COLUMBUS - The Inter-Tri County League had four boys 400-meter relay teams reach the state track meet. Only one made it through Friday, barely.
Mineral Ridge will race in the Division III state finals this morning after earning the ninth and final spot by three-hundredths of a second.
Seniors Ethan Dukes and Michael Eaton, junior John Bourgoin and sophomore Tait Rummell were fifth in their heat and ninth overall (44.46 seconds).
Mineral Ridge, United and Western Reserve all set school records last week, while South Range ran its best time of the season to advance to state.
"You make one mistake and you're out," United boys coach Troy Brunner said.
Three of the four are out.
United was disqualified after an exchange zone violation on the second exchange in the Division II race.
Senior Mike Martin, junior Riley Fillman and sophomore Alex Phillips and Tyler Powers ran a 43.77, which would have gotten them into the finals by one-hundredth of a second, before they were disqualified.
"I'm sure they are disappointed," Brunner said. "I'm disappointed, but they broke the school record and accomplished a lot."
The ninth and final spot in Division II went to Cambridge (43.78).
"As we all know, one bobble and you're done," Brunner said. "The good thing is we've got three of the four coming back."
Brunner watched the Division III relay races on Friday morning and saw what unfolded.
"I think it's hard to explain," he said. "It's a combination of pressure, the venue and being at state.
"The key is getting them into these situations during the season so they are used to it. Where we are located, it's kind of hard. They don't have that level of competition until now."
Columbus Bishop Watterson posted the top time in Division II (42.44). Defending state champion Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary was third fastest (42.97).
In Division III, Western Reserve seniors Josh Vuletich and Marc Harper and juniors Brian Sunderman and Joe Falasca were fifth in their heat and 11th overall (44.50).
South Range seniors Tanner Greene, Bryce Allen and Adam Meloy and sophomore Caleb Chaffee ran in the heat with Mineral Ridge and was sixth in that race and 12th overall (44.62).
Calvert had the top time in Division III at 42.50 seconds.
The top two in each heat and the next five fastest times advance to today's state finals.
Falasca was sixth in his heat and 10th overall in the Division III 110-meter hurdles (15.37). He was five-hundredths of a second away from advancing.
The Blue Devils had a big weekend. The relay team members went to Huntington Park in downtown Columbus on Friday to watch Western Reserve play in the baseball state semifinals before heading to the state track meet.
South Range senior Raianne Mason was edged out of the final qualifying spot in the Division II girls 300-meter hurdles by Edison senior Ashley Borsch.
They were fourth and fifth, respectively, in their heat with Borsch (47.06) placing ninth overall and Mason (47.18) placing 10th.
West Branch's 1600 relay team of seniors Rachel and Erin Carver, sophomore Haley Davis and freshman Calista Waters was fifth in its heat and 10th overall (4:04.32).
Carrollton was seventh in its heat and 14th overall (4:08.72).
Defending state champion Dayton Meadowdale had the top time (3:55.89) in Division II.
Also not advancing in Division II races were West Branch junior Josiah Ross in the boys 300 hurdles, seventh in his heat and 15th overall (41.04), and Minerva freshman Emmalee Markins in the girls 100 dash, eighth in her heat and 15th overall (12.65);