By ANDREW WILLIAMS
TIFFIN — Personal, meet and even state records fell Friday during the final day of the Division III regional track and field meet at Tiffin’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
Amidst all the chaos, champions were crowned, dreams were dashed and athletes celebrated the opportunity to compete just one more time this season next week at the OHSAA state championships at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Tiffin Calvert topped Archbold by a narrow 60-57 decision to earn the boys regional title, thanks to regional meet records in the 400- (42.50) and 800 meter relays (1:28.39). It’s just the second time in 20 years an area team did not win the regional boys team championship.
Bluffton, led by Noah Stratton and Isaac Little, led area teams, finishing third with 48 points. Defending regional champion Liberty-Benton finished fourth (41). The top four individuals in each event qualified for the state meet next week.
Stratton, who placed seventh in the 400 at last year’s state meet, will be making a return trip to Columbus in three events. The senior placed second in the 400 (49.59), while also earning a spot as the member of the top 1,600 relay team (3:22.10) and the second-fastest 800 relay squad (1:30.13).
“It feels great,” Stratton said. “State’s an awesome experience. It’s just a blessing to be able to go down there. I’m looking forward to going down with the other relays. Just being able to share that experience with all my teammates, that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”
Upper Scioto Valley’s George Bauer won the 400 and Ada’s Matthew Wilcox was to record a 1-2-4 finish of boys who ran at the Liberty-Benton district last week.
While Stratton was happy to have his fellow district runners take the top spots, he said being the runner-up in the 400 for the second straight year gives him a reason to push a little harder in practice this week.
“It definitely motivates me because I got second last year and I was hoping I could be at the top of the podium,” Stratton said. “But it’s just going to push me even more this week. It might be a good thing in the long run.”
Little, who was a four-time champion at last week’s district meet, will also be a three-event participant at state. The senior placed fourth in the 200 (22.96), helped Bluffton take third in the 400 relay (43.78) and was a member of the 800 relay team.
Patrick Henry’s Zach Nye torched the field in the 110 hurdles to earn a regional crown with a time of 14.64 seconds. He also ran the second leg of the Patriots’ 400 relay team which was second in 43.34.
Despite a dominating performance against a strong field, the senior said there is still room for improvement before he hits the track at Jesse Owens Friday.
“I felt like I raced pretty well for the most part,” Nye said. “I would have liked to have a little better of a start and I hit a few hurdles, but for the most part I was pretty clean. I’m pretty happy with my time and I’m glad to get down to state again.”
Nye was fourth in the 110 hurdles at state a year ago in a time of 14.61. He likes his chances of improving on that performance against the best in Ohio.
“I really like the challenge of running against those real fast kids down there,” he said. “It’s a really good experience. Hopefully I can run up with the guys in the top. I have expectations of finishing this year.”
Liberty-Benton’s Zach Garver hasn’t been participating in track and field for very long, but with the strong program the Eagles have it isn’t surprising that the senior will be competing in two state events next week.
Garver set a personal best and established a school-record make by clearing 6-6 in the high jump to earn a runner-up finish. He also took fourth as a member of the Eagles’ 1,600 relay squad (3:27.91).
“I just picked up track last year so I wasn’t really expecting to make it to state this year but I’m really excited,” he said. “I was pretty nervous (today) but I was really excited. My legs felt really good today so I’m glad they didn’t fail me.”
Garver seems to be hitting his stride as a jumper at exactly the right moment. Moving into the state meet, he feels he’s right where he needs to be.
“Our coach always says you want to peak toward the end of the year and I really think I’m doing that right now,” he said. “Hopefully I can crack out another 6-7 or 6-8 jump at state.”
Van Buren’s Ted Simmons qualified for regionals in the 800 and 1,600 races, but chose to skip the 1,600 to give himself a better chance to advance in the 800.
That move paid off, as the senior was the first to cross the finish line in a time of 1:57.44.
“I’ve been picturing it a lot in my head,” Simmons said of winning a regional title. “It feels rewarding to have that actually come to fruition.
“It felt good to have fresh legs, have everything as could as it can be and there’s no excuses when all that comes together. You just have to go out there and leave it all on the track.”
Simmons made the trip to state as a sophomore as part of the Black Knights’ 3,200 relay team. This time around, he will be competing alone and sticking with the same approach that has gotten him this far.
“I’m just looking forward to ending my track career as well as I possibly can,” he said. “I know not to have any regrets when I get off that track. And it’s so hard in this race because it’s two minutes of chaos and then it’s over. You just have to plan as best you can and hopefully make the most of it.”
Undoubtedly the most impressive feat of the meet came from Liberty Center’s Nick Demaline, who put on a show for the crowd fortunate enough to catch the shot put competition.
In his preliminary throws, Demaline broke his own meet record set last year on his first attempt. After fouling on his second toss, the senior again broke the meet record with a throw of 61-83/4.
As an encore, Demaline posted a new state-record mark in the finals with a heave of 68-101/2, breaking the old record of 68-81/4 set by Hannibal River’s D.J. Duke in 2009.
Carey’s Jacob Goble finished third in the shot put with a toss of 50-71/2, Wilcox added to his advancement in the 400 with a third-place showing in the 200 (22.95) to make it to state in two events.
