Quakers have a lot to be proud of

Salem’s Hunter Christopher crosses the finish line with a third-place finish in the 3200-meter run Saturday during the Div. II state track meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. (Salem News/Ron Firth)

COLUMBUS — When Salem junior Hunter Christopher crossed the finish in third place in the Division II 3200-meter run, he threw his hands into the air.

“That was pure happiness and pure joy,” he said. “Crossing the finish line is what I’ll remember the most.”

Christopher ran a personal-best 9 minutes, 34.16 seconds. He finished third after coming in with the 16th-fastest time.

“You know where you stand, but there are a lot of great runners here,” Christopher said.

Salem sophomore Carly Hall was fifth in the Division II girls 1600 run in a school-record 5:04.22.

“I’m really glad,” Hall said. “I’m happy I got on the podium individually and got the record.”

Both runners fell back early in their races.

“I didn’t think I was out of the race, just bad positioning,” Christopher said. “I was in eighth or ninth. When opportunites presented themselves, I took advantage of them.”

He also ran on the Quakers’ 3200 relay team that was 13th Friday.

“It didn’t go as well as we would have liked in the relay,” he said. “I just put it behind me and looked at this race.”

He was busy preparing for it Saturday.

“It’s a blessing to finish third,” Christopher said. “Sitting in the hotel, I was watching race film from last year. On the fifth or sixth lap, you have to (go after it).”

West Branch senior Jeff Joseph was 13th (9:57.79).

“I’m feeling a lot better than I thought,” Christopher said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t think it was going to be this breezy.”

Hall was 11th at the midway point and worked her way through the field

“I wasn’t worried,” Hall said. “I knew everybody would go out fast. I figured they would fizzle out and they did. I wanted to keep on my pace for the record. And I did.”

Her time is the best in the area in the last five years.

“I’m so excited about next year,” she said. “I’m thinking about running another event.”

While Hall is proud of running on Salem’s eighth-place 3200 relay team Friday, she said it’s not like getting an individual medal.

“I love running with my relay team,” Hall said. “But being up there by myself … I got up there all on my own and it was all my own work.”

State notes

¯ Salem senior Haley Rozeski was ninth in the Division II girls 800 run (2:19.94). She was 10th last year.

¯ United sophomore Hannah Minor was 11th in the Division III girls 800 run with a personal-best 2:19.93.

¯ Minerva had a pair of 10th-place finishers in the Division II 1600 run — seniors Joey Stafford (4:27.54) and Nelle Yankovich (5:11.43).

¯ Hall broke the school mark of 5:05.74 set by Mary Bauman in 2000 when she finished third in the Division II state meet.

¯ Christopher is aiming for the 3200 school record of 9:16 set by Aiman Scullion.

“Next year I’ll get that,” he said.

¯ “I’m going to enjoy this and take some time off.” Christopher said. “I’ll take three weeks off to let my body recover.”

When he starts getting ready for cross country season, he said he’ll be running 80 miles a week.

“I dont take any rest days,” he said.