COLUMBUS — The Medina 4x400-meter relay made a habit of breaking records this season.
That trend continued Saturday night, as Chris Kelly, Jack Hutz, Harry Custer and Mike Kelly again reset the school record, this time earning third in Division I at the State Track and Field Championships.
“We knew it all along,” Custer said of the record-setting performance. “We know what to expect out of ourselves and with two seniors, it was going to be their last race, so we wanted to leave it all on the track. That’s what we had to do, and that’s what we did.”
Fittingly enough, those seniors — Chris Kelly and Hutz — got the Bees off to a great start. Custer and Mike Kelly brought it home in 3:18.53 to break the 3:20.04 set at the Amherst Regional.
Hutz’s second leg proved to be key, as he picked off multiple runners to set the stage for a thrilling finish.
Medina finished behind Pickerington Central (3:16.34) and Dublin Coffman (3:18.53).
“I didn’t know how fast I was going,” Hutz said. “I tried to push on the backstretch more than I usually do, and I was just trying to keep up with Pickerington. I know their guys are fast, so I just wanted to keep with him, and I was close to catching him on the straightaway.”
The 4x4’s performance wrapped up a productive day for the Bees, as Custer and Mike Kelly made individual trips to the podium. Brunswick hurdler Jalen Daniel also earned All-Ohio accolades.
Custer used a quick start to stay with the lead pack in the 800 before finding an extra gear with less than a lap to go to place sixth in 1:53.78.
“I thought I went out a little fast, but Coach (Milt Place) wanted to me to go out that way,” the three-event state qualifier said. “I tried to make a move with 300 to go and I made the move, but it didn’t work out in the end for me, stumbling to get to the finish, but I’m happy with the place and happy with the time.”
Mike Kelly passed Sandusky’s Tevin Stewart and Newark’s Bobby Crenshaw on the final straightaway of the 400, recording 49.03 to take seventh.
“I thought I finished pretty good,” he said. “Being in Lane 1 is just really hard. I could see everyone ahead of me, but the curve felt like it was really long. But somehow, I was able to pass two kids. I thought I could’ve run faster, but it was good.”
Daniel capped a breakout season in the 300 hurdles with an eighth-place finish in 38.73. The senior recorded Medina County’s fastest time (38.46) earlier in the year.
“I felt the race went well,” Daniel said. “The competition was tough, and I gave it my all. It was fun and one of the best experiences I've had.”
Brunswick sophomore Tomas Rimac also made his state debut, but the sophomore fouled each of his three attempts in the discus.
In D-II, Cloverleaf’s Max Gucker felt just short of a podium finish after he placed 11th in the 3,200. The junior made a kick on the final lap, surging ahead of Christian Leach of Monroe and Jeff Joseph of West Branch before crossing in 9:54.52.
“It was fast,” Gucker said. “I didn’t think my first lap was that fast, but it felt fast because everyone was right there. I think I started my kick too late. I should’ve started it a lap earlier or maybe with three left.
“It was awesome, though. I’ve been working for this my whole career, especially after cross country states. My goal was to make it here and really race and show what I can do. Now I know that I can get podium, I just need to stay humble and know that I can do this.”