TIFFIN – Area track and field teams ended the Division III Tiffin Regional on a high note Friday at Frost-Kalnow Stadium. Three girls teams placed in the top 10, including Swanton who was runner-up.
Liberty-Benton won the girls meet with 62 points, while Swanton finished second with 46 points. Pettisville placed fourth with 44 and Archbold was seventh at 34.5.
Liberty-Benton won the boys meet as well.
After getting a first place and record-setting performance from Julia Smith in the high jump and a runner-up finish by Sidney Taylor in the shot put during day one of competition, the Bulldogs added more state qualifiers Friday.
Taylor once again came up big, winning the discus with a best throw of 124 feet, 6 inches. Samantha Watkins of Arcadia was second at 124 feet, 4 inches.
“I think a major thing for me was confidence,” she said on what it took to qualify. “Just believing in myself, knowing that hey I can go out there and compete with everyone else. I just have to give it my best effort. I guess I came through today.”
And despite not making it to state in her previous three tries, Taylor now will make the trip to cap off her senior season.
“I’m really happy. I’m really proud of myself,” said the senior. “I just used my energy inside me, just to really pull through. I am happy that I did.”
Swanton also added two third place finishes from their relay teams.
In the 4×200 meter relay, Bobbie Oberle, Haley Nelson, Brooke Oberle and Bridget Harlett took third with a time of 1:46.53. That same quartet took third in the 4×100, running in 50.6.
Seniors were also the story for the Pettisville girls.
They started the running finals by Elizabeth Sauder winning the 1600 meter run and Nichole Foor placing fourth to advance.
“I was going for a PR (personal record), which I got by a second,” said Sauder of her race. “I’m happy with it, considering this is my first year running the mile. I’m just still trying to figure out the race. And with the heat. But I felt like I was in control and I was really happy with the overall run that I had. I’m ok with the time for the type of day that it was, and I’m excited for state.”
She hopes the momentum from the regional will carry over to state.
“My goal is like a 5:03,” said Sauder on her goal at state in the 1600. “Alexa (Leppelmeier) has the (school) record with a 5:04. Obviously I’m trying to get that. I know I’m gonna have to run as hard as I can for sure, but I’m ready.”
Sauder later took third in the 800m, posting a time of 2:19.7.
Foor kept the Blackbird run going in the 3200m where she was victorious with a time of 11:47.51.
“I haven’t made it in the mile yet to state. All four years, I always came fifth or something. So to get that gave me more of an energy boost. Going into it (the 3200), I knew what I would have to do,” said Foor on how qualifying in the 1600 helped her in the 3200.
“My coach always says you have to be a little, not cocky, but going in there feeling a little proud of what you can do. Otherwise you’ll just beat yourself up. And it will give you more confidence.”
Foor did not lead from wire-to-wire, but took over the lead around halfway through and never looked back.
“I’m not exactly a person that starts out the fastest,” she said. “I usually don’t start out right in the front. I gradually pick it up (throughout the race).”
Kate Stuber barely missed qualifying for the Blackbirds, taking fifth in the 3200. However, Pettisville will have Sauder and Foor qualifying in two events, and the 4×800 of Sauder, Foor, Stuber and Morgan Leppelmeier who took third in the 4×800 last Wednesday, competing at state beginning Friday.
“It’s always fun to have someone else there with you,” stated Sauder. “I’ve gotten to run with Nichole all four years, six years really. And it’s just been so much fun. I’m really happy for the rest of my team too.”
Archbold will have two relays at state, which started last Wednesday when their 4×800 of Kylie Sauder, Brittney Ramirez, Gwynne Riley and Dakota Stamm was victorious.
“My whole team ran amazing,” said the Bluestreaks’ anchor for the 4×800, Stamm. “Usually we’re 20 seconds behind Pettisville. It was amazing that we could finally catch them, because I mean, they’re fast.”
Each of Archbold’s competing relay teams consisted of the same four runners, and Stamm anchored each one. In the 4×400 Friday, she helped them gain ground and finish second with a time of 4:02.81.
“I was thinking wow, I really have a long stretch ahead of me,” she said on what was going through her mind during the final stretch of the race. “Because I always catch people on the curves, and my coaches tell me not to do that. But for some reason that’s just when I happen to get them. So I got on the curve, and I was like oh my goodness I have the whole stretch and it’s a really long stretch.
“I could actually hear my mom yelling at me, ‘you better not slow down.’ I was like oh boy. I tried not to. I don’t know if I did. I tried to stay with the pace the whole last stretch.”
