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Local runners finish track season in state meet

COLUMBUS - When the dust settled, only Ironton's Mandi Boykin had a date in the state finals.

Boykin, a sophomore, ran a 12.54 time and was fifth overall in the 100-meter dash semifinals Friday at the Division II state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Her finish qualified her for the state finals Saturday for the second straight year.

She placed third last year.

"Cachet Murray is the obvious favorite, but the rest of the girls are really close," Ironton coach Tim Thomas said. "Mandi could finish anywhere from second to sixth. She didn't run her best time and she was fifth, so that's encouraging."

Boykin and teammate Jessica Waddle ran in the 200-meter dash, South Point sophomore Sarah Lee ran in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, and Rock Hill junior Jason Massie was in the boys' 200-meter dash.

Lee, who ran a 13.01 in the 100 meters, competed Saturday in the long jump.

In the girls' 200-meter dash, Boykin had the highest finish among the local trio as she ran a 26.04 to place 10th. Waddle ran a 26.64 and Lee had a 26.90

time.

"Sarah said she was nervous, and that's the first time this year she's ever been nervous," South Point coach Joe Stevens said.

Murray, the defending state champion from Girard, ran a 24.76 qualifier to place first in the 200. The race for the top eight spots was closely contested as Saryna Ferguson of St. Bernard was sixth at 25.94, Jill Zemba of Sandusky Perkins ran a 25.97, Jessica Starks of Akron East was eighth at 25.98, Dennale Speakman of Unioto had a 26.00 time and then came Boykin.

In the boys' 200-meter dash, Rock Hill junior Jason Massie ran a 23.61 times and was 15th overall. Massie ran a 22.72 in the regional finals.

Kendall Davis of Alliance had the best qualifying time at 21.80 seconds.

Massie said he wasn't distracted by the talent and pressures of running in the state meet.

"It was awesome," Massie said. "I just tried to stay constant and stay stretched. I was just out of my blocks late.

"(Being a junior) gives me something to run for next year. I definitely want to do this again."

Boykin was also a member of the Lady Fighting Tigers 4×200-meter relay team.

The Ironton quartet of junior Ciara Taylor, sophomore Rachel Walker, Waddle, a freshman, and Boykin had a time of 1:50.33 to place 14th overall and seventh in their heat.

All four girls were members of the basketball team that played in the state semifinals this past March, thus marking the first time any Ironton girls have been in two state tournaments in the same school year.

"The girls ran well. The competition here is just really strong. I'm proud of what they accomplished this season. To compete in two state tournaments in the same year is quite an achievement," Thomas said.