Vanlue’s Bethany Smith wins the 400-meter dash in 58.22 seconds at Saturday’s Division III district meet at Findlay High. Smith finished ahead of teammate Emma Franks (1:00.29), with Liberty-Benton’s Lily Kintner (1:00.41) and Elmwood’s Liz Hoffman (1:02.31) also advancing to the Tiffin regional. (Photo by Matthias Leguire)

staff writer
Sure, many of the experienced veterans did what they needed to do and advanced to the regional meet from Saturday’s Division III district track meet at Findlay High School.
But part of the fun of a postseason meet is seeing new faces pop up and earn their chance to shine.
Arcadia senior Emily Peters, for example, had to wait her turn in the Redskins’ throwing hierarchy.
She was the team’s No. 3 discus thrower for the past couple of years, and watched teammates Maddie Yaple and Samantha Watkins compete in the discus at last year’s state meet.
Peters delivered a personal best in the shot put on Thursday to qualify for the Tiffin Regional, and followed up Saturday with another PR to move on in the discus.
The top four finishers in each event at the district meet qualified for the regional meet Wednesday and Friday at Heidelberg University.
“This is more unexpected, honestly, but I knew I could do it if I could just get a good PR in,” said Peters, who was fourth with a toss of 120-9 to top her previous season-best by more than seven feet.
“In practice, I’ve been hitting 120 pretty consistently, I just haven’t been able to get in a good mark in meets.”
Watkins, sixth at state last year, won the discus at 138-3 with defending state champ Chloe Miller of Liberty-Benton second (136-7) and Columbus Grove’s Madi Maag third (126-3).
The same four throwers advanced, in the same order, in Thursday’s shot put competition. Peters thinks that’s a good thing.
“It really is,” she said. “Being surrounded by these girls is really going to push me to be better. They’re going to push me, they have, really, for my entire throwing career.
“Sammy’s been pushing me since seventh grade. I’ve also been throwing with Chloe and Madi all along.”
Maag was 11th in the discus at state last year but faced a new challenge. Columbus Grove competed at the Spencerville district and Troy regional a year ago and came back to the Findlay district and the notoriously tough Tiffin regional in 2019.
Maag’s also been fighting an injury that had her less than 100 percent for the shot put.
“For shot put, I was really just hoping for the best,” Maag said. “I haven’t practiced much, I’ve been dealing with a shoulder injury and the shot put doesn’t help it whatsoever. I come to meets, I know what to do footwork-wise, so I just do what I have to do and throw hard when I have to.
“Disc, I was expecting to throw a little bit farther today but I’m just happy with going to regionals.”
This is Maag’s last run as a thrower.
“I’m not throwing in college. I was considering it but decided not to,” she said. “Right now, we’re just thinking about putting it out there and leaving it all in the ring. It’s my last year, so I’m going for it.”
Vanlue sophomore Emma Franks qualified for her first trip to the regional with second-place finishes in a pair of events.
She teamed with Bethany Smith, Taylor Gerschutz and Renee Sampson for second in the 1,600-meter relay (4:17.55), and finished second behind Smith in the 400 (1:00.29).
Smith has two trips to state in the 400, one each in the 100 and 200, and was seventh last year at state in the 400. Franks says she’s learned a lot running with her senior teammate.
“You have to be determined to win,” Franks said. “You have to get a good start off your blocks.”
Smith won the 400 on Saturday in 58.22, so she sets a high bar for Franks to follow.
“I always try to keep up with her in practice, but it hardly ever works,” Franks said with a laugh.
For the regional, Franks said, “I’m hoping to at least make it to the final eight in the 400. In the 4×4, I’m not really sure how far we can go with that. We’ll definitely have to drop some time if we want to go farther.
“I’m excited to go to regionals this year, especially with the relay team. That hasn’t happened at Vanlue in forever, probably.”
The veteran competitors also shined Saturday.
Arlington senior Kindal Inbody was the only Red Devils’ girl to qualify for state last year, and she was third (15-10) in the long jump to advance to Tiffin.
Inbody, who also moved on as part of Arlington’s 800 relay, was 16th at state in the 2018 long jump. As a freshman in 2016, she ran on Arlington’s state-qualifying 800 relay quartet.
