Jonathan Alder sophomore Aziza Ayoub reached the awards podium at the OHSAA Division II state championship meet Saturday at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but let’s just say she wasn’t completely happy.
She finished fifth in the 400-meter dash (57.73), but the standout athlete feels like she could have done much better.
“I was a little disappointed,” Ayoub admitted. “If I would have run my (personal record) I would have been in the top three. When I see other people get fifth place I always think that’s a good accomplishment, but when it’s me it doesn’t feel like it. I’m not really satisfied with my finish.”
Ayoub qualified for the state meet in the same event last year but failed to make it to the finals. This year she made sure that wouldn’t happen again. She put together a strong prelim race which saw her place second in the second heat in 58.82, guaranteeing her a spot in the finals.
The experience of being at the state meet a year ago payed off for Ayoub this time around. Her nerves weren’t a factor and she was able to just go out and run like she has all season long.
“It’s a big difference, last year I was a young freshman,” Ayoub said. “I didn’t even know I was good last year. The whole time I was here I thought I was going to throw up, this year it was no big deal.”
Her initial trip to the state also acted as a source of motivation for Ayoub throughout the season. Not making the event finals as a freshman was a driving force in getting back to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as a sophomore.
“I realized I will never get beat as bad as I did my freshman year here,” she said. “I really worked in the off-season to get better and get back here.”
The D-II 400-meter championship was won by Rossford sophomore Regan Clay (55.29). Tiona Lattimore of Hughes was second 56.79. They were followed by Portsmouth freshman Lynsey Shipley (57.44) and MaQuila Norman of Lutheran West (57.61).
All of the girls who finished ahead of her still have eligibility left, so the sophomore Ayoub knows she’s got to continue to work to get better.
“I know I can compete with all of these girls, as long as someone is in front of me it’s motivation for me to get better,” Ayoub said.
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.