By TED RADICK
TIFFIN — It’s always a good thing to make a solid first impression, and Patrick Henry sophomore thrower Trista Fintel made quite the impression with her first throw in Wednesday’s shot put competition at the Division III regional meet at Heidelberg University.
Fintel wasted no time in taking control of the shot put, uncorking a throw of 41-111/4 on her initial throw of the preliminary round.
That toss held up and Fintel won the competition, sending her for the first time to next week’s state meet at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
The top four finishers in each event final as the regional advance to the state meet. Two at-large spots from the state’s four regional meets also earn trips to state.
The Heidelberg regional resumes today with field events at 5 p.m. and the running finals at 6:30. Field events on tap today are the girls discus, pole vault and long jump, and the boys high jump and shot put.
Fintel’s throw on Wednesday set a new personal best and a new Patrick Henry school record. Not only did she hit the 40-foot milestone for the first time, she surged well beyond it.
“We started toning down my lifting about a week ago,” Fintel said. “We were lifting heavy up until about a week ago, and now we’re focusing on more explosion stuff. I think that helped, my lifting schedule helped a lot.”
A little friendly help from another school didn’t hurt, either.
“Otsego’s coach came over, Chad McClory, and he helped out with a lot of technique,” Fintel said.
Fintel will compete in today’s discus competition with a chance to make the state meet in a second event. All this talk about state is something different, as she admits the end of her freshman season didn’t end on a high note.
“I went to regionals last year, but didn’t do well,” Fintel said. “I only threw 34 feet last year, so I was almost last.”
That said, there’s a goal for next week in Columbus.
“I don’t want to get last, so that’s the goal right now,” Fintel said with a laugh. “Hopefully I do well there. I’m really excited, because my goal this year was to make it to state.”
Fintel finished eighth in the shot (37-11/2) at the state indoor meet in early March, so she at least has some championship meet experience.
“That’s sort of good to go there and get some experience. It’s nothing like outdoor state, I’ve heard,” Fintel said. “There’s going to be a lot of people watching, it’s going to be crazy. Last year, I got nervous in front of the crowd at regional, so I probably will get nervous at state.”
Nervous or not, it’s a chance to throw against the best in Ohio and continue to grow as an athlete.
“I have the school record in both discus and shot now,” she said. “I have two more years, and I plan on improving every year.
“I have two more years after this to make it to state and win.”
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Today’s running finals begin with the girls 100-meter intermediate hurdles.
After Wednesday’s preliminaries, runners were seeded with the top performances running today from lane 4 and the No. 2 times seeded into lane 5.
Two races in the girls meet will feature area runners in the two fast lanes. Vanlue’s Bethany Smith (12.87) and Columbus Grove’s Rylee Sybert (12.88) have the top times in the 100, and Old Fort’s Jenna Clouse (46.58) and Continental’s Katie Keller (46.82) are the top two in the 300 low hurdles.
Clouse, at 15.66, has the top time in the 100 intermediate hurdles. Sybert (25.89) was the top qualifier in the 200, and Smith (58.40) was second-fasted in Wednesday’s 400 prelims. Liberty-Benton’s 800 (1:48.41) and 1,600 (4:06.36) relays both had the second-fastest times.
On the boys side, Bluffton’s Xavier Dunifon had the best prelim time (40.18) in the 300 intermediate hurdles. Cory-Rawson’s 800 relay also posted the best prelim time (1:32.65).
Pandora-Gilboa’s Travis Maag (16.02) will run in lane 5 in the 110 high hurdles final; Cory-Rawson’s Hunter Bixler has the No. 2 time (51.67) in the 400; and Carey’s 1,600 relay also had the No. 2 prelim time (3:27.64).