Catching Akron meant somehow compensating for all the points the Rams put up on relays. Nobody was able to do that. Photo by Alan Versaw.
This year's state title for Akron wasn't as dominated by relays as last year's, but--make no mistake about it--it was still very much about relays.
Akron fought off strong challenges from Paonia and Holyoke with domination in the relay events. Akron scored 41 of their 82.5 points via the baton events, including titles in the 4x400 and sprint medley events.
A first and second in the pole vault from Sidney Merrill and Laura Measles did nothing to hurt the cause. Sydney Clarkson added a second in the 400 to round out Akron's high places.
The challenges from Paonia and Holyoke were fueled by stellar performances from two superior athletes--Johanna Reed of Paonia and Marissa Smith of Holyoke.
Johanna Reed barely missed coming home with four first-place medals, missing only with a fourth in the 3200. The fatigue that plagued her 3200, however, was nowhere evident in the 4x800, the 800, or the 1600. Reed's 2:16.16 narrowly missed the 2A state meet record.
Marissa Smith, on the other hand, did come home with four first-place medals and a state meet record of 1:45.69 in the 4x200 to boot. Smith was simply dominant in the sprints, winning with 12.73 (-3.6) in the 100, 25.51 (+2.3) in the 200, and 56.63 in the 400. Smith led a group of four girls, including teammate Heather Duester, through the 400 in under 59.00.
Amber Lowther and Brittney Graham also doubled up individual titles in 2A girls. Rocky Ford's Lowther won the high jump and triple jump, while Genoa-Hugo's Graham won both throwing events.
For those discouraged by the domination on display by Smith, Lowther, Graham, and Reed, consider that all four are seniors. Add to that the fact that 2A splits into 1A and 2A next year and it pretty quickly becomes apparent that there will be an radical changing of the guard in small track girls track and field next spring.
But that's not to say that Akron won't be the favorite again when the next season rolls around....