COLUMBUS – The track and field season is now in the books as the OHSAA Track and Field Championships were held on Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University. Once again, from a local perspective, many of the area athletes represented the county well.
In Division II, the Wauseon girls finished in a three-way tie for 15th with North College Hill and Galion. The Indians had a total of 15 points.
Then in Division III, the Archbold boys placed seventh with 19 points while the girls were 11th at 16 points.
Helping the Wauseon girls get such a high placement was senior Taylor Vernot who competed in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, as well as the 4×800 meter relay. It was her fourth appearance at the state track meet.
She began Saturday’s running finals with the 1600 meter run where she took fifth with a time of 5:05.13.
“You’ve just got to get out hard and see where you end up falling,” explained Vernot of her race. “I am happy with it. It was a fun race overall I thought. I am just glad to be here for the fourth time and I did my best.”
Vernot barely missed placing in the top four as an intense battle with Meghan Bartel of Liberty-Benton ended with her overtaking Vernot for fourth.
“I caught her at the end there and I was giving it all that I had,” said Vernot. “She caught me at the end there. But that’s ok, I mean she is a good competitor. We are all good competitors here.”
Vernot, however, was later back in action in the 3200 meter run where she finished as the runner-up to Lexington’s Dominique Clairmon.
The Indian girls 4x800m relay team of Aleea Volkman, Aneesa Volkman, Avery Giguere and Vernot came in at 15th. But junior Seneca Wyse picked up the Indians points by placing sixth in the 400m.
In the boys meet, Quintin Reiser closed out his Wauseon distance career in the 1600m where he finished sixth with a time of 4:19.82.
“The race went a lot better than it has in the past. I finally got a good PR,” said Reiser of his placement.
He used a bit of strategy to end up in the sixth position.
“My goal was to stay behind the lead pack because I knew that it was going to go out the fastest it ever has been,” he said. “I ended up in the very last place for the first 600 meters, but it ended up working out in my favor as I continually picked off people throughout the race.”
On a somewhat disappointing note for the Wauseon boys, the 2014 state runner-up in the discus, Noah Castle, failed to qualify for the finals of the event. He fouled on his first two throws and his third went 153 feet which was not good enough to advance to the finals.
However, he can now look ahead to his track and field career at the University of Kentucky where he will be attending this fall on an athletic scholarship.
Castle was 12th in the shot put with a throw of 51-2.50.
The Delta boys were able to pick up 5.50 points when Tyler Fraker tied for third in the pole vault after clearing 15-4.
“God it is such a great atmosphere,” said the senior who was fifth at state a year ago. “Every meet this year I have been so stressed, so worried about everything. But here everything just melts away because I am here. You made it (to state), this is where it is.”
“I was looking to be a little higher. But really I can’t be too disappointed. I moved up two places from last year.”
Fraker explained that it was a minor change that perhaps cost him a chance to place second.
“What killed me is that I moved my standards for my final attempt at 15-8. I moved them from 24 to 27, three inches back,” he said. “I was watching the video and if that (the standards) would have been up there I would have been over it clean without a problem. That would have moved me up to second because I had zero misses up until that height.”
History was made in this event as the winner, Coty Cobb of Middletown Madison, broke the Division II record by clearing a height of 16-6.25.
Delta’s Bailey Storeholder took ninth in the 100 meter dash. For Swanton, freshman Julia Smith placed fourth in the girls high jump while sophomore Gunnar Oakes was 11th in the boys high jump.
Wauseon’s Austin Bachman took 15th in the high jump as he cleared 6 feet.
Streaks strong in D-III
In the Division III girls meet, Archbold was able to place 11th on the back of their 4×200 and 4×400 meter relay teams that finished as state runners-up.
“I am so proud of our team. We all worked together to accomplish it,” said Meridith Short who was a member of both relay teams. “We went in with no expectations and I’d say we came out ahead.”
Her 4x200m relay team of Delanie Driver, Alicia Hernandez and Emily Roth finished second to St. Thomas Aquinas. The 4×400 team of Jensyn Garrow, Short, Hernandez and Roth was second to Minster.
“All of the other teams came out of nowhere. It was such a competitive race,” said Short of the 4×400. “I honestly didn’t know where I was going to be coming down the back stretch. I finished as hard as I could and I know all the other girls did. We all just put in a great effort.”
The Streaks also had a 4x800m relay team that finished 16th, while Pettisville’s group of Elizabeth Sauder, Nichole Foor, Mikala Avina and Alexa Leppelmeier took 11th.
Roth also competed in the long jump for the Streaks where she jumped 15’3” to finish 14th.
For Pettisville, Leppelmeier was 10th in the 1600m while Foor took ninth in the 3200m. Evergreen’s lone competitor was in the girls 400m as sophomore Alyssa Noe finished ninth.
Archbold had five runners in the boys meet who helped them finish seventh. Leading the way was senior Levi Wyse who placed third in both the 200 and 400 meter dash. He was sixth in the 100m.
“I knew this definitely was going to be a more difficult finishing this year,” said Wyse. “We’ve got a lot more guys coming in that weren’t necessarily here last year. The times were definitely a lot faster.”
“I was happy with the four and the two (hundred). They were both thirds (so) that was good placing.”
He also placed in those same three events at the state meet in 2014.
“Looking back at all the awards I’ve gotten I realized I have really been blessed with everything that I’ve gone through. It was just amazing,” said Wyse.
The Streaks’ 4x800m team of Zach Belknap, Matt Kinsman, Logan Garrow and Jack Fisher placed sixth with a time of 8:06.34.
Individually, Fisher joined Levi Wyse in the 400m where he placed eighth to pick up a point for the Streaks. Logan Garrow took 11th in the 1600m.
Pettisville’s qualifier in the 300m hurdles, senior Ethan Brakefield, picked up two points with a seventh place finish.