COLUMBUS — Twinsburg girls track came in to the state meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with its confidence running at an all-time high.
While the team title eluded the Tigers, who tied for second last year with 31 points, they still had an excellent weekend. Twinsburg finished fifth in the state with 29 points. Lakota East won the Division I girls state title with 65 points.
The Tigers defended their 2018 title in the 4x200 relay, as seniors Mariah Myles, Nya Bussey and Nia Robinson and junior Alyssa Willis finished first in 1:37.77.
"I wanted to go out on top, so our 4x2, we really pushed because we know we could do it in anything, but we just felt so confident in that (event)," Bussey said. "That was great to win that (relay)."
Robinson admitted to some slight disappointment as the unit was gunning for the state meet record of 1:37.02 set by Reynoldsburg in 2009. Still, she said, it was an honor to maintain their state championship status.
"I’m happy with our place and I’m happy with my relay teammates for doing their part in the relay," Robinson said. "I felt I finished on a really good note. We made it a goal to strive for excellence — that was a main goal throughout the season — so when we have such high goals, every little win is a step toward that goal."
And winning that 4x200 was no little achievement — given the heated competition from Lakota East. Bussey could tell the Tigers were in decent shape when she got the baton halfway through the race. Lakota East was still slightly in front, but given the stagger, Twinsburg had a great shot.
"I knew I could open up on the straight and pass her," Bussey said. "Our pop-off, Alyssa, gets us a really good start. Then, Mariah just keeps it, then I try to open it up and then Nia, our anchor, finishes it and it just works perfect for us."
The Tigers will lose a lot of key pieces to graduation, including Myles, Bussey and Robinson.
"I’m going to miss them so much," Bussey said. "We’re such a close family. We really push each other every day and we just want the best for each other. I’m really going to miss that team aspect and just they’re all my best friends, so it’s really sad."
Individually, Robinson finished second in the 400 (55.02).
Bussey was third in the 200 (24.39) and fourth in the 100 (12.22). The previous day, she set a PR and a school record with her 24.35 time in the preliminary run of the 200 dash.
"I just wanted to do better than I did last year and run faster times, which I did in the 200," Bussey said.
As for the 100, 12.22 seconds is a pretty good time, right?
"Well ..." Bussey started, pointing out her PR is 11.78.
"That wind didn’t help anyone," Bussey said. "I just had to do that and I felt pretty good."
It also felt good — and weird — for Bussey to run at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for the first time since committing to run at Ohio State several months ago.
"It’s kind of like bittersweet," Bussey said. "I end my high school career here and I start my college career here."
Jimmy Miller contributed reporting for this article.