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Academy Runs Away With Pair of District Titles

On the eve of the beginning of a new postseason, you weren’t going to see any trepidation from Coach Kirk.

In fact, as he made final preparations for the District meet, he remarked, “I’ve never had more fun. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had.”

With both the boys and girls claiming District titles, it’s easy to see why.

The Vikings had 12 individual and relay District champions out of 34 events en route to their sweep of the D-III District meet, held at Gahanna Lincoln High School this past weekend.

For the boys, the victory was highlighted by a quartet of 1-2 finishes: Jake Tuckerman finished four seconds ahead of fellow sophomore Alex Ho in the 3200 run, but both ran over 25 seconds faster than third place. In both the 1600 run and the 800 run, senior Jon Michael Hilshimer edged junior Dominc Facciolla by less than a second, and both times the pair finished multiple strides ahead of the next runner. Junior Tyler Gittins finished a step behind sophomore Jack Lindt in the 300 hurdles. Lindt also stormed to commanding victories in the 110 hurdles, long jump, and high jump.

On the girls’ side, the relays performed exceptionally well. The 4×800 relay of freshmen Andrea Ballinger, Julia Rizk, sophomore Margaret Sutton, and senior Alisha Ho earned second place, as did the 4×200 relay of juniors Sarah Timko, Aziza Corbett, Melanie Knopp, and senior Cami Mampieri. To cap it off, the 4×400 run by Sutton, Timko, Corbett, and junior Anjali Kanwar finished in first place. Spectacular individual efforts also ensued, including Rizk’s second-place finish in the 1600 run, Sutton’s third-place effort in the 400 run, and a 1-3 finish by Timko and Kanwar in the high jump.

For Coach Kirk, these feats are a reflection of this year’s team’s depth. Despite its smaller size, every individual plays an important role and has found a niche of events. “We have the kind of team where you really do have someone in everything. I have about 20 guys, but the guys that are there are really quality guys,”says Kirk.

Outside the program, many in the community are looking for big things out of this year’s group, especially to continue its recent success at the state meet. Internally, Coach isn’t one to make such predictions.

As Coach looked over the psych sheets, he didn’t give up too much. Kirk says, ”So far, they’re doing what I thought they could do, and we shall see. They really have to execute what they’re trying to do.”

After a bit more prodding, he finally added this small caveat with a wry smile: “If they execute this stuff tomorrow, they’ll light it up.”

The fireworks display this past weekend is but a preview of better things to come, and the team is eagerly anticipating the Regional meet, being hosted at Fairfield Union High School from the 23rd to the 25th.

As the 2012 track season rounds the final turn, the straightaway beckons. A trip to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium awaits the Vikings as they dash to the finish.

Written by Andy Li’13



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