At Tiffin, Inbody will battle Leipsic’s Carlee Siefker, the area’s top jumper this season; teammate Hannah Willow, who won the district at 16-8¾; and Pandora-Gilboa’s Alaina Basinger, second Saturday at 16-1.
“It’s good competition to have, especially with Hannah on my team. She’s always pushing me,” Inbody said.
“Carlee, she’s good. She’s got ‘it.’ I’m just going to do what I can this week to prepare for the regionals. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m going to try my best.”
Part of being a veteran, though, is knowing how to prepare.
“I’ve been trying to work on my form a lot this year, and I know that’s getting better and I hope that helps me at the regional,” she said. “I do have practice every day. At this point, they’re not as strenuous as during the regular season. In the long jump, we’ll work on stuff every other day. I want to get some work in, but not stress myself too much.”
Liberty-Benton, with five athletes getting two event victories Saturday, won the team title 138-108 over Columbus Grove. Arlington (68 points), Arcadia (54½) and Riverdale (54) rounded out the top five teams.
L-B’s Alissa Rhodes and Lily Kintner were part of the winning 800 and 1,600 relay teams, joining Cassie Warner and Izzy Granger in the 800 relay (1:48.45); and Taylor Ward and Brooke Deeter in the 1,600 relay (4:07.69).
Deeter won the 300 low hurdles (47.07) and Ward took the 800 (2:24,60). Alexis Rickenbacher won the 100 intermediate hurdles (16.19) and pole vault (12-0).
Columbus Grove’s Rylee Sybert was a triple winner, taking the 100 (12.64), 200 (25.86) and joining Savanah Ridenour, Amy Vorst and Becca Choi to win the 400 relay (51.60).
Grove’s Alyssa Ellerbrock won the 1,600 (5:21.25) and 3,200 (12:05.62).

1, Liberty-Benton 138. 2, Columbus Grove 108. 3, Arlington 68. 4, Arcadia 54½. 5, Riverdale 54. 6, Van Buren 50½. 7, Vanlue 43. 8, Elmwood 40. 9, Pandora-Gilboa 22. 10, Allen East 19. 11, North Baltimore 17. 12, Bluffton 16. 13, Ada 11. 14, Hardin Northern 10. 15, Cory-Rawson 8.
DISCUS — Watkins (Arc) 138-3. 2, Miller (L-B) 136-7. 3, Maag (CG) 126-3. 4, Peters (Arc) 120-9. 5, Granger (L-B) 118-2. 6, Brinkman (CG) 114-8. 7, Biller (Van) 113-6. LJ — 1. Willow (Arl) 16-8¾/ 2. Basinger (P-G) 16-1. 3, Inbody (Arl) 15-10. 4, Ashburn (Riv) 15-1½. 5, Stackhouse (Blu) 15-1. 6, Vorst (CG) 14-8½. 7, Bodie (L-B) 14-7. 8, Basinger (Blu) 14-5¾. PV — 1, Rickenbacher (L-B) 12-0. 2, Bucher (NB) 10-0. 3, Dellifield (Ada) 9-6. 4, Crawford (Arl) 9-6. 5, Murray (Elm) 9-0. 6, Jones (Arl) 8-6. 7, Heilman (CG) 8-6. 8, Dilsaver (Elm) 8-0. 100 IH — 1, Rickenbacher (L-B) 16.19. 3, Willow (Arl) 16.46. 4, Northcutt (VB) 17.20. 5 Crawford (Arl) 17.24. 6, Sudlow (Riv) 17.51. 7, Bish (C-R) 17.53. 8, Vorst (CG) 17.56. 100 — 1, Sybert (CG) 12.64. 