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Local All-American : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
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Oswego East alum medals on Ohio State's 4x100 relay

by Kristin Sharp


Ohio State sophomore Aliyah Everson wasn't originally in the plans for the Buckeye's 4x100-meter relay team.

The sprinter and 2012 Oswego East graduate was focused on her individual entries into the 100- and 200-meter events, but that changed when Ohio State entered the Drake Relays on April 24 when Everson made her debut on the 4x100-meter relay team.

Two months later, Everson became a Division I All-American athlete, leading off the 4x100 at last Saturday's NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. The relay ran to a fifth-place finish with a time of 44.08 seconds. Texas A&M won the event in a time of 42.80 seconds.

The Buckeye team consisting of sophomore Everson, freshman Aaliyah Barnes, redshirt junior Chesna Sykes and redshirt senior Ashlee Abraham. Ohio State collected four team points from the event and finished 47th overall as a team at the championships.

"I've been running relays since high school, so I'd missed being on a relay. This year I worked hard to get onto the relay," Everson said. "What I'd really like to do is get to Nationals individually now. I am going to keep training and doing the things I'm supposed to be doing and make it my goal for next year."

Everson spent the later part of the season in different positions within that sprint relay, which enduring a tough finish at the Big Ten Championships in mid-May, but qualified out of the East Preliminary Championships in Jacksonville, Fla. on May 30. Then on June 11, the relay won its heat in the NCAA Championship semifinals to reach the finals last Saturday.

"We were ranked second in our region going in. We ran a total of three rounds in order to get fifth place in our 4x1. We weren't even projected to get into the finals and we took fifth," Everson said. "We had a few rocky handoffs (in the finals). Our coaches put that relay together about a month before Nationals. The first time we all ran together was the Big Ten Championships. We weren't even close to winning.

"The second time, we got everything together."

Everson will spend her summer on the OSU campus, training and working as an intern. She is studying psychology.

"We could not be more proud of Aliyah's accomplishments at Ohio State," said Oswego East girls' track and field head coach Lisa Cook. "She is the first Oswego East athlete that I can think of that has reached the NCAA Track and Field Championships - at any division. She has had so many milestones since graduating from high school. It is an accomplishment just to make a Big Ten team - much less the travel team, and then to lead-off the relay that would earn an All-American finish - it is simply incredible.

"It has been such an honor to follow her and know that we had a part in her journey. It is surreal to watch her on TV and to know how far she has come in such a short time. She came up short of earning All-State her senior year of high school, and yet she now has earned herself a title that is so much more - All American at a Big Ten University.

"She is an inspiration to her peers, to the younger generation, and to us (her coaches) as well."

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