St. Mary Central Catholic’s Lindsay Kaatz isn’t making her first appearance at the State Track and Field Tournament in Columbus, but her goals have changed.
“Last year was mainly a time for me to be at state. This year it’s more to run well at state,” she said. “I’m definitely getting a lot more mentally prepared and focused more this year.
“It’s not just, ‘Hey, I made state.’ It’s, ‘I’m going to do something at state.’ I’m really ready to go out there and fight and give it my all.”
Kaatz was 12 of 13 runners in the 2010 state meet, finishing with a mark of 5:29.18 after qualifying with a season-best time of 5:16.57 at the regional meet.
“When you go out to state, people run and they don’t slow down. It’s really who can keep up,” she said. “Last year I kind of had a bad day. Those days happen. It was disappointing that it had to happen at state, but lesson learned. I just really wanted to come back this year and really prove that I could do it this year.”
This year Kaatz has done it again — She set a new PR at the regional meet, 5:15.83, good for third place behind Hawken’s Alexandra Markovic (5:08.79) and Bluffton’s Hannah Chappell-Dick (5:13.66). Kaatz qualified with the eighth-fastest time around Ohio, earning her a starting spot in the front row in lane 7 in the finals at 10:05 a.m. Saturday.
“She’s definitely prepared physically, but (distance coach Dale) Kennedy does a lot of mental preparation with her,” SMCC coach Chad Kresser said. “They both know all the runners, so they have an idea of what the other kids are going to be able to do, where she should be each lap and things like that.”
The Panthers — including the 4x100 relay of Brady Bowers, Malyssa Dunn, Cate Murphy and Armelle DeRiso — traveled to Columbus Thursday. Because Kaatz’s event is Saturday, she had two days to settle in and prepare.
Kresser emphasized the importance mental preparation for the bigger competitions.
“I think it’s really what separates the average from the good and the good from the best,” he said.
“I think our kids do a good job of rising to the competition, and I think it’ll bring out the best in them. I think they’re pretty mentally tough, so they’ll be prepared to do the best they can, especially races like the mile: The last two laps and the last lap, are mental toughness tests.”
And Kaatz, one of the hardest workers on the team, hasn’t found her ceiling, Kresser said.
“She shaved a little bit off her (personal record), but I still think she’s untapped,” Kresser said. “I think she can do a lot more.
“Really, that was her first race experience, last week when she really had somebody to contend with. Hopefully she’ll learn from that and be able to come back this week and do even a little better job.”
Her goal is to break 5:10 and land in the top eight, earning a spot on the podium.
“It’s been a goal of mine to win state, eventually,” Kaatz said. “To podium here would definitely be a big stepping stone for next year; hopefully I can get up there next year. My coaches have prepared me. Fingers crossed.”
Division III glance
The Division III girls 4x100 relay is stacked with local athletes. Representing St. Mary Central Catholic, Brady Bowers, Malyssa Dunn, Cate Murphy and Armelle DeRiso will make their first appearance at the state meet after qualifying with a time of 51.63. St. Paul’s relay of Lydia Ott, Maddie Meyer, CeCe Hanline and Olivia Livengood will also compete after finishing in 51.74 in the regional meet. Also out of the Firelands Conference, Western Reserve’s Ashten Robson, Annie Pleines, Carli Patrick and Marissa Jackson qualified with a time of 51.39. Fremont St. Joseph’s relay of Maddi Filliater, Kelsey Burkin, Whitney Drown and Lindsay Weickert also earned a spot in Columbus after qualifying with a time of 51.55. The preliminary heats are at 10:50 a.m. Friday with finals at 10:20 a.m. Saturday.
Fremont St. Joseph’s Brant Reardon already set the Division III boys state high jump record earlier this season, leaping 7-01⁄4 in the district meet two weeks ago. The defending Division III champion, qualifying with a jump of 6-6, will try to raise the bar even higher — and beat the mark of Otis Winston (Toronto) again for the state-meet record as well at noon on Friday. Reardon will also compete in the long jump (20-10) alongside St. Paul senior Eric Bradt (20-8) at 3 p.m. on Friday.
St. Paul’s girls 4x100 relay — Ott, Meyer, Hanline and Livengood — also earned a trip to Columbus in the 4x200, which qualified with a time of 1:47.30. They’ll run in lane 7 of the second heat on Friday at 10:30 a.m. Finals are Saturday at 9:45 a.m. The SJCC relay of Filliater, Weickert, Drown and Burkin — also in the 4x100 — will also compete after qualifying in 1:47.76.
The Western Reserve girls will have a pair of entries in the 400-meter dash. Roughriders Ashten Robson (59.77) and sophomore Carli Patrick (59.94) will run in the preliminaries at 11 a.m. Friday. The 400 finals are at 10:35 a.m. Saturday. Robson will also run in the 200 dash after qualifying in 26.46 seconds. SJCC’s Burkin, also earned a spot with a qualifying time of 26.56.
Jackson, a Western Reserve junior, will compete in the girls 300 hurdles after qualifying in 46.47 seconds. The preliminaries on Friday at at 11:20, while Saturday’s finals are at 10:40 on Saturday morning.
New London’s Jon Albaugh will go the distance in Saturday’s 3200-meter run (just under two miles) at the state tournament after qualifying with a time of 9:51.57 in the regional meet.
St. Joseph’s Burkin will run in the 100 dash, rounding out her three events of the tournament. Her Crimson Streak teammate, Sylvia Reinhart, will contend for the shotput title after qualifying with a throw of 40-3 at the regional meet. Reinhart will have tough competition, however: McComb’s Jackie Leppelmeier set a Division III record with a heave of 48-81⁄4 in the regional meet. Leppelmeier will take aim at the state-meet record of 47-3 held by Danbury’s Rebecca Ann Ball (1994).