2, Smith (Van) 12.82. 3, Basinger (P-G) 12.87. 4, Warner (L-B) 12.87. 5, Nessler (VB) 13.19. 6, Tackett (Riv) 13.44. 7, Inbody (Arl) 13.72. 800 RELAY — 1, Liberty-Benton (Kintner, Warner, Rhodes, Granger) 1:48.45. 2, Elmwood (Hoffman, Hall, Plouck, Thrash) 1:48.56. 3, Arlington (Inbody, Beach, Jones, Green) 1:49.51. 4, Bluffton (Setzer, Scoles, Monday, Stackhouse) 1:50.49. 5, Riverdale (Tackett, Sudlow, Frey, Phillips) 1:52.29. 6, Arcadia (Brubaker, Sparks, Pessell, Golden) 1:52.80. 7, Van Buren (Missler, Cavera, George, Nessler) 1:55.06. 8, Cory-Rawson (Bish, Peterson, Roebke, Hassan) 1:55.60. 1,600 — 1, Ellerbrock (CG) 5:21.25. 2, Ward (L-B) 5:24.71. 3, Downing (CG) 5:27.67. 4, Webster (VB) 5:38.05. 5, K. Collier (Riv) 5:48.22. 6, Zibbel (Elm) 5:56.02. 7, Rickle (L-B) 5:59.49. 8, Hartman (NB) 5:59.95. 400 RELAY — 1, Columbus Grove (Ridenour, Sybert, Vorst, Choi) 51.69. 2, Liberty-Benton (Warner, Rickenbacher, Rhodes, Bodie) 52.08. 3, Elmwood (Spanfellner, Hall, Plouck, Thrash) 52.33. 4, Arlington (Inbody, Beach, Jones, Willow) 52.45. 5, Riverdale (Tackett, Ashburn, Frey, Phillips) 53.06. 6, Pandora-Gilboa (Russell, Schulte, Diller, Basinger) 53.61. 7, Van Buren (Missler, Northcutt, Hoerig, Nessler) 53.78. 400 — 1, Smith (Van) 58.22. 2, Franks (Van) 1:00.29. 3, Kintner (L-B) 1:00.41. 4, Hoffman (Elm) 1:02.31. 5, Hissong (Ada) 1:02.70. 6, Jones (Arl) 1:03.88. 7, Miller (P-G) 1:04.88. 8, Deffenbaugh (CG) 1:05.58. 300 LH — 1, Deeter (L-B) 47.07. 2, Green (Arl) 47.84. 3, Rhodes (L-B) 48.71. 5, Sudlow (Riv) 52.04. 7, Jackson (VB) 52.56. 8, Renteria (Riv) 55.49. 800 — 1. Ward (L-B) 2:24.60. 2, Webster (VB) 2:29.10. 3, Sparks (Arc) 2:31.04. 4, Price (CG) 2:31.04. 5, Rothlisberger (Riv) 2:31.35. 6, Miller (P-G) 2:34.88. 7, Conine (Arc) 2:24.91. 8, Hotmire (Blu) 2:35.51. 200 — 1, Sybert (CG) 25.86. 2, Warner (L-B) 26.62. 3, Smith (Van) 26.98. 4, Newton (HN) 27.30. 5, Golden (Arc) 27.31. 6, Kintner (L-B) 28.07. 7, Stackhouse (Blu) 28.40. 8, Franks (Van) 28.96. 3,200 — 1, Ellerbrock (CG) 12:05.62. 2, Downing (CG) 12:10.43. 3, Hunt (VB) 12:30.47. 4, Rickle (L-B) 12:54.75. 5, J. Collier (Riv) 12:55.50. 6, Murphy (L-B) 13:38.47. 7, Schwartz (NB) 13:45.01. 8, Zibbel (Elm) 14:06.27. 1,600 RELAY — 1, Liberty-Benton (Deeter, Ward, Kintner, Rhodes) 4:07.69. 2, Vanlue (Franks, Gerschutz, Sampson, Smith) 4:17.55. 3, Elmwood (Hoffman, Hall, Plouck, Thrash) 4:18.73. 4, Columbus Grove (Deffenbaugh, Sybert, Gladwell, Schafer) 4:19.30. 5, Riverdale (Breidenbaugh, Rothlisberger, Borkosky, Phillips) 4:21.28. 6, Van Buren (Harr, Webster, Pisarsky, Cavera) 4:25.43.. 7, Cory-Rawson (Peterson, Roebke, Hassan, Bish) 4:28.36. 8, Ada (Green, Alexander, Dellifield, Hissong) 4:39.26.
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