junior Lily Dowdell competed in the 1600, finishing in 15th place with a time of 5:22.01.

Because of Davis Hedrick earning a pair of third-place finishes on Friday, the Flyers finished 18th out of 78 teams with 18 points in the Div. III boys team standings.

Also on Friday, St. Paul sophomore Camille Endsley placed sixth in the high jump.

 

Edison distance trio

Three Edison distance runners took their shots in the Div. II state championships on Saturday, with two competitors narrowly missing out on the podium.

In the 1600, junior Daniel Lambert placed ninth in 4:25.45 to just miss out on the top eight and a medal. Lambert was a key member of Friday’s 4x800 relay team that finished third.

With the season over, Lambert’s fundraising campaign also ends. He donated his season to the pediatric cancer charity Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Lambert received pledges donating a sum for every first-place finish he accomplished this spring and raised nearly $400.

“I extended it to the state meet just in case somehow I got a first place,” he said. “I wanted to raise a little bit more for it, but at least it was some money I could donate. Whatever I can do for that.”

Also for Edison, sophomore Abby Lesniak ran the two-mile and finished in 10th with a time of 11:31.40, while teammate and senior Isabel Chasney ran a 5:38.93 for 17th place in the 1600.

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