By TED RADICK
COLUMBUS — Michaela Butler had a point to prove.
Not to the fans, not to her competitors at Saturday’s OHSAA Division II Track and Field Championships at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
She wanted to prove something to herself.
Mission accomplished, as Butler swept the sprint races. She won the 100-meter dash in 12.15, avenging a second-place finish in 2013, and defended her title in the 200 with a winning time of 24.89.
Taking the 100 title was a firm goal of Butler’s.
“I feel it was something I needed to do this year,” she said. “I’m the one I needed to prove it to.”
Butler got out of the blocks well, an obvious key in a short sprint.
“I really wanted to get out fast through the start,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I had the lead at the start, and I knew if I did that then I should be OK.”
Mid-race, Butler stayed strong.
“I made sure I was driving for the appropriate amount of time,” she said. “Then at the end, I held them off.”
Butler edged Westfall’s Kylie Goldsmith (12.21) and Ursuline’s Alexandra Carnahan (12.39) for the championship.
“It’s completely different from where I was last year, when I was literally in tears after the 100 and not winning it,” she said.
Butler, a sophomore, followed with the 200 title. Last year, she came from behind down the stretch to win. This time, she had the lead coming out of the curve and again held off Goldsmith (25.00) for the victory. Ursuline’s Lavonte Powell (25.19) was third.
“The 200 was another thing, too,” Butler said. “I think a lot of people thought it was a mistake, me winning it as a freshman. I think I wanted to prove that to myself as well, that you can do this; block out whatever everyone else was saying and prove it to myself.”
The times weren’t quite what Butler was looking for — she wanted to beat the state record of 11.82 in the 100 and run in the low 24s in the 200 “” but first place is hard to top.
“You always want those times, but I think a lot of times it comes down to place,” she said.
Butler said she’s given some thought to being a four-time champion in the 200. She is, after all, halfway there.
“I have, actually,” she said. “I think that would be absolutely amazing. I know it’s a blessing to be here, even freshman year and sophomore year. It would be even more of a blessing to win the 200 the next two years, and the 100 as well.”
Meanwhile, Butler will rest up for a while and let a troublesome knee calm down. Butler had tendinitis throughout the spring, missed a couple of meets and ran only relays in several as well.
“I ran cross country as a freshman and a sophomore, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to do that again this fall,” she said. “If I don’t, I’m sure I’ll be doing some workouts in the fall.”
Butler had a hand in all 22 points Liberty-Benton scored in the meet, good for fifth place as a team. She ran with Katie Hyre, Kelsey May and Megan Peplinksi on L-B’s 400 relay team that finished seventh (49.84). That quartet set several school record over the course of the spring.
“It takes literally every single point,” Butler said. “The relay contributed a lot to that. That’s something maybe a lot of people don’t know, that at track meets it takes every point. I definitely can’t run 49.8 on my own. It takes all four of us girls getting the handoffs right and getting it where we need to be in order to do that.”
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