Day One Ohio Athletes Recap
By Norm Weber
Special To The Plain Dealer
May 27, 2010
BEREA, OHIO – The Tressel Field Track in the George Finnie Stadium is a special place for the defending Division III national 400-meter hurdles champion Cory Beebe from Salisbury University in Maryland, and today was no different in the first day of the NCAA nationals here on the campus of Baldwin Wallace.
“While competing in a meet in this complex in high school, I met my coach (Kevin Lucas) for the first time,” said Beebe, a Medina High alumnus. “He was the coach at Heidelberg at the time and so I went there to start my college career. When he got the job at Salisbury, I went there with him.”
Lucas has since left Salisbury to become the head women’s coach at Mount Union, but this time Beebe stayed put. Nonetheless, he got the chance to return to the Cleveland area with the national meet happening here and his subsequent qualifying to here again.
“This is always a special track for me to run on,” said Beebe, who had the third best preliminaries time (5/100ths of a second from the first and 2/100ths from the second best qualifying time) in today’s prelims and easily qualified for Saturday’s finals. “It’s great to run with friends and family watching. That makes it even extra special to be here and does give me a little kick to run better.”
Also in today’s preliminary races in the first of three days of the NCAA Division III National Track and Field Championships, Heidelberg had two young men on its 400 relay team who were opponents in the Lake Erie League in high school, Elyria grad Julius Higginbotham and Admiral King alum Paris Hilliard.
“This is great that Paris and I and the rest of our teammates were able to get to the national level and get it to be so close to home,” said Higginbotham, also an all-league performer in football for the Student Princes. “Division III does not get much play, but when we can get to the national level, people start taking notice. It helped get some friends and family out to the meet today.”
Although they finished fourth in their heat and their time was better than two teams that did qualify (heat winners automatically qualify regardless of time), the Berg did not make it through the prelims and to the finals.
“We did have a little bit of a troubling exchange between the first and second legs but we still ran our best,” said Hilliard. “It did give us some extra adrenalin being close to home for a national meet and having friends here to watch us. We don’t get to compete often around the Cleveland area, so it is great to do it in a national meet.”
Host Baldwin Wallace was able to claim an All-American on the first day of events with Kevin Phipps talking fifth in the hammer throw.
“I am always going to want more than what I got, but I cannot complain about getting up on the podium in front of all my friends here at a national championship like this,” said Phipps. “I could have thrown better but I appreciated how well the guys ahead of me threw today. It was great going up against competition like that and at this level on my home course.”
Broadview Heights native and Brecksville-Broadview High alumna Sharon Rymut had a free trip back home from Delaware in qualifying in the hammer throw for Ohio Wesleyan. Since she just graduated and will begin her Master’s/PhD program in pharmacology shortly at Case Reserve in the fall, the path to the county fairgrounds for the event put her right about where she needs to be at this point in her life.
In preliminary throws, Rymut came in seeded 15th and finished 16th, ,missing the cut for the finals.
“I am not disappointed at all with where I finished,” Rymut said. “I did not have high expectations; just making it to nationals in this event was thrilling. That it was right down the street from where I grew up made it even more exciting. I have competed in events at Division III colleges around Cleveland so I knew what to expect.
“I had never tried this event until I got to Ohio Wesleyan since it is not offered in high school. Even throughout my college career, the discus has been my best event of the three I competed in, so making it in this event to the national level puts a good cap on my college career.”
Rymut’s teammate, Kyle Faris from Olmsted Falls, will be competing in the shot put tomorrow. Phipps also qualified in the discus and will throw again tomorrow.
“The disc has always been my best event, but the hammer is getting there even though I have been doing it for only three years,” Phipps said.
North Olmsted native Steve Price had a busy day today and be as busy tomorrow competing for BW in decathlon, which completed the first pentathlon of two today, leaving Price in position to place and attain All American status by the end of the day tomorrow.
Price was ninth at the end of the day, doing less than normal in his best event, the long jump, but making up for it in the next event, the shot put, with his best showing of the season.
“I don’t think I had my best day in this event, but still being in position to place high despite the disappointments I experienced today says a lot for focusing on what I need to do and not worrying about what the other guys are doing, which I cannot control,” said Price. “It is great to have the nationals here because while my friends might have seen me compete, I have never done a decathlon so close to home so this is the first time they get to see it.
“Because I am doing more than one thing, it made it worth it for them to come and watch since it was not just a quick race and all was done. This is the first time my brother got to see me do a decathlon. I even had some friends on John Carroll’s team come from across town to see me compete.”
He was tied for fifth with two events to go, but a 14th in the last event of the day, the 400 dash, dropped him down a few notches.
Case Reserve’s Obinna Nwanna had a sterling day in the decathlon, finishing the day in third place with 3,712 points, 74 behind leader Kurtis Brondyke of Central College (IA). Price has 3,516. Nwanna moved up from seventh after two events to third after five.
Berea native D’Arcy Hlavin finished ninth in her heat of the 1,500 run, short of qualifying to Saturday’s final for BW.
Kim Keesler, a Chagrin Falls High alumna, finished 14th in the pole vault for Marietta.
Trinity High alum Tanasia Hoffler, who runs the anchor leg of the Williams College 400 relay team, helped her team qualify to Saturday’s finals. The foursome finished second in its heat today.
Mary Mahoney of Mount Union finished 16th in the 200 dash and will run the 400 tomorrow.