Ralstin, Scott fall short of goals at state meet

By: Matt Long
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The state track and field championships didn’t go as well as Oak Ridge’s Samantha Ralstin and Hayley Scott hoped, but it was still a good learning experience for the girls. For the second straight year Ralstin and Scott came home from the state meet empty handed, disappointed with falling short of their goals, but optimistic for the future. Ralstin, a sophomore who was competing in her second state meet in as many years, hoped to complete the 800-meter run in 2 minutes and 12 seconds, but finished in 2:16.57, one second short of a personal-record and just four seconds shy of qualifying for the final. Ralstin finished third in her heat and had she finished in front of one more person, would have reached the final regardless of her time. “I was not happy with how I did,” Ralstin said. “I was hoping for a P.R. and I didn’t get it and if I would have I would have made it in the finals.” Ralstin was in a slow heat, but didn’t realize how slow it was until it was too late. Right after the first lap, Ralstin lost contact with the leading runners and it likely cost her a trip to the final. “With about 200 meters to go I caught back up to the pack, but I missed out on second place by a half a step,” Ralstin said. “I got behind because I got caught behind a runner and got boxed in. If I could have stayed closer to the front, I would have had a better chance to out-kick some of the girls.” Scott, a junior, competed in the 1,600 and finished 17th in 5:00.08. Her goal was to make it the final and she hoped to run a 4:56. After missing the finals last year by four-tenths of a second, this year she missed by just less than three seconds. "I was disappointed," Scott said. "I ran the first three laps really well; I was on pace and feeling good, but I didn't finish strong. I think it was a mental thing. The girls were already running fast and then all of a sudden they started going even faster and I didn't respond." Oak Ridge coach Rob Fairley was proud of his runners, despite the fact that they fell short of their goals. In both their cases, however, Fairley said that the girls need to face tougher competition. “Hayley is the best 1,600-meter runner in our section and Samantha is one of the best 800-meter runners,” Fairley said. “But the top girls down in Southern California are running against each other at least twice a month and our girls don’t get to see those top-level girls often enough. When you only face that tough competition at meets like Arcadia and Stanford, it makes it tough. In all the other races, the girls are in control and there is no one there to push them. “We’re going to be looking for some more of those meets next year, but unfortunately, most of those are in Southern California.” Scott agreed. "That's a huge thing," Scott said. "We're going to look for some tougher meets, but I also need to put more miles in and get stronger. I played basketball last summer so I didn't start running until after that." Fairley said that he has some athletes considering participating in the Golden West Invitational on Saturday at Folsom High, but other than pole vaulter Jenna Yowell, no one as of Sunday were 100 percent certain they would compete.