Ridgewood Generals

Ridgewood’s Alexis Prater makes the podium a second home at state meet

Alexis Prater, center, found a home on the state podium

It was physically impossible for any performer at the state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to spend more time on the podium than Ridgewood senior Alexis Prater.

In a final swan song for the ages, Prater punched her All-Ohio ticket to the podium four times, the maximum number of events in which an athlete can compete.

Any more moments of standing on the podium and the OHSAA may have begun to charge her rent for all the time she spent there in front of the adoring fans.

“It’s special,” Prater said of the trip to the podium. “It never gets old, and I cherish each moment.”

Prater kick-started her fun weekend with a runner-up in the long jump, where her effort of 18-04 was second only to Leipsic’s Carlee Siefker, who edged her out of the gold by 1 inch at 18-05. She then sped to fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, where she ran a 15.11, an event won by Calista Manns of Grove City Christian in 14.39.

“My times weren’t great, but then again, neither were anyone’s times,” Prater said. “I think it was a damp track with a head wind. I would have liked to run faster, but chances are if I would, so would have everyone else, so I can’t complain because I placed well.”

Immediately following came the 100 meters, where her time of 12.80 left her in fifth place, where Malvern’s Zoe Moser won in 12.38. Finally, she and teammates Grace Gottwalt, Abbey Kellish and Raquel Foster reeled off a 50.10 in the relay to place third. In her final run in high school, Prater pulled past four runners to place her team that high up on the podium.

“It’s been amazing, especially with the people around you, and the atmosphere is awesome,” Kellish said. “Having these three as my teammates is incredible.”

“Last year we got third, so it was great to be able to place where we did last year, and we ran an even better time than we ever had with a PR,” Foster said. “Our hand-offs were really good today, and that is something we focus on a lot.”

It puts the wraps on one of Ridgewood’s most highly decorated track and field athletes in school history.

“It has been a joy,” Prater said of her career. “I have been so lucky and blessed over the years with all of the support everyone has given me. I really wanted a gold, but I look at the bigger picture, and I got to come here and compete with such great people.”

Prater said she, Kellish and Foster have grown up together in the classroom and on the track as best friends since seventh grade, and for them to go out as seniors and accomplish all they did together with the sophomore Gottwalt was a perfect way to go out.

“We’ve been best friends, always together,” Prater said. “We wanted to go out and run this one for each other. That was the number one most special thing about today because I got to experience it with my friends.”

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