Miami Trace High School will be represented by five student-athletes at this weekend’s State track meet in Columbus.
Drake Litteral has qualified to State in the 200-meter dash and as a member of the 4 x 200-meter relay. The other members of the relay are: Tyrae Pettiford, Noah Wiseman and Elijah Sauceda.
Sophomore Katie Seyfang will be competing Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the shot put. (Please see page 11 for a report.)
In Division II, the track events begin Friday at 1:30 p.m. with the girls 4 x 800-meter relay finals.
The Panthers will be in lane one in the second heat of the 4 x 200-meter relay semifinals Friday at 2:40 p.m. at the Jesse Owens Memorial Track at The Ohio State University.
Their Regional time of 1:31.91 places them 16th out of 16 teams.
The top two finishing teams in each heat, plus the next five fastest times, qualify to Saturday’s finals.
Drake Litteral will have until 3:50 p.m. before the start of the 200-meter dash semifinals.
His Regional time of 22.71 places him 13th out of 16 competitors. He will run in lane seven in the second semifinal heat on Friday.
Again, the top two in each heat, plus the next five best times, advance to Saturday’s finals.
The Record-Herald spoke with the four student-athletes and their coach, Brent Noes, Tuesday.
They reflected on Saturday’s Regional finals and gave their thoughts on the State meet.
All are newcomers to the State track meet, except for Tyrae Pettiford, who qualified last year as a member of the Miami Trace 4 x 400-meter relay.
“I think on Saturday, we didn’t run to the best of our ability,” sophomore Noah Wiseman said. “We didn’t take it as seriously as we should have. We have to push harder for State.”
The Panthers set a new school record of 1:31.59 in the Regional prelims. In the finals Saturday, they placed fourth with a time of 1:31.91.
“I hope that we run the best that we can,” Wiseman said. “Hopefully we get top three or No. 1, of course. As long as we all do the best that we can, that’s all I can hope for.”
“We definitely didn’t run to the best of our abilities (in the Regional finals),” junior Drake Litteral said. “I think the heat got to us, because, none of us were running at our maximum strength. I don’t know what was wrong with us.
“Hillsboro beat us (the Indians placed third, .45 of a second ahead of the Panthers),” Litteral said. “We’ve proved that we can beat Hillsboro, so, I don’t know what was wrong.”
Litteral spoke about the 200-meter dash.
“I felt okay, but I didn’t run my best,” Litteral said. “I don’t really know what was wrong with me.” Perhaps really not much was wrong with Litteral, or the relay team. He was .2 of a second slower than the prelims at 22.71.
Litteral is 13th out of 16 competitors from all over Ohio.
“I don’t think I had enough water before (the race),” Litteral said. “I need to be drinking more water in that kind of heat.”
Litteral gave a few thoughts about the upcoming State meet.
“We can for sure make it to finals,” Litteral said. “If we change the order up, like coach plans to, I think we can.”
The current order for the 4 x 2 has Pettiford leading off, with Sauceda the second leg, Wiseman the third leg and Litteral the anchor.
The new order the Panthers are working on this week has Wiseman leading off, followed by Pettiford, Sauceda and Litteral.
“We can definitely make it to finals if we run to the best of our abilities,” Litteral said.
“In the 200, my best time is pretty close to like 80 percent of the kids up there,” Litteral said. “The goal is just to place. I’m not looking to win it, or anything. That would be nice, but, I don’t think I will. I would be more than satisfied to place. I’m happy to be there.”
Elijah Sauceda will move in the relay order from second to third leg.
“It’s basically the same for me,” Sauceda said. “Tyrae is still handing off to me; it’s still the same steps and everything. I just need to practice (handing off to) Drake.”
Sauceda was asked about Saturday’s Regional finals.
“Our handoffs weren’t terrible, but they weren’t perfect, either,” Sauceda said. “We didn’t prepare very well. We definitely need to be drinking more water. We need to warm-up a bit more seriously; we really didn’t do that. We just have to be better prepared.
“We hope to place,” Sauceda said. “If we keep on improving like we had been previous to Saturday, we might get top four, which would be fantastic if we could do that.”
Tyrae Pettiford spoke first about his 400-meter final at the Regional. After running the fastest time Thursday (49.78) he ran a 51.95 in the finals Saturday, placing fifth.
“Just the nerves got to me before the race,” Pettiford said. “I wasn’t really mentally prepared. I just lost; that’s all that happened, really.
“We did well in the (4 x 2),” Pettiford said. “We’re going to State, so, I’m happy for us. Our time wasn’t good, but, we still made it.”
Pettiford gave his thoughts on the State meet.
“Only time will tell,” Pettiford said. “Hopefully we do well and make it to finals. That’s what I hope for us.”
This is Pettiford’s second time to State. Last year he went to State in the 4 x 400 with his brothers, DeAndre and Cedric and Jaycee Perry, who stepped in so that Caleb Wilt could focus on the two hurdle races.
“Our goal for both boys’ races is to get everybody through to the finals on Saturday,” head coach Brent Noes said. “That’s our goal. Our 4 x 2 is running real well right now. They set a new school record on Thursday at the Regionals (in the prelims).
“They all feel, as we all do as a staff, that they can run a little better,” Noes said. “Drake in the open 200, I’m very pleased with him. He’s such a strong runner, especially down the stretch. We hope that we can contest both of those races in the finals on Saturday.”
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1