Woodmore’s Travis puts up the performance of a lifetime

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

Last year, Woodmore track and field won the Division III state championship behind a great performance from Azure Travis, and also because of some contributions from the likes of Rahzia Rios, Emma Hammer, Olivia Vogelpohl and Jordan Beam.
This year, the Wildcats finished fourth, another impressive finish that adds to the program’s legacy as being one of the best in Northwest Ohio.
Smithville won the championship with 50 points, followed by Coldwater (33), Trinity (26) and Woodmore, which scored 24 points.
Travis led the way again, winning the 100 meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles for the second year in a row while taking seventh in both the 100 and 200.
She finished the 100 hurdles in 14.37 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 43.39 while running the 100 in 12.47 and the 200 in 26.89. Travis set new school records in both hurdling events.
She talked about her mindset coming into the tournament.
“To give it everything that I had, and the outcome would be what was meant to happen,” Travis said. “And I knew it was going to be a pretty exhausting day. I had to be mentally strong and prepared, and put my best effort into the race.”
Hammer, a four-time state qualifier, just missed out on reaching the podium, finishing 10th in the 800 in 2:18.42. “I thought the meet went as expected. We knew Azure was going to be one of the favorites in the hurdles. It was good to see her run a couple of strong hurdles and set school records. She dominated the 100 hurdles, but we knew the 300 hurdles would be a challenge, and she was seeded second going into the weekend. It was a gutsy race and it came down to the last hurdle,” said Woodmore coach Jim McMahon. “I think (Columbus School for Girls’) Jameson Pillifant was beating her, and she hit the final hurdle, but Azure hit it clean and overtook it. It was an exciting race.
“Emma is a tough kid, really competitive. She runs the 400 and 800 and is a true mid-distance runner. Every time she steps onto the track, she’ll give a maximum effort. In her race at 800, she got boxed in a little bit and wasn’t able to recover from that. That’s how it goes sometimes in those races; positioning is huge. She still ran a gutsy race. We’re going to miss her a lot.”
McMahon, now in his 10th season as coach of the team, talked about the performance of the team in recent years and what to expect in the near future.
“We’ve had a really good run these last few years. We knew we had the talent; we knew last year would be the money year with our numbers and our seniors,” he said. “This year, we had another great year, won the league, were the district runner-up, had a good showing at regionals and were fourth at state. Now, we’re probably in a rebuild mode — we have some good athletes, some juniors who will be seniors that we’ll rely on. We have some younger girls who we’ll have to coach up.”
Travis also helped the Wildcats win the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division in their first year in the league, winning four events and finishing as the conference’s Most Outstanding Performer.
“These last four years have been really awesome,” she said. “I like to look back to my freshman year to now and see how much progress I’ve made, and it’s been a great experience. I’m grateful for it.”
She talked about McMahon and the role he plays.
“He’s awesome; he’s the most supportive coach,” Travis said. “He really just does everything for the program, and makes sure everything runs smoothly. He’s our biggest fan.”
In August, Travis will enter college at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and compete on the track team for the Thundering Herd.


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