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Warren JFK boys 4x200m relay team bounces back from slow start to finish 2nd at state meet

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes. Jaylen Murray (left) takes off during the third leg of the Division III boys 4x200m relay at the state meet earlier this month while teammate Marcus Komora (right) watches following the exchange.

DAYTON — Warren JFK’s boys 4x200m relay team didn’t run nearly as well as they could have on the first day of the OHSAA track and field state meet. Fortunately, the finals were on the second day.

A day after finishing second in their heat with a time of 1:30.93, the slowest of any of the eight teams that qualified for the Division III finals, the Eagles’ team of Jaylen Murray, Noah Elser, Nate Cuckovich and Marcus Komora flew past the competition en route to a second-place finish.

Elser, the team’s anchor, said the silver medal was anything but surprising.

“We all know we could have been one,” Elser said. “What happened yesterday, other teams just ran good. We didn’t run our best. But we turned that around today.”

Murray had another theory as to why they fared so much better on Friday than Thursday.

“We just got lucky No. 7,” Murray said with a smile, referring to the lane number they ran in for the finals. “That’s our best lane.”

Whether it was luck or not, Kennedy’s performance impressed nonetheless; the Eagles improved upon their preliminary time by nearly a second and fell just 0.17 seconds shy of capturing gold. Marion Local ultimately won the event with a time of 1:29.77, while JFK finished second at 1:29.94.

For the team, the second-place finish was a season’s worth of training being put to the test.

“We just trusted our preparation, our hard work and practice every day and every week,” Komora said. “Nothing really changed here. We just had to take care of what we could control and let the rest happen.”

The race also served as proof of the team’s “instant” chemistry.

“[Murray’s] a freshman, we brought him in and I think that’s a reason for our success, our chemistry,” Elser said. “We all just work together well.”

Unlike many teams that place at states, Kennedy’s 4×200 team, which if kept intact would feature three seniors and a sophomore, will have an offseason to keep building their chemistry before trying to return to states next year and take aim at winning the state title.

Have an interesting story? Contact Preston Byers by email at pbyers@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @PresByers.

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