She also won her signature event, the 400m, finishing with a time of 57.02.
Evergreen qualified their boys 4×100 relay consisting of Drew Donnald, Grant Donnald, Reece Serna and Hunter Vanwert. The group placed third.
“It’s awesome that we made state with the relay,” said Evergreen coach Jared Walker. “They have worked very hard this season to prepare for this meet, and getting to state. Coach Peyton Pawlaczyk has done a great job working with them and their exchanges. Anytime you get kids to state it’s big for the program with us being such a small school. I couldn’t be prouder of them for breaking the school record two weeks in a row and now advancing to state.”
Vanwert, the last leg of the relay, played a big role in qualifying the team to state.
“Hunter came up huge in that race,” explained Walker. “He battled the last couple of weeks dealing with that (hip) injury and unfortunately he didn’t qualify in the open 100. He didn’t keep that from running well and helping us get to state. The other three guys on the relay also stepped up to get us in the position to advance.”
The Vikings are hoping to run their best race at state.
“One of the biggest keys at state will be good handoffs and trying to stay calm and not nervous,” said Walker. “These kids have stepped up all year and I am looking forward to them running at state. No matter what happens at state, these boys should be very proud of what they have accomplished. I couldn’t be happier for these guys.”
Jaret Rychener finished eighth in the high jump for the Pettisville boys, clearing 6 feet before bowing out.
For Fayette, Brett Merillat took eighth in the 800m (2:02.14) but it was not enough to advance.
D-III Tiffin Regional
Liberty-Benton 58, Ashland Crestview 57, Colonel Crawford 44, Kalida 38, Liberty Center 37, Elmwood 34, Edon 31, Ottawa Hills 30, Margaretta 28, St. Paul 20.
4×800- 1. Liberty Center (Kundo, Keller, Stark, Meller), 8:08.03; 110 hurdles- 1. Shifflet (Ash. Crestview), 14.97; 100- 1. Bloir (Edon), 10.74; 4×200- 1. Kalida (Vorst, Laudick, Moore, Verhoff), 1:30.29; 1600- 1. Johnson (Colonel Crawford), 4:25.1; 4×100- 1. Liberty-Benton (Poling, Heaster, Rose, May), 43.67; 400- 1. Watson (Wynford), 49.8; 300 hurdles- 1. Frias (Margaretta), 39.35; 800- 1. Kundo (Lib. Center), 1:57.87; 200- 1. Verhoff (Kalida), 21.71; 3200- 1. Johnson (Colonel Crawford), 9:29.1; 4×400- 1. Ashland Crestview (Shifflet, Durbin, Dudley, Barber), 3:23.62; Discus- 1. Arbaugh (Van Buren), 163-11; High jump- 1. Stoner (Mans. Christian), 6-5; Long jump- 1. Frias (Margaretta), 22-4.25; Shot- 1. Crawford (No. Baltimore), 56-7.25; Vault- 1. Reinhard (Elmwood), 14-0.
Liberty-Benton 62, Swanton 46, Fre. St. Joseph C.C. 45.5, Pettisville 44, St. Paul 43, Kalida 36, Archbold 34.5, Woodmore 28.5, Margaretta 25, Ayersville 24.
4×800- 1. Archbold (Sauder, Ramirez, Riley, Stamm), 9:34.16; 100 hurdles- 1. Carey (Upp. Sandusky), 15.25; 100- 1. Basinger (Pandora-Gilboa), 12.42; 4×200- 1. Fre. St. Joseph C.C. (Wammes, Cook, Reineck, Drown), 1:45.12; 1600- 1. Sauder (Pettisville), 5:11.21; 4×100- 1. Fre. St. Joseph C.C. (Cook, Pasch, Reineck, Drown), 49.93; 400- 1. Stamm (Archbold), 57.02; 300 hurdles- 1. Cathey (N. London), 46.1; 800- 1. Fowler (Northwood), 2:17.43; 200- 1. Drown (Fre. St. Joseph C.C.), 25.47; 3200- 1. Foor (Pettisville), 11:47.51; 4×400- 1. St. Paul (Dowdell, Scavuzzo, Hedrick, Powers), 4:01.32; Discus- 1. Taylor (Swanton), 124-6; High jump- 1. Smith (Swanton), 5-8; Long jump- 1. Engel (Ayersville), 17-0; Shot- 1. Rigel (Leipsic), 41-7; Vault- 1. Stimmel (Margaretta), 12-3.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010