By Joe Scalzo
Ursuline sophomore Alex Carnathan is the pig-tailed daughter of a distance runner and a book-lover with a simple last name that everyone mispronounces.
(Don’t overthink it: It’s just “Car” and “Nathan.”)
She runs with a head-first lean — she sometimes looks like she’s got her head out the window of a car — and is so fast she would have beaten more than a half-dozen guys in the 100 meters at last week’s district meet.
On Saturday, she had to settle for beating every other girl at the Division II regional meet, edging Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy sophomore Autumn Young by an eyelash (they both finished in 12.50) before anchoring the Irish to victory in the 4x100 relay by one-hundredth of a second over Orange.
Both times she came from behind in the last 50 meters.
“I wasn’t really expecting to get first; I just wanted to make it to state,” she said of the 100. “Usually my starts are on point but if my start isn’t good, I can usually balance it out with a good finish.”
Carnathan has always been fast — “My family’s pretty fast on both sides; a lot of my cousins run track in other states” — but her father, Cecil, was a distance runner at East High and her mom prefers books.
“That’s OK,” she said. “I like to read, too.”
Carnathan’s relay teammates copied her hairstyle the last two weeks — “They’re like, ‘We’re a team, so we’re going to do it with you’” — but she’s the originator.
“I like to be different,” she said.
No worries there. Compared to other runners, she already is.
Klim sisters go 1-2
Before the 3200, Poland senior Michelle Klim told her sister McKinsie, that they shouldn’t settle for just making it to Columbus. They should try to finish first and second.
“It didn’t matter who was one and who was two,” Michelle said, “but we were going for it.”
That’s not entirely true. As she finished the race, Michelle heard Poland fans cheering McKinsie’s name, “so I knew it was her. But I still wanted to beat her.”
Michelle was strong from start to finish, placing first with a time of 11:37.84 — more than five seconds ahead of McKinsie, who had a strong final kick to hold off runners from Crestwood and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary for second.
“I just know someone told me that fifth and fourth [place] were right behind me when I was 50 meters away,” said McKinsie, one of three triplets (along with Melissa). “I know I don’t have a strong kick, so I knew I needed to go.”
Michelle is hoping to break 11 minutes at next week’s state meet — the first appearance for either sister — but McKinsie has a different goal.
“I just want to beat her,” she said of Michelle.
Mooney relays advance
Mooney junior Dawan Britt had a rough start to Saturday’s meet by false-starting the 100 but he rebounded to help the Cardinals place second in the 4x200 relay and fourth in the 4x100 relay.
“I know I had a bad start but I knew we had two relays with the potential to go to state, so I couldn’t let that get to me, you know what I mean?” Britt said.
Mooney’s 4x200 relay dropped the baton at last year’s regional meet only to rebound in the 4x100, so overcoming adversity is nothing new.
“We had everybody [in the relay] coming back so we knew this was a special year for us,” Britt said. “We just have to make the best of it and hopefully get that state title.”
Struthers’ Arnoldo Morales advanced in two events (high jump and 4x200 relay), as did Mooney’s Jayshawn Coleman (200, 4x200). Lakeview’s Eric Harris (1600), Liberty’s John Helms (400), Salem’s Zack Wukotich (high jump) and Poland’s 4x400 relay also qualified for next week’s state meet.
In the shot put, the top four were all from the Valley: Salem’s Anthony Shivers, West Branch’s Andrew Filp, Struthers’ Dan Pape and Lakeview’s Jordan Lowther.
Individual qualifiers on the girls side were LaBrae’s Megan Gunther (100 hurdles), Poland’s Sage Spotleson (100 hurdles), West Branch’s Haley Davis (1600) and Salem’s Ciera Trybend (discus). Girard’s girls 4x200 relay and West Branch’s girls 4x400 relay also advanced.