Flesher, girls 4×200 relay team advance

North Ridgeville’s Kemi Osundina (right) hands off to Brittany Schneider, qualifiers along with Isabella Mercurio and Rachel Beckett in the Lady Rangers’ 4×200 relay team. Photo by Pro Photography

The following story originally appeared in the May 26 edition of The North Ridgeville Press.

As the track and field post season gets under way, only the best of the best advance to the next round. North Ridgeville senior John Flesher is one of those athletes, doing well enough at districts to advance to regionals. Flesher took fourth place in discus with a distance of 145-11.

“I thought I did pretty well,” Flesher said. “I threw really close to my personal best, so I felt I had a good day and I felt even better after I got the fourth spot.”

Coming into the season, Flesher didn’t look too far ahead. He knew he would have to do well at conference first before any dreams of a post season would become reality.

“At the beginning of the season I wanted to do well at conference and my overall goal was to go as far as I could,” he said.

Flesher did just that, placing fifth in the discus throw with a distance of 129-06 at the WSC championships, advancing him to districts.

Once there, he was determined to continue his success by placing in the top four.

“The competition was challenging,” Flesher said. “Last year there were a few more throwers who had good distance and placed in front of me. This year there were about the same number of kids that had the ability to throw far and posed a threat but for some of them it just didn’t work out. I am very fortunate to have placed in the top four and advance to regionals.”

Despite having participated as well as lettered in track all four years as a Ranger, Flesher has never advanced to regionals before. With new experiences come new goals and Flesher hopes to achieve them one by one.

“My first goal is to make it to the finals in regionals, and anything from there is good for me,” he said. ”I would love to make it to state but there is some good competition I would have to face before then.”

Flesher accredits much of his success to the camaraderie and friendship his track teammates as well as coaches provide.

“My teammates have helped pushed me and I’d like to thank them for that,” he said. “They are always supportive and my coach helps me with my form and every aspect of my throwing and he and the rest of my team act as really good moral support.”

In addition to Flesher, the Lady Rangers 4×200 relay team placed fourth at districts therefore advancing to regionals as well. The team made up of Isabella Mercurio, Brittany Schneider, Kemi Osundina and Rachel Beckett recorded a time of 1:48.61.

“Not many athletes have advanced in the last few years this far and its an honor to be one of the few,” Beckett said. “It’s my senior year and it has been my best year of track.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates and coaches that have helped me along the way.”

The competition seen at districts proved much more challenging than that of the regular season but the Lady Rangers prevailed.

“There is some really difficult competition at the district level and to have placed well enough to advance to regionals makes it an even greater honor,” Beckett said.

As for goals heading into regionals, Beckett says the relay team wants to attempt to break their personal best as well as the school record.

Lady Rangers head coach Dan Rademaker is thrilled with the success the girls have encountered.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” he said. “We have four really good solid sprinters that make up that relay team. They have worked as a team all year and it just goes to show what you can do and how far you can go working as a team.”

Rademaker believes much of the relay team’s success is due to seniors Brittany Schneider and Rachel Beckett’s work ethic.

“They are certainly leaders of the team and their hard work and dedication has certainly made an impact on the underclassmen,” he said.

Junior Charles Elias just missed the cut to advance, taking sixth in pole vault (12-0).

Flesher and the girls 4×200 relay team compete at Amherst at 4 p.m. today

with hopes of advancing to the state championships in Columbus.

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