WAYNESFIELD â€” By now the journey to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus has become a familiar one for the Waynesfield-Goshen Tigers.
They will make that trek once again for the Division III state track and field meet Friday and Saturday on the campus of the Ohio State University.
And if all goes well, theyâ€™ll be bringing some hardware home with them.
W-Gâ€™s best bet for a state champion is the girls 400-meter relay team of senior Abbey Gray, junior Morgan Horn, senior Frankie James and junior Ivy Horn.
After an almost disastrous preliminary race at the district meet two weeks ago â€” Gray and Morgan Horn nearly collided during their exchange â€” the foursome enters the state meet as the fastest qualifier.
The Tigers posted a meet-record 49.13 in the regional meet last Friday at Fairfield Union High School in Lancaster. Only two other teams â€” Creston Norwayne (49.82) and Versailles (49.97) â€” enter the meet with qualifying times in the 49â€™s. Norwayne finished second a year ago.
W-G is well represented in the girls sprint events.
Ivy and Morgan Horn both qualified in the 100 dash. Ivy Horn enters event with the third-fastest qualifying time, a 12.17. She finished third in 2010 with a 12.51.
The clear favorite in the 100 is Candace Longino-Thomas, of Gates Mills Gilmour Academy, who set the OHSAA Division III record in regionals with a blistering 11.75. Longino-Thomas won four state medals, including the 100, in 2009 but missed the 2010 meet with a hamstring injury.
Ivy Horn will start her heat race in the lane next to Sidney Lehmanâ€™s Gretchen Walter (12.33), the defending state runner-up in the 100.
Morgan Horn qualified 10-fastest of the 16 entrants with a 12.57.
Ivy Horn will have to contend with Longino-Thomas and Walter once again in the 200. Hornâ€™s qualifying time of 25.22 is third-best behind Longino-Thomasâ€™ 24.33, and Walterâ€™s 24.81.
Longino-Thomas also holds the OHSAA Division III record in the 200 with a 24.19, which she posted in 2009.
In the 100 hurdles, Ivy Horn holds the fifth-fastest qualifying time with a 15.05. Defending state champion Teddi Maslowski, of Steubenville Catholic Central, is the fastest qualifier with a 14.34. She holds the Division III state meet record with a 14.44.
Gray is the 11th fastest qualifier in the 300 hurdles with a 46.13. Maslowski (44.19) is the defending champion and top seed. She also holds the state meet record with a 42.61, set last year.
Gray will also represent W-G in the long jump. Her qualifying jump of 16-feet, 4-inches is 10th best. Maslowski is the top qualifier with an 18-5.5.
In the pole vault, Morgan Horn is the ninth-best qualifier with a 10-6. Patrick Henryâ€™s Tori Meyer is the top seed with a 12-0 followed by defending state champion Ellie Braidic, of Pandora-Gilboa, with an 11-8.
For the W-G boys team, freshman Joliffe Huber comes in as the No. 15 seed in the discus with a throw of 144-7. Matthias Tayala, of McDonald, is the favorite with a best throw of 197-0.
The 3,200 relay team of Dalton Buffenbarger, Eli Oâ€™Leary, Jacob Whitman and Connor Mortimer has the 14th fastest qualifying time (8:20.81). Barnesville (8:07.54) is the fastest qualifier.
The finals in the 3,200 relay and the field events, as well as the preliminaries for all other events, will be held on Friday. All other finals will be on Saturday.