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McClain’s 4x100m girls relay team returns to Div. II state meet

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
McClain's 4x100 relay team of (l-r) Ryan Butterbaugh, Brenna Wright, Katie Cook and Luca Matesic is pictured after their event at the 2023 OHSAA State Track and Field Championships Friday. Wright was also an individual qualifier, competing in the 100 hurdles. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha and Caitlin Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

COLUMBUS — For the second consecutive year, the McClain Lady Tigers 4x100-meter relay team competed on the biggest stage in high school sports, that being the 2023 OHSAA State Track and Field Championships, Friday in Columbus at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. 

Three of the runners raced on the team that qualified last year, with those runners being senior Ryan Butterbaugh, sophomore Katie Cook and junior Luca Matesic. Also running this year was sophomore Brenna Wright, as she was an individual state qualifier this year for the first time in the 100-meter hurdles race. Last year, Wright was an alternate on the team. 

On Friday in the race, the Lady Tigers finished in 17th place out of 18 teams with a time of 51.28.

Butterbaugh spoke about the experience of being a two-time state qualifier and running at state for her final race at McClain. 

“My thoughts on this race would definitely be that we could have done better, but with the heat and with everything that went down today, even though we didn't have the best circumstances, and we didn't run our best race, we still beat the school record last week,” Butterbaugh said. “That's really all that matters to us. All of these girls and I as a whole, we've really worked really hard to be where we are. I just wanted to make my last year a good one, and if it weren't for them, then it wouldn't have happened. I've had a great year with them, and last few years with them. I wouldn’t want to run with anybody else. 

“It is very crazy (being a two-time state qualifier) because I never thought that I would go to state twice. I thought that last year was just sort of a luck thing. I guess we should give ourselves credit for the talent that we have and all the work that we've put in. We think that we've really earned our spot this year.”

Wright talked about her two races on Friday.

“It was not my best time at all (the state 100m hurdles),” Wright said. “I was a little tired, but I mean, that happens. You go so far in your season, and you work so hard — I worked so hard to get my three step all the way — so I'm definitely a little bit wore out from the season. I'm proud of how I came, and I'm proud that I got to state this year because I didn't think I was going to make it.

“Like Ryan said, the circumstances weren't great today. It's real hot. I think we're all a little bit tired. We've been out here a while. We did beat the school record (at regionals), so that is really what matters. And I'm still proud of us, no matter if our time went down. I still think we gave it our all, and that's enough for me. I'm really happy with how we did this year.”

Cook gave her thoughts about Friday’s race.

“It’s just a really great experience, great to run on this track and see everyone from like all around the state,” Cook said. “I never thought I'd be here twice, let alone once, so it's just a good experience, and doing it with teammates I love, it's just such a good thing with my friends.”

Matesic also spoke about the 100m relay state event and the season. 

“This year coming in, we knew we had the chance to come back to state again. We were running with Iva Easter last year, and she was really fast. We had a lot of time to shave off without her, but we've all put in the work,” Matesic said. “We've all spent countless hours on the track. We've come in to non-mandatory practices, and we've put in the work outside of the season.

“I’m happy we made it again this year. I think we're all really impressed with ourselves for making it twice, and two years in a row.”

This season, the McClain 4x100m relay team were Frontier Athletic Conference runners-up at 51.46 and won a district championship at 51.73. At regionals, they had a time of 50.66, being the regional runners-up. 

In the hurdles race, Wright had a time of 16.41 for 18th place. 

Wright at the FAC Championships this year was third (16.47) in the 100m hurdles race. At the district meet, she was the champion, taking first place at 15.66. The regionals saw her finish in third place, having the same time of 15.66.