Prep Track and Field: Grove girls defend title at Bulldog Invitational

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McCOMB freshman Molly Leppelmeier lets the discus fly during Thursday’s Columbus Grove Invitational at Clymer Stadium. Leppelmeier swept the discus and shot put for the Panthers. (Photo by Matthias Leguire)

By TED RADICK
STAFF WRITER
COLUMBUS GROVE — One is a senior looking for his last hurrah at the high school level. The other is a freshman just bursting onto the scene.
But for Ada’s Matt Wilcox and McComb’s Molly Leppelmeier, the goal is the same: to stand atop the podium at the state track and field meet.
Both took steps toward that goal Thursday at the Columbus Grove Bulldog Invitational.
Wilcox won the 200 (23.00) and 400 (51.60) and placed second in the 100 (11.40). Leppelmeier swept the throws, setting personal records in the discus (135-2) and shot put (43-1¾).
“From day one of the season, the goal has been to be a state champion,” said Wilcox, who medaled as part of Ada’s seventh-place 800-meter relay quartet last year at the Division III track and field championships. “I want to prove myself, I want to prove I’ve been working hard all throughout my four years of track. I feel like the best way to show that is to be a state champion in an event at state, so that’s my number one goal this year.”
To that end, Wilcox, who made the 400 finals at state last year but finished out of medal contention in ninth place, is working extra hard this spring.
“I came in with much higher expectations this season,” he said. “My training is much more amped-up from last season. I definitely have higher goals I want to reach.”
Two wins and a second at Grove are a solid start to the meat of the track season. Wilcox knows he’s not quite there yet.
“I have a lot of room for improvement, especially in the start and finish of all my sprint races,” he said. “I’m still working on a lot of stamina and endurance in the 400, I feel like that’s an area I’m still pretty weak at. Hopefully in a few weeks I can make some adjustments, and I’ll be better then.”
He’d better be. Northwest Conference foe Noah Stratton of Bluffton will be there to push Wilcox, and vice versa, all season long.
“Last year we duked it out every time we had a meet together, and we pushed each other all the way to the state meet,” Wilcox said. “It’s really nice to have him right down the road, somebody to talk race strategy with. Especially in the 400. He’s there working just as hard as I am, he gives me a motive and I give him a motive to work harder every day.
“That’s what this sport is all about. That’s what I love about it.”
Leppelmeier, meanwhile, crushed the field as a double-winner in her freshman season. No, she didn’t threaten the meet records by oldest sister Jackie in 2011, but she did match older sister Becca who was a double-winner in the throws last season.
It’s a challenge being a Leppelmeier, she said. She doesn’t want to sully the family name with a subpar performance. After all, Jackie won two state shot put championship and holds the Division III state record, and Becca brought home a discus state title last year.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but they always drive me to do my best and help me through,” Leppelmeier said of her sisters. “It’s nice having them to help coach and help work through stuff.”
Her goal, she said, is to make it to state. Thursday’s performances already are state-caliber.
” I have goals, personal goals, distance-wise that I want to hit by the end of the year,” she said. “I want to go 145 (feet) in discus and 45 in shot. Those are my big goals.
“This meet really has me excited to see what the rest of the season will bring.”
Columbus Grove has to be pretty excited as well. The Grove girls defended their championship with a 911/3-83 margin over Botkins, and while the boys saw their win streak in the meet end at four, the Bulldogs were a solid second behind Anna, 137-110.
“This really showed our depth,” Grove girls coach Tim Staley said. “We didn’t win a lot of events, but we nickled and dimed our way through it.
“We scored in every field event and that gave us a great start, and I thought our girls ran well. Syndney McCluer and Julia Wynn have been the linchpins, and they ran well tonight.”
McCluer got a win in the 100 intermediate hurdles (17.60) and she and Wynn were part of winning 400 (53.00) and 800 (150.50) relays.
Arlington was third in the 12-team field with 62 points and got wins from Willow Thompson in the pole vault (11-0), Lauren Willow in the high jump (5-3) and Arden McMath in the 3,200. McMath lapped the entire field, won by more than 500 meters and set a meet record in 12:01.80.
Ada’s Brittney Archer was a double-winner as she swept the 100 (12.80) and 200 (26.70). Other area winners included Maddy Roth (McComb) in the long jump (15-¼), Ottoville’s Taylor Mangas in the 300 hurdles (47.90) and Riverdale’s Sarah Hunter in the 400 (1:01.50).
