Pavliga has busy first day

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

June 7, 2014

COLUMBUS — It’s tough, being so good at so many things.

During Friday’s first day of the state track and field championships, Carroll’s Tyler Pavliga learned that it’s also pretty tiring.

Pavliga, Andrew Peters, Nikhil Sample and Dakota Brunsman earned All-Ohio honors by finishing fourth in the Division II boys 3,200-meter relay. They turned in a season-best time of 8:01.76, knocking nearly a full four seconds off their previous season best time of 8:05.59, which had been set just last week at the regional meet in Dayton.

The team ran Pavliga first in order to give him more time to rest up for his 110-meter hurdles preliminary, which took place less than a half hour after the 3,200 relay. The awards ceremony for the 3,200 was delayed because Pavliga and a few other competitors were also entered in the 110 hurdles.

Pavliga had the team in sixth place after the 800-meter distance. Peters then took off and made up some ground on the back stretch during his stint, to vault the team up to third place.

“I knew this would be my last run, since I’m a senior, so I just gave it my all,” Peters said. “I was able to pass a lot of people. That last 200 meters, I just kept telling myself ‘This is it, this is the last time that you’re going to get to do this,’ so I just went out and gave it my all.”

Sample then took over and, after holding third through 2,000 meters, fell to fifth after 2,400 when a frenzied pack of runners caught up to him at the final exchange.

“This is great for our track program, and it will improve our confidence for next season. We’ll look to bring a new group back here next season,” he said.

Pavliga and Peters are both seniors; Sample is a sophomore and Brunsman is a junior.

“I just wanted to make sure that I kept the fourth-place runner in range when I finished,” Sample said. “I didn’t want to leave the team down.

Brunsman started out in sixth, but rallied with yet another Patriots backstretch pass to finish fourth. He briefly was passed and fell to seventh on the backstretch, but that’s when Brunsman seemed to hit another gear.

“I just remember my coach saying to take it easy, but to keep a good pace, so I opened up fast but tried to stay in control,” Brunsman said. “And then that second lap, you just have to keep getting faster and faster. Like when I went on that backstretch, I remember my coach saying ‘Arms! Arms! If your arms move faster, your feet will move faster. That brought me from sixth to fourth.”

Asked how his arms were after the race, Brunsman smiled and said “They’re tired.”

Pavliga did not get out of the 110 hurdles preliminaries. He finished nearly a half second slower than his regional championship winning time of 14.88. Incidentally, that 14.88-second time on Friday earned the ninth and final qualifying spot in a very fast field.

He had a rest break of nearly an hour and a half between his 110 hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles preliminaries.

Pavliga won his 300-meter hurdles heat with a time of 38.39, second best among all hurdlers in the event, to advance to today’s 300 hurdles final. The Carroll do-everything senior then had roughly 40 minutes to rest up and join teammates Patrick Hemmert, Peters and Jeremy Zebrowski for the 1,600 relay preliminary race.

“We just want to get a top-9 so that we can go to the finals tomorrow. My focus is still on the mile right now, but I’m happy to be moving on (in the 300 Hurdles),” Pavliga said. “If we make it in the 4x400, at least we’ll have some distance runs between our races, to enable me to rest up.”

That 4x400 team finished fourth in their heat, but Cleveland Central Catholic finished fifth with a quicker time, by just 0.27 of a second, to bump Carroll and earn the ninth and final transfer spot to today’s finals.

So with all that behind him, Pavliga has just his 300 hurdles final to race on today’s final day.