COLUMBUS — The competition at the state track meet is always intense and a level beyond anything athletes and teams experience during the regular season in their respective regions.
Even the most outstanding effort often isn’t good enough to guarantee the top finish in any given event. Take for example this year’s girls 3200 meter relay. Gahanna Lincoln eclipsed the former state record of 9:00.82 set by Centerville in 2015 by clocking a finish in 8:56.73 but Mason topped that with a state best time of 8:56.62 for a new state record. And so it goes.
Northmont had three athletes reach the awards podium while Wayne saw one make the “Elite Eight.”
Northmont senior Christian Wilson placed 4th in the high jump at 6-feet, 6-inches. Joe Ellis, a senior from Mansfield, took 1st place at 6-feet, 10-inches. Albert Kalala, a senior from Cincinnati Withrow, placed and at 6-feet, 8-inches and Mason senior Vince Jackson took 3rd at 6-feet, 6-inches with no misses at that height while Wilson had one miss.
Junior Xavier Marable placed 5th in the 400 meter dash in 48.95 seconds. Senior Lonzell Feagin of Canal Winchester took 1st in 47.31 followed by senior Zion Wynn of Loveland (48.25), senior Dominique Long of Westerville South (48.39), and senior Sean Geither of Normandy (48.68).
Drake Hickman made the finals of the 300 meter hurdles but ended up finishing 9th in 39.37 seconds after a preliminary qualifying time of 38.86.
“It was a great weekend for the boys,” Broering said. “Three of them really shined. Xavier and Drake both made the finals and of course Christian jumped really well Saturday in the finals. I really thought Christian had a chance to win the whole thing, but it got down to the final four and the kid from Mansfield just got hot. Christian did really well. It’s scary to think how great he could be because this is the only year he ever competed in track with us. He is an amazing athlete.”
Broering was also pleased with the performances of his other two state qualifiers.
“Xavier ran a good race to get into the finals and did very well,” Broering said. “Drake Hickman was a big surprise to even get to state out of our regional. He was in lane eight at regional, which is very difficult to handle and then was in lane one at state. He did great and I am really proud of all the boys. We had great weather too. There was a lot of great competition and there were a lot of people there to witness it all.”
For the Lady Bolts senior Melissa Garrett placed 5th setting a new school record of 2:11.27. Sophomore Gia Napoleon of Thomas Worthington took 1st in 2:07.47. Sophomore Madison Martinez of Gahanna Lincoln was 2nd at 2:08.94. Another sophomore, Shynae Deas of Gahanna Lincoln took 3rd in 2:10.14 and senior Lauren DeVito of Rocky River placed 4th in 2:10.18.
“Melissa’s performance in the 800 was just a perfect race for her,” said Northmont Coach Joe Barnes, who was named GWOC National Division Coach of the Year. “She went out slower, didn’t take the lead, just sat with the girls and then finished strong to set the school record that she broke earlier this year of 2:14.24. To place 5th after running a 2:11, I mean some years that time would be the best in the state. It was an incredibly fast race all around in all the races.”
Barrett will now compete in the Mid-West Meet of Champions on Saturday, June 10 at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware.
“She is going to be on the 4×800 relay team and that team is going to be really fast,” Barnes noted. “They could easily break that meet record.”
Northmont’s girls 4×400 didn’t reach the finals running a 4:01.41 in the preliminaries to finish 14th out of 16 teams.
“In the 4×400 the one thing that really hurt us was the final exchange from Lauren Daniel to Melissa Barrett. When Melissa got the baton there was another girl from another team that she collided with, so that slowed us down just a little bit. We might have been able to run a second or two faster if we had a clean exchange. I’m not sure if we would have made the finals but it would have gotten us a little bit closer.”
Barnes said the state meet was a good experience for all of his athletes and he looks forward to his team doing even better next season.
“I am pleased with all of the girls that ran and was very pleased with what Barrett ended up doing. All in all I can’t wait until next year,” Barnes added.
Wayne lone podium placer came in the shot put where junior Joel Crain placed 7th with a best throw of 56-feet, 11.5-inches. Nick Lane of Bowling Green won the state title at 59-feet, 5-inches.
Sophomore Zarik Brown finished 12th in the preliminaries of the 200 meter dash in 22.15 seconds. Top qualifier Travis Marx of Reynoldsburg came in at 21.36.
Wayne’s 1600 relay team of Joseph Collins, Terrion McGhee, Justin Harris and Elijah Hill finished 15th in the preliminaries in 3:24.248 and didn’t reach the finals.
In the girls long jump junior Taylor Robertson finished 12th at 16-feet, 11-inches. Junior Hope Purcell of Lancaster won the event at 19-feet, 1.25 inches.
Senior Graysen Simmons finished 13th in the pole vault at 11-feet. Senior Allie Stern of Walsh Jesuit won the event at 13-feet, 1-inch in a jump-off against senior Anna Watson of Olentangy Orange.