On the boys side, Grove got wins from Rece Roney, like Leppelmeier a freshman meet champ, in the discus (137-3); Alex Tabler in the 300 hurdles (44.00); and Colton Grothaus in the 3,200 (10:21.80).
Arlington tied for fourth in the meet with 44 points and Riverdale, led by Chad Pever’s win in the high jump (6-0) tied for sixth with Ada at 39 points.

GIrls Team Standings
1, Columbus Grove 911/3. 2, Botkins 83. 3, Arlington 62. 4, Delphos St. Johns 561/3. 5, Riverdale 41. 6. (tie) McComb & Ottoville 39. 8, Delphos Jefferson 37. 9, Ada 341/2. 10, Anna 195/6. 11. Paulding 13. 12, Fort Jennings 10.
Winners and area finishers
PV — 1, Thompson (Arl) 11-0. 2, Beck (Arl) 10-0. 4, Roose (CG) 7-0.
Shot — 1, Leppelmeier (McC) 43-13/4. 3, Fruchey (CG) 32-71/4. 4, Schramm (CG) 34-1/2. 5, Pauley (Riv) 33-5.
Discus — 1, Leppelmeier (McC) 135-2. 2, Diller (CG) 119-3. 3, Verhoff (CG) 115-8. 4, Pauley (Riv) 106-10. 6, Thorbahn (Otto) 87-2.
LJ — 1, Roth (McC) 15-1/4. 2, Beach (Arl) 14-6. 4, Clymer (CG) 13-111/2. 5, Knodell (Otto) 13-103/4. 6, Marshall (Ada) 13-91/2.
HJ — 1, Willow (Arl) 5-3. 2, B. Mangas (Otto) 5-3. 3, Marshall (Ada) 4-10. 4, (tie) Ricker (CG) & Heminger (McC) 4-10. 6, Walden (Ada) 4-8.
3,200 Relay — 1, Delphos Jefferson (Ulm, Teman, Geise, Stockwell) 10:36.00. 3, Riverdale (Hunter, Martin, Arras, Manns) 10:50.00. 5, Ottoville (T. Mangas, Wendenberg, Kauffman, B. Mangas) 11:12.90. 6, Ada (Sutton, Hunter, Boyadzhiev, Walden) 11:28.10.
100 — 1, Archer (Ada) 12.80. 4, Flores (CG) 13.70.
100 IH — 1, S. McCluer (CG) 17.60. 3, Grone (FJ) 17.80. 5, Willow (Arl) 18.60.
800 Relay — 1, Columbus Grove (Flores, S. McCluer, K. Wynn, J. Wynn) 1:50.50. 3, Riverdale (Manns, Pickett, Penwell, Hunter) 1:53.20. 5, McComb (Heminger, Roth, Thepsourinthine, Herr) 1:54.60.
1,600 — 1, Flora (Bot) 5:23.3 (meet record). 2, McMath (Arl) 5:25.80. 4, Manns (Riv) 5:58.40. 6, Arras (Riv) 6:12.40.
400 Relay — 1, Columbus Grove (Flores, J. Wynn, Roe, S. McCluer) 52.40. 2, Ottovillle (Honigford, B. Mangas, Wendenberg, T. Mangas) 53.00. 3, Ada (Price, Marshall, Stuart, Archer) 53.70. 4, McComb (Roth, Thepsourinthone, Herr, Hemminger) 54.20.
400 — 1, Hunter (Riv) 1:01.50.
300 LH — 1, T. Mangas (Otto) 47.90. 3, S. McCluer (CG) 49.20. 6, Clymer (CG) 53.10.
800 — 1, Flora (Bot) 2:27.80. 2, Manns (2:32.70. 3, Russell (Arl) 2:36.70.
200 — 1, Archer (Ada) 26.70. 2, J. Wynn (CG) 27.20.
3,200 — 1, McMath (Arl) 12:01.80 (meet record). 3, M. McCluer (CG) 14:04.10. 4, Schimmoeller (FJ) 14:05.30. 5, Meyerholtz (CG) 14:05.70.
