Demith leads TC girls to second place at NOL

SANDUSKY – It couldn’t technically be called a touchdown dance, or even a victory dance.

But the jig Columbian girls track coach Amy Cooper did on the field at Cedar Point Stadium in Sandusky Saturday indicated what she thought of her team’s performance at the Northern Ohio League Championships. Her team won two events and finished second, scoring 114 points. Only Bellevue topped the total, with 198.

On the boys side, the Tornadoes took fourth (86 1/2). Norwalk took first with 154 1/2 points.

Annie Demith starred for the TC girls, finishing strong to emerge from the 400 victorious in 1:01.78.

Earlier in the day, Demith teamed with Michaela Sharlow, Chandler Carley and McKenna Theis to win the 4×200 in 1:51.09.

Demith and Cooper each said there was some psychology to the 400 win.

“We talked about… there’s a girl from Sandusky (Gustania Walls) who had the same turned-in time (as Demith),” Cooper said. “I told her, ‘when she gets on your shoulder, you just need to stay with her. Stay with her; you’re fine when you come around the curve because you can out-kick anybody.'”

And that’s pretty much what happened.

“I let (Walls) get just a little bit ahead of me so I could keep her in my sights,” Demith said. “Then I kicked it at the end. It’s a little technique I use.”

The 4×2 team has high expectations for the coming weeks. Three of the four runners are back from the squad that made state a season ago.

“Going to state last year, we definitely want to get back,” she said.

Given that, Demith said she was pleased with the foursome’s performance Saturday.

“It was one of our best times this year, and everyone ran a great leg, Michaela especially,” Demith said. “She ran a great first leg.”

“The 4×2 looked especially good today,” Cooper said. We can still improve our handoffs, which we’re going to have to do in the next couple weeks.”

The Tornadoes came in second in the 4×4, with Alex Foncannon, Carley, Sharlow and Demith finishing in 4:23.34. Ari Felton was runner-up in the shot (31-8 1/4) for TC, while Carley, who was NOL champ in the pole vault the last two seasons, took runner up in the event Saturday.

Carley had the same distance cleared as winner Kelsi Karl, but the Bellevue vaulter cleared 9-0 in fewer attempts.

“All week long she was getting over 10-6, and she didn’t do that today,” Cooper said. “Obviously, she wants to do that next week.”

Columbian’s boys scored a pair of wins in the distance events. Brandon Gibson took the 1,600 in 4:28.36, while teammate Tyler Lewis torched the 3,200 field in 9:44.90. In each race, the Tornado runner took an early lead and never looked back.

“Upfront like that, your always worried about someone catching you, and someone getting you at the very end,” Gibson said. “When you get to the end of the race, it just feels a whole heck of a lot better knowing you just destroyed everyone.”

Lewis got off to a great start in the 3,200. It was so great that he surprised – and perhaps concerned – himself.

“The scare is, when you’re going out by yourself, if you’re going too fast you’re going too slow, because you don’t have that extra push, that extra motivation,” Lewis said. “You’ve just got to go by how you feel.”

Gibson was third in the 3,200, crossing the line in 10:03.27.

“We’re just really pleased with what they were able to do today,” said Columbian boys coach Marcia Focht. “They’re really looking forward to districts. State is our goal.”

Columbian also got a second-place finish from shot putter Brock Riggs, who threw 47-5 1/2.