Columbus Grove’s Bryce Sharrits placed third in the 800 (1:58.57), while Riverdale’s Chad Pever was fourth (1:58.64) to also qualify for state.
Leipsic’s Terrill Murriel posted a 15.33 time in the 110 hurdles to finish fourth and the Hopewell-Loudon quartet of Elancio Velasquez, Patric Gase, Noah Breidenbach and Eli Tooker were fourth in the 800 relay in 1:32.14.
BOYS TEAM STANDINGS
1, Tiffin Calvert 60. 2, Archbold 57. 3, Bluffton 48. 4, Liberty-Benton 41. 5, Patrick Henry 33. 6, Seneca East 29. 7, Woodmore 26. 8, Colonel Crawford 24. 9, Liberty Center 21. 10, Columbus Grove 20. 10, Pettisville 20. 12, Ashland Crestview 19. 13, Tinora 18. 13, Antwerp 18. 15, Waynesfield-Goshen 17½. 16, New London 17. 17, Hicksville 15½. 18, Collins Western Reserve 14. 19, Riverdale 13. 19, Ada 13. 21, Van Buren 11. 21, Upper Scioto Valley 11. 21, Wayne Trace 11. 21, Wynford 11. 25, Carey 10. 26, Lakota 8. 26, Old Fort 8. 28, Hopewell-Loudon 7. 28, Montpelier 7. 30, Allen East 6. 30, South Central 6. 32, Norwalk St. Paul 5½. 33, Leipsic 5. 33, Cory-Rawson 5. 33, Gibsonburg 5. 33, Toledo Christian 5. 37, Sherwood Fairview 4. 38, Arlington 3. 38, Ayersville 3. 38, Sandusky St. Mary’s 3. 38, Pandora-Gilboa 3. 42, Hilltop ½.
REGIONAL QUALIFIERS & AREA FINISHES
SHOT — 1, Demaline (LC) 68-10½ (state record). 2, Crowe (Lak) 51-5. 3, Goble (Car) 50-7½. 4, Hovis (Gib) 50-4¼. 5, Carrizales (PH) 48-5¼. 6, Combs (L-B) 48-0.
HJ — 1, Olewiler (AC) 6-7. 2, Garver (L-B) 6-6. 3, Lament (W-G) 6-3. 3, Fritz (NSP) 6-3.
110HH — 1, Nye (PH) 14.64. 2, Parsley (Arch) 15.25. 3, R. Boehler (Cal) 15.32. 4, Murriel (Leip) 15.33.
100 — 1, Wyse (Arch) 11.12. 2, S. Boehler (Cal) 11.19. 3, Fortner (Wyn) 11.26. 4, Long (Cal) 11.28. 6, Warnimont (C-R) 11.41. 7, Ma. Wilcox (Ada) 11.79.
800 RELAY — 1, Tiffin Calvert (Ball, Long, R. Boehler, S. Boehler) 1:28.39. 2, Bluffton (Little, R. Stratton, Alt, N. Stratton) 1:30.13. 3, Colonel Crawford 1:31.66. 4, Hopewell-Loudon (Velasquez, Gase, Breidenbach, Tooker) 1:32.14. 7, Cory-Rawson (Moser, Sands, Waltz, Warnimont) 1:32.93. 8, Columbus Grove (Warnecke, Bogart, Price, Clement) 1:34.20.
1,600 — 1, Martin (CC) 4:24.29. 2, Williamson (Ant) 4:24.31. 3, Lantz (Pett) 4:27.49. 4, Stoller (WT) 4:28.56. 7, Harnish (Blu) 4:39.86.
400 RELAY — 1, Tiffin Calvert (Ball, Long, R. Boehler, S. Boehler) 42.50. 2, Patrick Henry (Ehlers, Nye, Bonner, Johnson) 43.34. 3, Bluffton (Wannemacher, Alt, Lee, Little) 43.78. 4, Tinora 44.12.
400 — 1, Bauer (USV) 49.35. 2, N. Stratton (Blu) 49.49. 3, Wyse (Arch) 49.99. 4, Ma. Wilcox (Ada) 50.06. 7, Breidenbach (H-L) 51.73.
300 IH — 1, Walters (Hick) 38.84. 2, R. Boehler (Cal) 40.07. 3, Saylor (WT) 40.18. 4, Hout (AC) 40.20.
800 — 1, Simmons (VB) 1:57.44. 2, Anthony (W) 1:58.04. 3, Sharrits (CG) 1:58.57. 4, Pever (Riv) 1:58.64. 7, Giesige (CG) 2:01.58.
200 — 1, Wyse (Arch) 22.42. 2, S. Boehler (Cal) 22.49. 3, Ma. Wilcox (Ada) 22.95. 4, Little (Blu) 22.96.
3,200 — 1, Williamson (Ant) 9:44.82. 2, Willman (SE) 9:46.58. 3, Stockmaster (SE) 9:51.43. 4, Copley (NL) 9:51.83.
1,600 RELAY — 1, Bluffton (Demellweek, R. Stratton, Alt, N. Stratton) 3:22.10. 2, Archbold 3:25.78. 3, Allen East 3:26.38. 4, Liberty-Benton (Boehme, Garver, Lyberg, Snook) 3:27.91. 6, Columbus Grove (Clement, Bogart, Sharrits, Giesige) 3:32.18.
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