Meadowbrook Defends Ohio Youth Runner Middle School State 4x400m Relay Championship  (left to right: Sydnie DeLong, Diamond Johnson, Morgan Modro, and Sydney Black)

The Meadowbrook Colts girl's relay team consisting of Sydney Black, Sydnie DeLong, Diamond Johnson, and Morgan Modro recently competed at the Ohio Youth Runner Middle School State Championships in Reynoldsburg. The team came in with high hopes after establishing a new state meet record as 7th graders in 2011 and helping lead the Colts to back-to-back undefeated track seasons. 
The squad competed in all three sprint relays, finishing first in the 4x400m and 4x200m while taking runner-up in the 4x100m. This marks the third consecutive year that a Meadowbrook girls 4x400m relay team finished atop the Ohio state meet podium. Sprint/Relay Coach Dennis Valentine remarked, "The 400 is a tough race and to be able to come up here against topnotch competition and not only compete but win is a testament to the kids' work ethic." 
Coach Dale Valentine added, "This group of girls set meet records in the 4x400m at every meet we've participated in over the last two seasons including breaking some records that had stood for nearly 20 years." Meadowbrook now holds invitational 4x4 records at the Union Local, Barnesville, Buckeye Trail, St. Clairsville, Bellaire, and the East Central Ohio League (ECOL) Championship invitational in addition to their record set at the Ohio state meet. Their personal best time was a 4:19.90.
Individually, the girls had successful seasons as well. The lead-off runner, Sydney Black, was a regular top finisher in the 100m hurdles and 400m dash.  "Sydney will be the first to admit that she is not a vocal leader, but she leads by doing all of the things you wished every athlete would do- shows a willingness to learn, supports her teammates, and most importantly practices hard everyday," stated Coach Dennis Valentine. 
Sydnie DeLong, the second leg of the 4x400m team, was instrumental in the team's back-to-back undefeated seasons. "DeLong was our most reliable relay member," remarked Coach Dale Valentine. "We could have used her in many of the open events throughout the year and she still would've scored but the consistency, leadership, and speed she provided to our relay teams was unmatched." 
The third leg of the 4x400m team was Diamond Johnson. Coach Dennis Valentine said, "For two years now Diamond has been our top 200m runner and now she realizes her potential at all of the other distances as well. She is one of the toughest kids on the team which she proved when she would finish running the 200 and go straight into the 4x400 and still run well." 
Morgan Modro, the anchor of all of three relays, was Meadowbrook's top point scorer as a 7th and 8th grader. "Morgan battled severe shin splints the entire season but still finished first in most 100m and 400m races she ran. In the most competitive meet of the regular season, the ECOL championships, she finished first in the 100m, 400m, and 4x400 with new meet records established in the latter two," noted Coach Dale Valentine. 
Valentine added, "These four girls played a huge part in two of the most successful seasons in Meadowbrook Middle School track history. They've beaten some pretty impressive records and the times they ran would've competed at a lot of high school meets. They realize the potential is there to do great things at the next level and with their work ethic I have no doubt that they will accomplish amazing things in high school." 
In addition to Dale and Dennis Valentine, the Meadowbrook Middle School track & field team is assisted by Jason Gander (throws/field events) and Diane Pressdee (hurdles). Full Ohio Youth Runner Middle School State Championships results can be found at .