1,600 Relay — 1, Botkins (Heuker , Christman , Bornhorst, Flora) 4:21.90. 2, Ottoville (T. Mangas, B. Mangas, Honigford, Wendeberg) 4:24.10. 6, Columbus Grove (K. Wynn, Stephens, Malsam, Smith) 4:31.90.
Boys Team Standings
1, Anna 137. 2, Columbus Grove 110. 3, Delphos St. John’s 47. 4 (tie), Arlington & Paulding 44. 6 (tie), Ada & Riverdale 39. 8, Botkins 26. 9 (tie) McComb & Ottoville 18. 11, Fort Jennings 4.
Winners and area finishers
PV — 1, Konst (Anna) 12-6. 2, Starr (Arl) 12-0. 3, Warnecke (CG) 11-0. 6, Grothaus (CG) 11-0.
Shot — 1, Schindler (Pau) 46-113/4. 2, Inniger (Arl) 45-13/4. 3, Roney (CG) 44-11. 6, Ansley (Ada) 42-83/4.
Discus — 1, Roney (CG) 137-3. 2, Dumbaugh (Ada) 134-10. 4, Bendele (Otto) 124-10.
LJ — 1, Bruce (Anna) 19-91/2. 2, Starr (Arl) 19-8. 3, Hunter (Arl) 19-21/2. 4, Bogart (CG) 17-113/4. 5, Mag (Otto) 17-10.
HJ — 1, Pever (Riv). 6-0. 3, Clement (CG) 5-10. 5, Downing (CG) 5-6. 6, Glick (Arl) 5-6.
3,200 Relay — 1, Anna (Gaier, Steinke, Larger, Berning) 8:25.80. 2, Columbus Grove (Giesege, Grothaus, Altenberger, Sharrits) 8:31.00. 3, Riverdale (Evans, Lauck, Fox, Pever) 8:48.60.
100 — 1, MacLennan (DSJ) 11.30. 2, Wilcox (Ada) 11.40. 5, Dysert (McC) 12.10.
110 HH — 1, Bruce (Anna) 17.10. 2, Hunter (Arl) 17.70. 3, Von Sossan (Otto) 17.90. 4, Tabler (CG) 18.00. 5, Hughart (Ada) 18.10.
800 Relay — 1, Anna (Bruce, Layman, Rioch, Cates) 1:33.60 (meet record). 2, Columbus Grove (Warnecke, Martin , Gladwell, Price) 1;38.70. 3, Riverdale (White, Ribley, Miller, Hunter) 1:38.80. 5, Arlington (Essinger, Heaster, Beck, Oates) 1:39.90.
1,600 — 1, Steinke (Anna) 4:41.20. 3, Sharrits (CG) 4:44.20. 4, Altenberger (CG) 4:45.10.
400 Relay — 1, Anna (Konst, Layman, Bruce, Cates) 44.70. 3, Columbus Grove (Warnecke, Price, Bogart, Clement) 46.20. 5, Arlington (Essinger, Heaster, Hunter, Oates) 47.40. 6, McComb (Davis, Auchmuty, Parker, Dysert) 47.50.
400 — 1, Wilcox (Ada) 51.60. 2, Dysert (McC) 53.60. 3, Bogart (CG) 54.90. 6, Evans (Riv) 55.40.
300 IH — 1, Tabler (CG) 44.00. 5, Von Sossan (Otto) 46.70. 6, Auchmuty (McC) 47.00.
800 — 1, Conley (DSJ) 2:03.90. 2, Pever (Riv) 2:04.30. 5, Giesege (CG) 2:07.90.
200 — 1, Wilcox (Ada) 23.00. 2, Clement (CG) 23.50. 3, Dysert (McC) 24.30. 4, Mag (Otto) 24.40.
3,200 — 1, Grothaus (CG) 10:21.80. 5, Weichart (FJ) 11:01.40.
1,600 Relay — 1, Anna (Larger, Arling, Berning, Rioch) 3:35.90. 2, Riverdale (Evans, Fox, Lauck, Pever) 3:38.60. 3, Columbus Grove (Bogart, Giesege, Sharrit, Clement) 3:42.00. 5, Fort Jennings (Blankemeyer, Grone, Berelsman, Ricker) 3:50.40. 6, Arlington (Elledge, Essinger, Beck, Hunter) 3:51.60.
Radick, 419-427-8407
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