The Warren G. Harding men’s 4×100 relay team won the Division I 4x100m regional title in Austintown on Friday, with a time of 42.25 seconds. The team’s victory meant a lot to them because they had a demanding schedule of events to participate in. The team, consisting of Chandler Jackson, Javonte Jones, Donovan Slero-McCoy, and Antonio Smith, became the first men’s 4×100 team from Harding to wear the school’s black and gold uniforms in Columbus since 2018. Jones stated that they are very fast and talented, and they had been practicing together for a long time, which had helped them build a bond like family.
The competition in their region was tough, and making it through to the state tournament was not easy. The fourth and final spot was decided by a margin of 0.002 seconds, with Solon edging out Massillon Washington. Coach Charles Penney has been doing his best to keep the spring schedule centered around the big competitions in order to prepare his athletes. He emphasizes the importance of trusting your teammates, staying consistent, and communicating well with each other.
The Harding sprinters, except for Jones, had previously played football together, and this had helped them build bonds on the track over the spring. Smith stated that the end result was paying close attention to detail, particularly with stickwork, in order to shave off a few milliseconds. Sophomores Donovan Salero-McCoy and Smith carried on their Columbus experience, participating in the 4x100m relay and 4x200m relay in lieu of Warren JFK last spring.
Competing on the big stage at the state tournament is not something that Salero-McCoy and Smith are yet accustomed to. Salero-McCoy expressed that it was nerve-wracking to see everyone running in front of him, but the team’s sense of unity and family made the experience unforgettable. Being in the state finals meant a lot, and the team is looking forward to representing Warren in the tournament.