Despite the lack of a regional championship to brag about, thanks to solid showings at Wednesday’s Division I regional meet in Pickerington, a handful of local athletes punched tickets to next week’s OHSAA State Track and Field Championships.
The best efforts came via a slew of Olentangy athletes. Liberty’s Joey and Chris Uhle punched tickets to the state meet by clearing 15-6 to nab second- and third-place points in the pole vault (Gahanna’s Jacob Blankenship won the regional crown by clearing 16-0); Orange’s Katelyn Daniels and Olentangy’s Adaora Anunike each earned spots in the state showcase by finishing second and third in the shot put with respective throws of 41-07 3/4 and 38-01 1/2; Olentangy’s Josh Perry advanced to the state meet in the long jump, finishing third with a leap of 21-08 1/2; and Liberty’s Grant Cartwright advanced to the state extravaganza in the discus, finishing fourth with a toss of 145-02.
On the track, meanwhile, a handful of standouts qualified for finals thanks to steady showings in preliminary action. Top efforts included Big Walnut’s Luke Atkeson, who won his prelim in the 110 hurdles by finishing with a meet-best effort of :15.53; Perry, who also qualified for the finals in the 110 hurdles, finishing with the fourth-best prelim time of :15.58; Big Walnut’s Brea Medlock qualified for the finals in the girls’ 400, finishing seventh in :59.39; and Olentangy’s 4x100 relay quartet (Colin McShane, Perry, Anthony Outley and Bryce Cheek), who combined to qualify for the the final by finishing seventh in :43.31.
Others in action included Big Walnut’s girls relay teams, which missed the cut in all four races Wednesday afternoon. The 4x800 group (Bethany Bogantz, Brittney Bogantz, Lincoln Green and Catie Craig-Bowden), competing in a final, crossed the line ninth in 9:55.78; the 4x400 team (Jamie Annis, Liz Carty, Julia Evans and Brea Medlock) finished ninth in 4:07.93 in preliminary action; the 4x200 unit (Olivia Small, Callie Carioti, Annis and Medlock) closed 11th in 1:46.84; and the 4x100 foursome (Carioti, Evans, Small and Leah Thomas) finished 10th in :50.40.
Orange’s girls 4x800 relay (Jillian Barnett, Morgan Browning, Brooke Pulkrabek and Alana Stillion) closed 12th in the finals with a time of 10:07.99; Olentangy’s Brittney Simmons finished 12th in the 100 hurdles, crossing the line in :16.59, closed 15th in the 300 hurdles with an effort of :49.88 and finished tied for seventh in the high jump by clearing 4-10; Big Walnut’s Tyler Fifer was sixth in the long jump with a leap of 21-6 3/4; Thomas missed the cut by a single spot in the 100, finishing ninth with a time of :13.11; Olentangy’s girls 4x200 group (Ganiru Anunike, Marinice Bauman, Alexandra Hubbard and Courtney Simmons) finished 14th in 1:48.46; Big Walnut’s boys 4x200 foursome (Kenny Brown, Grant Corven, Drew Harmon and Gabe Kitchen) missed the cut by one, also, finishing ninth in preliminary action, crossing the line in 1:31.75; Orange’s boys 4x100 team (Orisha Nnani, Trey Pride, Larry Rode and Ross Watkins) finished 11th in :43.99; Olentangy’s McShane missed qualifying in the 400, closing 12th in :51.28; Big Walnut’s Jacob Walaszek and Olentangy’s Claude Mbemba finished eighth and ninth in the discus with respective throws of 138-08 and 132-00; Orange’s Megan Reiter finished sixth in the high jump with a mark of 5-0; and Liberty’s Jordan Waterhouse and Halee Wex closed 11th and 12th in the shot put with respective tosses of 32-10 1/4 and 32-01 3/4.
As a team, Liberty’s boys top the regional leaderboard with 19 points. Orange’s girls are also off to a solid start, currently second among the slew of D-I teams in action.