Meadowdale senior flash Wayne Lawrence Jr. is finally out of the shadow of former Stivers sprint sensation Tyler Johnson. Unfortunately for Lawrence, that’s the problem.
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“It’s good not having him here, but it’s also bad because there’s not a lot of people to run with,” said Lawrence after advancing to four finals during Thursday’s Division II high school district track and field meet at Welcome Stadium. “There’s not been a lot of competition but I’m loving it so far.”
CAN’T BEAT THAT: Wayne’s boys 4x800 relay
This was the last opening day for the three divisions and like the others, just a few field events were finals and the only running event final was the 4x800-meter relay. All the other racing was to determine who advanced to Saturday’s finals.
The top four in each event qualify to next week’s D-II regional at Piqua.
BEST FOR LAST: Springfield junior long jumper Quincy Scott
Johnson, a 2016 graduate, was among the most decorated Dayton City League sprinters in state meet history and he towed Lawrence along with him. The rivals went 1-2 in the D-II state 400 each of the past two seasons with Johnson setting an all-time D-II state record (46.57) as a senior. Lawrence watched as Johnson missed a rare state sprint triple by winning the 400 and 200 but placing second in the 100.
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Lawrence never did beat Johnson, but he can do the next best thing: sweep those three sprints at state in a couple weeks. Thursday’s advancing times didn’t reflect what Lawrence has done this season in the 100 (10.63), 200 (21.50) and 400 (47.50). All of those times rank among the state’s best in any division.
“It’s been slow but great,” said Lawrence, who signed to run track at the University of South Dakota. “I’m hoping to go to state in all four events and sweep the sprints in Division II, which hasn’t been done in a long time. It’s great.”
GOING THE DISTANCE: That would be Catholic Central freshman Addie Engel
• Lawrence would have been pushed in the 100 and 200 by Carlisle junior D.J. Chambers had he not pulled up lame in last week’s Southwestern Buckeye League meet at Monroe. Also an outstanding football prospect as a returner and running back, Indians coaches shut him down rather than risk more hamstring injury.
Chambers was second to Johnson in the state 200 last year (21.92) and was fourth in the 100 (11.01).
• Fenwick’s girls (10:07.77) ended a long streak of Alter’s 4x800 district relay wins. Alter, regularly state contenders in the event, placed third, 21 seconds behind Fenwick. Other girls winners were Valley View senior Faith Lewis in the discus (112-0) and Monroe freshman Jenna Hensley in the high jump (5-5.25).
• Dunbar easily won the boys 4x800 relay (8:26.42). The Wolverines also had the best finals qualifying times in the 4x100 (43.18), 4x200 (1:31.01) and 4x400 (3:28.16) relays and both hurdles events. Dunbar most recently won a D-II boys state team title in 2015 and should be in contention again this season.
Other boys winners were Waynesville junior Logan Bloom in the discus (132-7), Dunbar senior Keyshawn Jones in the long jump (21-11.25) and Valley View senior vaulter Micah Matheson (13-9).
• Carroll was the girls and boys team leader after the first day in the D-II district at Graham also on Thursday. Carroll won the boys 4x800 relay (8:10.95) and Carroll’s Nikki Gazzerro was first in the girls high jump (5-1).
• The D-I district finals are Friday at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium and Wayne High School. The Dayton D-II and D-III district finals will be held Saturday at Welcome. Graham (D-II) and Milton-Union (D-III) also will hold district finals on Saturday.