DIVISION III TRACK Maplewood has sights on state

The top four finishers in each event advanced to next week's state meet at Dayton's Welcome Stadium.
NAVARRE -- The announcement of the Maplewood High boys track and field team as Division III regional champion brought little fanfare.
There were no glorious shouts or jumps for joy, only a group of Rockets standing together with an aura of calm.
Maplewood opened eyes last season by tying for the state title. Now, after winning the lightning-delayed regional meet with 63 points Friday at Fairless High, the Rockets are returning to Dayton with a strong chance of repeating.
"All of our runners are very confident in themselves, but they also realize that the competition is as good, if not better," Maplewood coach David Deeter said. "It's their respect for the people they run against that helps a lot."
Maplewood can point to its victories by junior David Pykare in the 1600 (4:25.87) and 3200 (9:45.7) and a first-place finish by senior David Morrison in the 800 (1:57.6) as keys to its victory.
"For Pykare to win the mile and two-mile and then come back and run an awesome 4x400 leg [for a relay that finished third in 3:31.01] is just amazing," Deeter said.
Junior Dan Palm also qualified for Maplewood by placing fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.45), while sophomore John Palmer was fourth in the 800 (1:59.1).
The top four finishers in each event advanced to next week's state meet at Dayton's Welcome Stadium.
"[The state title] made us work harder over the winter, just thinking that we're coming back to defend it and a lot of people will be looking for us," Palmer said. "It just gives you a lot of adrenaline to work harder."
Girls: While the boys team was enjoying its day, so was Maplewood junior Christen Clemson, who won the discus (138-8) after fouling on her first two attempts.
A third-place finisher at state last year, Clemson said she gained inspiration Friday from her coaches, Deeter and Ted Rupe, who provided her with words of wisdom throughout the day.
"[Deeter] pulled me off to the side and asked me, 'Do you want to go for it or do you want to stand there?' " Clemson said of the exchange that took place after her two fouls.
"I'm like, 'Let's go for it.' I wasn't nervous. We just made the minor adjustments."
McDonald senior Carol Holmes continued her impressive run through the postseason meets. By winning the 100 (12.49) and 400 (56.76) and placing third in the 200 (26.18) Friday, Holmes accomplished her goal of qualifying for state in an individual event, something she had never done.
"Nothing could ruin today," said Holmes, who has overcome mononucleosis and a stress fracture during her career.
Holmes defeated her rival, junior Ina Jackson of Bedford Chanel, in the 100 and 400 while setting personal bests. Jackson won the 200 in the finale of their duels.
"I respect her as an athlete and competitor," Holmes said of Jackson, the defending state champion in the 200 and 400. "She's a hard worker, and that's what I try to do."
Step closer: South Range senior Kim Nemergut moved one step closer to defending her 1600 state title, winning the regional (5:14.08) by seven seconds over Burton Berkshire's Laura Boatwright.
"I feel like I have to be up there," Nemergut said of the pressure to defend. "There's a lot of pressure, but I need it. It's good pressure."
The area's only other regional champion was Warren JFK's 4x400 relay of Alvin Shavers, Brian Williams, Brian Barton and Ben Nolan. The quartet, which calls itself the "Hardcore 4x4," won in 3:27.9.
"If somebody's down, we pick each other up. We're a close team," Barton said. "All year we've been doing good, and it has finally paid off. We're going to Dayton."

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