Wednesday, September 28, 2022

May, Esper headed to state

Cuyahoga Heights senior Acacia May and Independence senior Erica Esper are headed to the state track meet.

May finished fourth in the pole vault at the Division III Massillon Perry regional while Esper, who on Wednesday qualified for state in the 4×800-meter relay, also earned a spot in Columbus with a third-place finish in the 1600.

“It’s very exciting to qualify for the state meet,” May said. “I’ve been trying so hard since my sophomore year to finally get here and I’m so excited to get to chance to compete at states.”

May tied her personal best vault of 10-feet to earn her bid to state.

She cleared 8-feet, 8-6, 9-0, 9-3, 9-6 and 9-9 without a miss before clearing the bar at 10-feet on her first try.

“I was very satisfied with my vaults,” she said. “I was so nervous that it was going to be a bad jumping day because that’s what seemed to happen my last two years at regionals, but this time it was the complete opposite.”

Now that she finally achieved her goal of competing at state, May is ready to give it her all in Columbus.

“Honestly, for states, I don’t care what place I get,” she said. “I’m just so happy to have finally been able to qualify. I’m just going to go in, try my hardest, jump my best, and see what happens.”

Esper qualified for state in the 1600 with a school-record breaking time of 5:18, good for third place.

“It was an awesome feeling,” she said. “I owe it all to my teammates and coaches for encouraging and pushing me this season. I was just running to go to state, but it feels great to know that I broke the school record along with it.”

She nearly earned a trip to state in a third event but finished the 3200 in fifth place with a time of 12:01. The top four advanced to state.

“It would’ve been awesome to qualify in the 3200 as well, but I wasn’t disappointed with my finish,” she said. “I was pretty tired after the 1600, so I just tried to run my hardest.”

Cuyahoga Heights’ Austin Knaack and Stefani Attewell also narrowly missed qualification as they both finished fifth in their respective events.

Knaack ran a time of 22.93 in the 200-meter dash, just 0.31 seconds behind the fourth-place finisher. He also placed eighth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.63. Attewell placed fifth in the pole vault with a final cleared height of 9-6.

Independence’s Braden Sears came up just over two feet short of advancing to state when he threw the shot put 49-feet, 8-inches to finish fifth. Teammate Luke Clymer placed seventh with a toss of 48-4 ¼.

Other athletes from the Chagrin Valley Conference to place at the regional meet included Richmond Heights sophomore Malikee Sonie, who placed seventh in the 100 with a time of 11:46, and Berkshire junior Madison Romask, who was seventh in the 3200 with a time of 12:17.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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