TIFFIN – Archbold girls track and field had three relay teams claim regional championships, plus a pair that won individual titles as they claimed a regional title as a team Friday during the finals of the Division III Tiffin Regional at Heidelberg University.
The Blue Streak girls notched 56 points, while runner-up Columbus Grove had 50.
The Streaks had already won a title in the 4x800m relay Wednesday, May 22, then they added wins in the 4x200m and 4x400m relays on Friday.
A part of each of those teams were seniors Gwynne Riley and Dakota Stamm. Riley and Stamm also won individual titles in the 800 meter run and 400 meter dash respectively.
The title in the 4x200m was a bit unexpected, as Archbold finished fourth in the preliminaries. However, their quartet of Iris Pena, Kylie Sauder, Riley and Stamm won with a time of 1:45.56.
“It was (unexpected) because like, we’re not really sprinters. We’re more mid-distance,” said Riley. “Being first in a 4×2 is super exciting. We didn’t expect that at all.”
Belief in each other was a big factor in the outcome, says Riley. “I think it’s just us being really supportive and pushing each other,” she said. “And just knowing before (the race), that we can do it. Even though we may not be all sprinters.”
For Stamm, she advances to state for the fourth straight year as she looks to defend her 2018 state title in the 400m.
“It never gets old,” said Stamm on advancing to state yet again. “It’s always a lot of fun. But I still always get really nervous beforehand.
“It felt pretty good today.”
She was stuck using blocks she was not used to, and despite even having to call for time prior to the start of the race, she still finished the race in 56.58.
“I love when things like that happen,” Stamm explained. “That happens in our 4×2 a lot, where something just goes wrong at the last second and you can’t fix it. And that makes me do better because I have the adrenaline pumping and it gives me something to think about while I’m running. Because then I’m not focused on how much I hurt or how tired my legs are. I’m more focused on, ‘oh wow that happened’ and like getting through it.”
Outside of the obvious of winning a state title for the second straight year, her main goal at state is to improve her time. “I just want to get a better time,” said Stamm. “At this point, I know what I can do and I know what I want to do. I want to get better.”
In the 800m, Riley won with a time of 2:16.63. Sauder also advanced for the Streaks, taking third (2:17.37).
“I didn’t realize that I was going to get that time,” admitted Riley. “I just knew I wanted to stay up in the pack and work my way up and I did that. I was super happy.”
With that, Riley, Stamm and Sauder will each be competing in four events at state. Therefore, they will have their work cut out for them.
“It’s gonna be super packed,” said Riley. “We just have to make sure we hydrate and rest up so we can give our all in the finals at state.”
Also qualifying on the girls side, Cassandra Lee of Delta who took third in the 300m hurdles. She accomplished all of her goals for the regional.
“I was seeded third with my time. I was just like, I wanted that top four spot,” explained Lee. “I wanted to break 48 (seconds). And I did both of those.”
Now she is hopeful she can perform on the big stage at state. “I’m a little nervous because it’s my first time and it’s a big place,” said Lee. “A lot of great competitors. But I’m super excited.”
The Swanton girls had a pair of qualifiers in Bobbie Oberle and Hannah Grabke.
Oberle took fourth (15.75) in the 100m hurdles to advance.
Grabke placed sixth in the pole vault, going out at 10 feet, 4 inches. And while normally sixth does not qualify a person for state, she was able to get one of two at-large bids.
In the boys meet, Evergreen qualified a pair. Mason Loeffler advanced in the high jump and Reece Serna in both the 100m and 200m.
Loeffler won the high jump title after clearing 6 feet, 3 inches.
“I didn’t honestly think I was gonna be able to do this well,” he said on making it to state his first year in track. “So it’s kind of surprising. It feels good.”
A week ago he was runner-up to Hunter Rader of Cory-Rawson at the district, but he turned the tides this week. “Last week my steps felt a little off. So I practiced those,” said Loeffler. “Just trying to get my steps down. It worked obviously.”
Serna was third in the 100m with a time of 11.03. However, he edged Michael Nichols of Ottawa Hills in the 200m.
“I saw him (Nichols) out of the corner of my eye and I’m like, ‘I am not letting this kid pass me’,” he said. “Kicked it into high gear and then it’s history from there.”
If he can get similar results at state, he will be happy.
“Fifth or fourth or even higher. I would love to get that,” said Serna on his hopes for state. “All-State in both events would probably be my best goal – what I want to get.”
Loeffler is glad he can share the experience with someone. “Just the whole experience,” he said on what he is looking forward to. “Hang out with my friend over there (Serna). He’s making it in probably the 100m and 200m. My coach and other coaches. It will be fun.”
In the boys 800m, Brett Merillat of Fayette advanced with a third place (1:56.44) finish. He was a district champion the week before, and felt the target on his back ahead of the regional race with so much on the line.
“Coming in with the fastest time, it was a lot of pressure on me,” stated Merillat. “I wasn’t gonna let it end like that, not making it (to state).”
Delta added two qualifiers in the boys shot put. Hunter Tresnan-Reighard, who also qualified in the discus two days earlier, finished third for the Panthers with a throw of 52 feet, 8 and 1/4 inches. Nate Kohlhofer took fifth (50-5.5), but will receive an at-large bid.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships kick off Friday morning and run through Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010