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NOTEBOOK: Johnson sharp in 400, but auto timing fails

AnthonyMoujaes • Jun 4, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Western Reserve's Darren Johnson and Clyde's Adam Turner came off the track after their 400-meter heat Friday afternoon and waited to see their times.

And they waited some more, but no one in that race knows how fast they ran because of a rare problem.

The automatic timing systems that provide results for the State Track and Field Championships failed during the boys 400-meter dash in Division II. Three independent computers all crashed at the same time during the second of two heats, Division II referee Roger Hosler said. "There were no times and no places (for the second heat)."

The first heat had no malfunctions, Hosler said. But officials and coaches decided to bring all 16 runners back today, and will run two races in the 400. One heat will have the slowest seven times -- based on regional seeding -- and the other will have the nine fastest times. The top eight times will be used to determine medal-winners and the state champion.

Johnson had the second-fastest time in the 400 entering the weekend (49.24), while Damian Winner of Versillaes (49.0) had the fastest. Turner came in with a 50.25, the 12th fastest time.

"We tried to find a solution, as this was the most agreeable one," Hosler said. Officials don't know what caused all three systems to crash simultaneously.

Johnson won his 400 heat, and also qualified in the 200 (22.47) with the ninth overall time. The top nine advanced to the championship race today.

"I wish I had longer legs so I could drive harder at the end," Turner said after his race ended. "I didn't know how that was going to work (running in Lane 7). I've never run on the outside."

While it looked like Turner, running at his first state meet, was third in his race, he will run in the first heat today, while Johnson runs in the second.

"He's very good," Turner said of Johnson. "He's just striding and he was pulling away. He's a great runner, and a good all-around athlete."

Johnson qualified to state in four events, but didn't fare well in the long jump. He cleared 20-103/4 after entering with a 22-41/2 from the regional meet. He finished tied for 12th.

"My steps were off, the board was weird, and I wasn't prepared mentally," said Johnson, who a year ago was the area's lone state champion after he won the high jump by clearing 6-6, the same height he cleared at regionals. His season best is 6-9.

"I think after the high jump (today) I will be feeling better," he said. "I was down after the long jump."

Bermudez moves on

Perkins senior Devin Bermudez inched closer to a state title in the 300 hurdles and 110 hurdles, qualifying to the championship race in both.

Bermudez, a regional champion a week ago, won his 300 hurdles heat rather easily, getting out to a comfortable lead before the final turn. He takes the No. 2 time into the final today.

"I knew I had to push myself and then I could ease up at the end," Bermudez said after his winning time of 38.07 seconds. "If I can give it everything I have (today), I know I can win it."

The top time, a 37.60, belongs to Dayton Chaminade-Julliene's Bryan Cain.

"I'm not satisfied. It's been a great year, but I'm not satisfied until I'm on top of the podium," Bermudez said. "I strive for that every day."

In the 110, Bermudez said he slipped out of the start on his way to the sixth-fastest time (14.56). Again, Cain has the top time in that race (14.05).

"It's all about the start. That's my weakness in the 110," Bermudez said.

Bellevue's Matt Agee was also in the 110, but with a 15.25 did not make the cut. It was the 11th fastest time.

Reynolds second, Turnow sixth in DT

A pair of Ottawa County throwers both earned podium finishes in the Division II discus.

Port Clinton's Allie Reynolds and Oak Harbor's Morgan Turnow were second and sixth in the event Friday morning.

"I was looking for one good throw," said Reynolds, who tossed a 129 feet 9 inches on her first attempt in the finals. Plains Athens Jamie Sindelar had the best throw of the morning (140-8) to place first.

Reynolds said she was nervous going into the finals, which she entered seventh with a preliminary throw of 122-8. She becomes a two-time placer after finishing eighth a year ago (117-4).

This is the first podium finish for Turnow, a junior. In ninth going into the finals, Turnow said the event wasn't quite what she expected, with a few early tosses that went as far as 119 feet, her sixth and final throw of 126 feet was her best.

She threw 126-3 at the regional meet a week ago in Lexington.

Lakers record falls

McComb's Jackie Leppelmeier won the Division III girls shot put, breaking two records in the process.

With the winning throw of 49-31/2, she demolished her own Division III record (48-81/4), as well as the state-meet record of Danbury's Rebecca Ann Ball (47-3 in 1994).

The purple parade

Fremont Ross and Vermilion sent nine athletes combined to Columbus, and eight of them were on the track Friday, with Emily Cunningham of the Sailors advancing to the finals today in three events.

Cunningham was eighth overall (12.46) in the 400, and in the 4x100 (Hannah Bartlome, AuBree LaForce, Jamie Gregory and Cunningham) earning the seventh best time (49.74). Cunningham capped off the day with a 25.40 in the 200, good for sixth.

Bartlome, a district champion in the high jump, was 15th on Friday (5 feet), and Vermilion's 4x200 was 11th in 1:48.18.

For Fremont, the 4x200 relay team (Ariana Spencer, Carlea Harper, Alycia Baumgardner, Mariah Mathews) was 11th in 1:43.47.

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