Each race before she soars down the track at tremendous speed, flying over hurdles with breathtaking accuracy and skill, Garaway sophomore Carly Jacobs writes down her desired goals on her hand.
As she entered the Massillon Perry Div. III Regional Track and Field Meet on Friday, May 26, her goal was a simple one: run below 45 seconds in the 300-meter hurdle race. She figured win or lose, if she did that, she would be satisfied with her effort.
In the 100-hurdles Jacobs came on strong at the end, placing second in 15.32 behind the winning time of 15.03, logged by Norwayne’s Rachel Schmidt.
After ripping to a second-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles to secure her first-ever berth at state, she crouched in the blocks, came roaring out when the gun went off and never looked back in reeling off a stunning 44.97, a time good enough to win the regional event with surprising ease.
That time set a new standard for the Massillon Perry track and was well ahead of runner-up Raquel Jones of Mogadore’s time of 46.19. Jacobs’ time would have placed her fifth overall at the state meet last season.
After finishing the race, Jacobs looked at her time and put her hands to her mouth in joyful surprise as she looked for her family in the stands.
“I was shocked and surprised even though that was my goal,” Jacobs said. As for the monster length of her victory, she said it is way too hard to tell who might be trying to chase you down to worry about that kind of thing.
“I wasn’t sure where anyone else was at during the race,” Jacobs said. “I only knew that I had to come out harder than I ever have before, and I did. Everything kind of clicked for me.”
Her head coach, Zach Mottice, said Jacobs is a relentless worker who leads by example. He noted that she is one of the most driven, hard-working athletes he has had.
Jacobs said the reason behind that is fairly simple. “I have always been competitive in everything I have done,” she said. “I danced competitively for 13 years until last year. Coming to track, I want to be even so much more competitive.”
That competitive nature has driven her to new heights as a hurdler, and she now has the “two-time state qualifier” moniker under her belt.
“I am so blessed,” Jacobs said. “This feels so crazy. I am so pumped up right now.”
Asked if she has better in her, Jacobs took the high road and said simply that she is going to go to state, do her very best and compete as hard as she can. Her times will be what they are, and she will finish where she finishes, but she will not bend on giving 100 percent.
“It’s one hurdle and one race at a time,” Jacobs said. “Hopefully I’ll be up there on the podium at state.”
As an added bonus in the 300-hurdles, Jacobs’ good friend Regina Gonano of Tuscarawas Central Catholic will join her at state, having qualified in the fourth and final spot with a time of 46.69, one-hundredth of a second ahead of fifth-place finisher Megan Miller of Badger.
“I am so thrilled for her,” Jacobs said of Gonano’s achievement. “She is one of my best friends, and to be able to be [at state] with her is pretty awesome.”