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WL-Salem’s 1,600 relay team takes another step toward podium

COLUMBUS — It wasn’t their best, but it got the job done.


ABOVE: West Liberty-Salem’s Taylor Cordell attempts to jump past Valley’s Matt Hodge during the 110-hurdle semifinals Friday during the Division III state meet in Columbus. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: West Liberty-Salem’s Conner Karg takes the baton from teammate Kelvin Shank during the boys 1,600-meter relay semifinals Friday afternoon at the Division III state track and field meet in Columbus. The Tigers advanced to today’s state finals with a time of 3:24.73. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | AARON LaBATT)

West Liberty-Salem’s boys 1,600 relay of senior Ross Hickenbottom and juniors Taylor Cordell, Conner Karg and Kelvin Shank advanced to the state finals here Friday afternoon at the Division III state track and field meet inside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The Tiger squad didn’t feel strong about their race, but still ran a new-personal best time of 3:24.73. That put them fourth in their heat and places them sixth overall entering today’s state final race, which begins at 11:50 a.m.

The top two relays in each heat, plus the next five best times, advanced to today’s state finals. The top eight teams earn a spot on the podium.

Despite running a new personal best at the state meet, it was unanimous that the Tigers felt they could do better.

“I feel like we didn’t run our best race,” said WL-Salem boys head coach Bart Zirkle. “One of our legs ran their worst time of the season. If we can put together a perfect race, which I’m sure every coach thinks that way, then we can run a high 3:23 or a low 3:23. That would put us in the top four.”

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