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AUSTINTOWN -- It was an evening of extreme exhileration for Salem's 4x800 boys' relay team and Southeast long jumper Jack Rohal, who punched their tickets to next week's state meet after advancing through the rugged Austintown-Fitch Division II Regional Track and Field meet Thursday.
The Salem boys' 4x800 relay team grabbed the fourth and final qualifying spot to Columbus, while Southeast's Rohal leaped to a regional runner-up finish in the long jump.
The top four finishers in each final advanced to next weekend's state meet in Columbus.
The Salem relay team of sophomore Trey Double, sophomore Jackson Corbisello, senior Josh Andrews and junior anchor Quinlan Rumsey crushed their standing school record by 12 seconds to qualify for state.
Rumsey, the anchor runner, took the baton for the final leg and the Quakers were bunched with four other teams battling for third through eighth place in a pack as they rounded the final turn. That's when Rumsey turned on the after burners and sprinted past several runners down the home stretch and had a perfect lean at the finish to grab fourth in 8:09.51.
When it happened, the celebration began for the Quakers.
"I knew the boy from Woodridge was going to come up, and he did, and it was just a matter of who wanted it more," explained Rumsey who has the heart of a champion when things are on the line. "I knew (I was in the top four at the finish line," added Rumsey. "I've never kicked that hard through so much pain. This is huge. It's amazing and I couldn't pick a better group of kids to go down there to state with."
Rumsey's Salem relay teammates were equally thrilled to be Columbus-bound.
"It's my first time to state and I've been working real hard and these guys carried me," said Josh Andrews.
"It's definitely an honor to go (to state) with this group," added relay member Trey Double. "There's more to come, though."
"It's honestly incredible (to be state-bound)," said relay member Jackson Corbisello. "I used to play basketball, soccer and other sports and (left) them all just to focus on running, and just to get here it's great to see it all pay off."
Meanwhile, Rohal, a junior for Southeast, will also be making his first trip to state after a great regional performance in the long jump.
"It (going to state) is probably the best feeling I've had ever," beamed Rohal. "I've never been so happy in my life."
Rohal knew he had locked up a state berth with an earlier jump, and with the pressure off, soared 21-1 on his last jump of the finals and grab second place and the regional runner-up finish.
"I felt amazing," added Rohal. "After the jumper before me jumped, I knew I was going (to state) because I was in third and that relieved me, and then I took my last jump and jumped 21-1 and took second."
An area regional qualifier who competed but did not advance Thursday were West Branch long jumper Carson Gossett, who was 15th with a jump of 18-0.
Advancing through prelims to Saturday's regional finals at Fitch were West Branch 110-meter hurdler Ethan Griffith (sixth-best qualifying time in 16.03), Salem's 4x200 boys' relay of Josh Lehwald, Lex Murray, Connor McKee and Turner Johnson (fourth-best qualifying time of 1:31.69), West Branch's Rob Lozier (top qualifying time in the 300 hurdles in 39.63), Salem's 4x400 relay of Lex Murray Connor McKee, Turner Johnson and Quinlan Rumsey (fastest-qualifying time of 3:25.05) and the West Branch 4x400 relay of Landon Burns, Ethan Griffith, Carson Gossett and Rob Lozier (fourth-fastest qualifying time of 3:27.76).