COLUMBUS – Fulton County crowned a pair of state champions in Division III and had various others make the podium at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships which wrapped up Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of the Ohio State University.
On Friday, Julia Smith of Swanton won the high jump in Division III. The next day, Dakota Stamm of Archbold took home the title in the 400 meter dash.
The Swanton girls finished in a four-way tie for ninth with 20 points. Archbold tied for 20th with Lima Central Catholic and Lehman Catholic, all three at 11 points.
Both Stamm and Smith had placed in their respective event multiple times, and in Smith’s case, she is now a four-time state placer.
“It’s good to finally get what I’ve been wanting the last four years. And it’s an awesome way to end my four-year run of coming here,” said Smith of her achievement. “Being undefeated ever since I won the indoor state title, it’s just the best senior year I could ask for.”
Smith won the event after clearing 5 feet, 7 inches on her second attempt. Lyssi Snouffer of Delaware Christian, who finished second, bowed out at 5-7.
The senior even had to wait out a lightning delay which lasted over an hour. Nevertheless, it did not stop her from reaching her goal.
“I had the number one seed coming in. I think through all divisions. And I didn’t let that get in my head,” she said. “I didn’t let any of my bad jumps this season get in my head.
”I just came in with a clear head. Didn’t even let the rain (delay) or anything bother me. I just said you’re here to jump, you have to do what you have to do.”
In the 400m, Stamm beat out last year’s state champion to win with a time of 56.4. Lynsey Shipley of Portsmouth took second (56.8).
“I’m so happy I could cry right now,” said Stamm after the race. “Im like really, really happy. I honestly, I crossed the finish line and I was like, ‘there’s no way that happened. I have to be dreaming.’”
After finishing runner-up in 2017, her eyes were on the top prize this season.
“I kind of felt the pressure this year,” she admitted. “Because I’m like, I have to keep going up. And like, there’s only one more spot (after last season). So I don’t know what I’m gonna do next year.”
She set a school record with her time, and undoubtedly ran the best race she could.
“I knew I had to get out hard,” Stamm explained. “I had to go hard the first 200 I know. Because my first 200 (is) always slower, so I tried to make up time there. And then, the last 200 that was just adrenaline. I don’t remember getting through it.”
The Bulldogs got another high placement in the girls discus where Sidney Taylor took third with a throw of 133-6.
“That was a great way to finish off my senior year,” explained Taylor. “(To) come down here with my teammates and perform the way I did and set a new personal best. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Swanton’s quartet of Bobbie Oberle, Haley Nelson, Brooke Oberle and Bridget Harlett placed fifth (50.62) in the 400m relay.
The Bluestreaks added an eighth place finish (9:43.83) in the 3200m relay consisting of Kylie Sauder, Brittney Ramirez, Gwynne Riley and Stamm. Pettisville’s team of Elizabeth Sauder, Nichole Foor, Kate Stuber and Morgan Leppelmeier placed fifth (9:37.85).
Elizabeth Sauder would garner a podium finish for the Blackbirds in the 1600m, taking sixth (5:06.27).
“The whole race it was just so congested,” she said. “This being my first year running the mile, it was hard to know how to maneuver through. But I was happy with my place. And my time was close to what I wanted. I just really wanted to get All-Ohio in the mile. That was the event I knew I would do my best in. So I’m happy with it.”
She was around eighth with a couple laps remaining, but was able to move up a couple before the end of the race.
“I always know I have a kick,” said Sauder. “Especially in the last lap, that’s kind of my specialty. So I knew if the first three laps I would just hang on with the leading pack, and just stick with them and not let them get too far, I would be able to catch a few at the end. That was my goal, that was a strategy (I used). They were kind of pulling me along, and I knew that last lap just to give it all I had and try to get as many as I could.”
She also competed in the 800m where she finished 13th (2:23.29).
All in all, it was a great end to her track and field career.
“It’s been a great four years,” said Sauder. “I was happy that I was able to run two individual events this year – not just the 800. It’s been amazing and I’m really happy with this year.”
Foor was 12th (5:19.78) in the 1600m and 11th (11:45.47) in the 3200m.
The lone boy to make podium in Division III was Hunter Tresnan-Reighard of Delta in the discus. He finished eighth with a throw of 148-1.
Vernot, Lowry make top 8
After just missing the podium as part of the boys 3200 meter relay Friday, Wauseon’s Kyle Vernot and Joshua Lowry would not be denied in their individual races Saturday.
Vernot, competing in the 1600m, got fifth with a time of 4:20.83.
“The last two laps to go, I saw it was within reach,” he said of his race. “I knew I needed to get a couple more guys to be in top eight. And then this last lap, I just went for it.”
The key for the senior was simply sticking to his gameplan.
“It’s kind of scary at the beginning with everyone going out so fast. I just stayed relaxed,” said Vernot. “I knew it was probably gonna happen, so I was prepared for it. I just knew I had to keep moving up each lap and just go for it at the end.”
Lowry placed seventh in the 3200m, running a personal best time of 9:41.76. The junior outlasted Nich Michels of Triway who finished eighth (9:42.71) and Kyle Lethander of Oakwood who took ninth (9:43.7).
He was just outside the top eight for much of the race, but pushed through and got the job done.
“Quite honestly, at about 600 (or) 700 (meters) to go I didn’t think I had it. I knew where I was,” said Lowry on just making the podium. “I knew that if I wanted to get seventh or eighth, I had to be either first or second in that clump right there. I didn’t really think I had it, but then I started thinking to myself, this is my last race of the season. I’ve worked really hard to get here, I might as well try. So I just kind of started giving it more than I thought I had.
“I guess I just had a pretty good kick today. It worked out in my favor to be able to come out on top of that pack.”
However, Lowry admitted he was even more happy for Vernot, someone who played a huge role in his development.
“I said it last week and I’ll say it again, I couldn’t have done this without him by my side,” said Lowry of Vernot. “We help push each other so hard throughout every single step of this season and last season. I’ve run thousands of miles with him. Every step of the way it will either be him saying ‘come on Josh let’s go,’ or ‘come on Kyle let’s go, we gotta finish this workout. Let’s do this.’”
The aforementioned 3200m relay of Lowry, Owen Newlove, Michael Cheezan and Vernot finished ninth (8:06.33).
Wauseon tied for 31st as a team with six points.
Another barely missing the podium was Swanton senior Anthony Howard in the 800m. He finished ninth at 1:56.47.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010