COLUMBUS – There were many top four finishers in the area in Division III at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships which took place Friday through Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of the Ohio State University.
The girls teams from Archbold and Pettisville, who last week tied for the Division III regional title at Tiffin, placed fourth and 10th respectively this week.
The Blue Streaks finished fourth with 26 points behind state champion Anna at 38 points, Minster with 36 and St. Peter’s 30. Pettisville came in a five-way tie for 10th with 16 points.
Archbold’s girls got their day started with a runner-up finish in the 4×200 meter relay. Their quartet of Macey Rupp, Emily Roth, Gwynne Riley and Dakota Stamm took second with a time of 1:42.84. The team from Anna won the event at 1:42.15.
“We broke our PR (personal record) and the school record in the 4×2. So we were all really happy with that,” said Stamm, who served as the team’s anchor. “We were really proud of ourselves because we all ran awesome. It was amazing.”
Individually, Stamm was able to break her personal mark in the 400 when she placed second with a time of 56.74. Lynsey Shipley of Portsmouth won the 400 with a time of 56.28.
“My time was a PR,” said an overjoyed Stamm after the race. “It was a PR by a lot. I’ve never hit 56 before. So that was really exciting. I definitely feel like I ran the best race I possibly could have. I was definitely trying my hardest.”
She was especially excited that she upped her placement by two spots from 2016 where she was fourth.
“I know the girl who got first was runner-up last year. And it is just amazing that I can for the most part keep up with her. That is just awesome to me because it shows that I’ve improved in a year. I am hoping I can keep improving to next year,” she said.
The Streaks also had teams finish fourth in both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. In the 4×100, it was their group of Shylo Richardson, Roth, Julia Lambert and Rupp.
The 4×400 was the last race of the careers for both Lambert and Roth. Riley and Stamm made up the other half of the relay.
“It is tough to realize that this is our last race of running together as a 4×4. And just as our team,” said Lambert. “We’ve gone down here every year, so, it is kind of sad that this is the end to it. But, we are really excited we’ll be able to come back and watch all these girls as their careers prosper even more.”
“We didn’t get our best time, but I’m just so happy because we made the podium and we did it together,” added Riley of the 4×400.
Pettisville was led by a pair of runner-up finishes.
Senior Alexa Leppelmeier followed up a regional title in the 1600 last week with a second place finish in the state final of the event Saturday. She finished with a time of 5:04.24, just ahead of Emily Sreenan of Lima Central Catholic who took third at 5:04.26.
“I was on the outside the whole race,” said Leppelmeier of her race. “Which, I was kind of scared running on the outside. That it might make me work harder. But honestly, I didn’t want to get boxed in and get pushed around.”
After finishing 10th for three straight years at the state level, Leppelmeier was just relieved to not finish in that position this year.
“I’m really happy with it. My hard work’s paid off. At least one time,” she said playfully.
Alexa Leppelmeier then placed ninth in the 3200 (11:25.21), just missing the podium, while teammate Nichole Foor took 12th (11:35.25).
On Thursday, Alexa Leppelmeier along with Elizabeth Sauder, Foor and Morgan Leppelmeier finished runner-up in the 4×800 relay (9:12.89). Sauder would finish 11th in the 800 (2:17.92).
Also in the Division III girls meet, Julia Smith of Swanton made the podium in the high jump by finishing third. She finished tied with Lyssi Snouffer of Delaware Christian as each cleared 5 feet, 7 inches in the same amount of attempts.
Smith came through in the clutch at both 5-6 and 5-7, clearing each on her third and final attempt.
“I kind of just cleared my mind,” said Smith on her thoughts during those jumps. “Like I sat back, took a couple deep breaths, and I was like this is it. You’re either getting barely on the podium or you’re gonna be on the top. And you want to be on the top. I placed fourth the last two years and I didn’t want to get fourth again.
“It all worked out in the end. Not where I wanted to place, but definitely better than where I’ve placed in the past.”
Archbold’s Jack Fisher closed out his career by making the podium in a pair of events. However, the highlight of his day came in the 4×400 as Deven Girdham, Noah Blankenship, Sam Petersen and Fisher placed third with a time of 3:24.23.
“A great team race,” said Fisher of the 4×400. “We knew we could come up and compete top three. Our goal was to go top three and that’s what we did. To do that with these group of guys for my last race really means a lot. It was fun to do that with them.”
Fisher was the anchor for the Streaks and he just caught Matthew Burkhart of Barnesville to give his team a third place finish.
“I reached like 50 meters and I was thinking about diving,” he said. “Until he slowed down a little bit more, then I was like I can just pass him standing.”
In the 400, Fisher made the podium as he placed eighth with a time of 50.64. He placed third in this event last year and eighth in 2015.
“I got out to a quick start,” said Fisher of the 400. “I wanted to go top five, but an eighth place finish, I couldn’t be more happy. Third time podium finisher in that race. I was just happy I didn’t lose.”
Peyton Phillips of Delta performed well in the Division III boys high jump, placing third with a height of 6 feet, 6 inches.
“Coming in (after) last year (placing) 13th, jumping 6-2, and then this year becoming third. So it’s a lot of improvement,” he said of his performance.
Phillips nearly got 6-7 on his first attempt, but the bar caught the back of his leg and he came up short.
“It was close,” stated Phillips. “I got a little nervous after that, but I knew it was just my thigh. So I thought I could tweak a few things and maybe get over.”
Maverick Wright of Delta competed in the 1600 and took 11th (4:31.88).
The best placement for the county in Division II came from Gunnar Oakes of Swanton who notched a seventh place finish in the high jump. He cleared 6-3 while on his way to getting on the podium. It was his best finish in three trips to Columbus.
Wauseon’s 4×800 relay of Aaron Beck, Owen Newlove, Michael Cheezan and Kyle Vernot placed 15th (8:18.88).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010