Twice as nice

COLUMBUS – Under normal circumstances, someone coming into a race with the sixth-best time wouldn’t be considered a favorite to win.

But with Olivia Smith, normal circumstances don’t apply.

The Calvert junior has known since last year that the element of surprise with her is non-existent. That happens when you win the 800 in Columbus in your sophomore season.

Smith went into the 2012 state meet with the fifth-best time in the 800, then stunned many by winning.

“She runs to win,” said Calvert coach Stewart Behm. “She doesn’t run for a time.”

A defending state champion is expected to win. No surprises.

On Saturday, Smith proved surprises are overrated.

Smith won the 800 for the second-consecutive year, using a kick in the final 200 meters to outrun Fort Loramie’s Meg Westerheide and Gilmour Academy’s Alexis Anton.

Smith crossed the finish line in 2:15.02, a little more than two-tenths of a second ahead of Westerheide.

Like last year, Smith stayed back in the first lap.

“She came off the break at the 300 meter mark, probably in eighth or ninth place,” Behm said. “And she moved up, and didn’t get boxed in, and put herself in position to do what she needed to do.”

Then she turned it up.

“I made my move about the 300 mark [from the finish],” she said. “And the 200 mark I just gave it what I had left.”

It was at that point that Smith said she thought she had it.

“I felt really good,” she said. “I started my kick a little bit earlier than usual. I just felt like that was something I needed to do; pull the other runners with me. I was pushing them to go out a little sooner.”

“(Other runners) might have thought, ‘Oh, she’s going. I’ve got to go with her,” Behm said. “That was probably the difference, because that’s when she passed the first and second runner.”

Smith was asked if it hit her that she was a two-time state champion.

“No, it really hasn’t even hit me that I won it once, even,” she said.

And after being congratulated and standing on the podium, she had another race to run. That was in the 4×400, where she teamed with Danielle Kontak, Morgan Smith and her cousin, senior Marisa Horn. The squad finished ninth, in 4:09.11

It was the final race in Horn’s career; she’s the only senior in the group, which placed 13th in the 4×800 Friday.

“I was hoping to be on the podium, but I got here,” said Horn, who ran one of her best times of the season. “I’m glad for it.”

It was an experience for Horn, who made state for the first time.

“It was real exciting to see all the different teams, all the different people down here,” she said. “Just to feel the experience of being down at state was amazing. I just enjoyed it.”

On the boys side, Calvert’s Shane Boehler ran in four events, and made the podium each time. He was part of the 4×200 and 4×100 relays, which placed fourth and third, respectively. He also placed sixth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.

Boehler ran the 100 in 11.31, the 200 in 22.52.

“I really wanted to get higher up on the podium this year,” he said. “The nerves got to me a little bit; I ran slower than I did in prelims, but I’m happy I placed. That’s the goal.

Behm said Boehler shouldn’t be disappointed.

“Between Friday and Saturday, he ran eight races,” Behm said. “There’s a lot of guys in those open events that ran one, maybe two races this weekend … he should be very proud of what he did this weekend.”

The relays were a triumph for Behm and his squad, which, aside from Boehler, included Austin Ball, Tyler Long and Ren Boehler. The 4×200 time of 1:30.12 and the 4×100’s 43.45 each were school records.

“We did an absolutely tremendous job on handoffs, which was our Achilles heel, if you will say,” Behm said. “We ran our best time in Columbus, which is what you want to do.”

“We all had the mindset that we wanted to run our best,” Ball said. “So we fixed a few things and came out with the mindset that we’ve got to get a certain position.”

Ren Boehler, who like Shane competed here last year, said he was more comfortable this time around. A season ago Ren was in Shane’s position of being in four events.

“Last year it was a little different running sort of the shorter relays,” he said. “This year it was nice.”

With all four runners coming back in 2014, Long set expectations as high as possible.

“State championship,” he said. “That’s our goal.”

“That’s the kind of attitude I want,” Behm said.