Aczel seizes the moment
COLUMBUS — South Range senior Kayti Aczel vowed to return to the state track meet and better last year’s 16th-place finish in the Division II discus.
Aczel became the first South Range girl in 11 years to reach the podium by placing eighth at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Friday morning.
“I’m very happy with what I did,” she said. “That was what I was working for all year, doing my best here.”
Her toss of 129-feet-1 was 1 inch shy of her personal best and 11 inches shy of Leanna Schuster’s school record.
“I was disappointed I didn’t get the school record,” Aczel said. “It was still a good day.”
She was sitting in ninth place, one shy of the podium, after throwing 123-11 in the preliminaries.
“I knew what I could throw,” she said. “But you have to do it here.”
Aczel did that in her last meet.
“I made up for last year,” she said. “I let that disappointment hang around for a little bit.”
The door opened for Aczel after Salem junior Caitlyn Marx, who had the best mark in Division II during the season, didn’t make it to the finals.
Marx fouled on her first two attempts and settled for 11th place at 119-3.
“I felt so bad for her,” Aczel said. “I know how hard she prepares and what she can do. Everyone knows how well she can throw. I hope it doesn’t affect her. I know how difficult it can be. She still has next year.”
Marx’s misfortune turned into Aczel’s fortune.
“People were telling me, ‘That’s good for you.’ But I know she can do better.”
Edison junior Faith Hoobler was 12th (116-11).
¯ Southern Local freshman Bradly Sloan fouled on his attempts in the Division III boys long jump.
¯ Springfield senior Shantel Springer, a four-year state qualifier in the Division III girls long jump, placed 15th (15-feet-8 1/2).
¯ Aczel and the three South Range boys state qualifiers attended the South Range baseball team’s state semifinal victory in Columbus on Thursday night.
“That was very cool and fun,” she said. “I’m very proud of them.”
¯ South Range distance runners Cameron Tarr and Ian Pierson will be running in the state finals this afternoon, the same time the Raiders’ baseball team will be going its own state crown down the street.