The Lordstown senior broke the Division III state record for the 800.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- The best weekend of Lordstown High senior Tom Andriko's running career didn't start on Friday. It started four years ago, when Andriko started running hundreds of miles, dreaming of what could be.
"There are a lot of good 800-meter runners in this area," Andriko said. "Each year, there's someone pushing me and someone I can look up to. You know there's always someone working harder."
As he reached the final 200 meters of his illustrious career on Saturday, he picked up his pace and sprinted into history, breaking the state Division III record in the 800 with a time of 1:53.33 at Saturday's state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium.
"I knew it was in reach," Andriko said of the record. "When I hit the back straightaway, I just tried to put in everything from the last four years into those last 200 meters."
On the map
Two days ago, Lordstown had never won a state title in any sport. Now the Red Devils have two, with Andriko anchoring Friday's state-winning 4x800 relay.
"We've put Lordstown on the map," he said.
Maplewood's running program has been on the map for years. Rocket sophomores Andy Arnio and Andy Morgan merely added the latest chapters on Saturday. Arnio won the 3200 and Morgan placed third in the 1600 despite running in the brutal heat and humidity.
"It was a lot of fun even though the weather was horrible," Arnio, who finished sixth in the event last year, said. "Man, it was humid. I was hurting in the fifth and sixth laps and I was just counting in my head how many laps to go before I could kick it in."
Arnio had the best qualifying time entering the race, which put a little extra pressure on him.
"I got really nervous when I woke up this morning," he said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, all the pressure is on me.' But me and Morgan told each other the same thing. Just run our race and we'll be fine.
"That's exactly what I did."
Morgan, sporting a light blue headband, glasses and dark blue-tinted hair, shaved three seconds off his regional time and was happy with his performance, although not as much with his hair color.
"It was supposed to be black, but stuff happens," he said, laughing. "It was very tough to run in this weather, but everyone had to deal with it, not just me. I'm just happy with my finish."
South Range senior Dan Nemergut capped his stellar running career by placing second in the 3200 behind Arnio, breaking a 25-year-old school record in the process.
"Best race ever," said Nemergut, whose time of 9:29.89 broke the previous record of 9:31. "I wanted to get that record so bad.
"I knew I had to give my all."
Nemergut, a state cross country champion last fall, placed eighth in the event last year.
Not a bad way to go out.
"Definitely," he said. "I never expected any of this."