LIMA — One of the toughest challenges for an athlete or coach is avoiding the temptation of looking ahead.
Since the first day of track practice in March, Lima Central Catholic track coach Nathan Garlock has tried to keep things in perspective.
But, it hasn’t been easy to hide the obvious.
This season, the LCC boys team returned a core of athletes who made an impact at last year’s Division III state track and field meet. And all season long, the Thunderbirds have been running away from its opponents.
Both the 400-meter relay and 800-meter relay for LCC are two of the best in the state in Division III.
At last week’s regional meet at Piqua, LCC’s two relays took first place. The 400 relay won in 43.12 seconds, while the 800 relay won in a regional-record time of 1:29.49.
Both relays are comprised of the same four athletes — freshman Nick Taflinger and juniors Darius West, Jamir Coleman and Mykale Rogers.
Rogers, the defending state champion in the long jump, will long jump and run the 200 in Columbus. Coleman will also long jump at the state meet.
At Piqua, Rogers won the long jump (22-8 ¾) and Coleman finished third (22-1). In the 200, Rogers won in 22.52, while West was a close second in 22.79. West won the 100 at Piqua in 11.05.
As a team, LCC finished second at the regional meet to a very strong Minster squad, 81.50-71.
“We’re not going to lie. …It’s been exciting,” Garlock said. “We came into the year and I told them exactly how it looked, what we could do and what was waiting at the end of the season, if we lived up to our abilities. And they exceeded it.
“We weren’t sure if we would have a strong 4-by-2 (800 relay). We thought we would be strong in the 100, 200 and long jump, and of course the 4-by-1 (400 relay). With the 4-by-2 not even qualifying for state last year, we weren’t really sure where we would be this year with that. But, they’ve been a pleasant surprise.”
One of the most pleasant surprises for coach Garlock has been West, who had never ran track until this season.
West, who is being highly-recruited to play college football at the NCAA Division I level, was constantly being persuaded by his teammates to come out for track.
“They were begging me to run,” West said with a smile. “Last year, I didn’t want to because I had to handle some football stuff (school visits, camps). This year, the football stuff has kind of slowed down. I thought about it and decided to run. It’s great to be a part of a team like this, especially when it’s family; and also with the freshman Nick Taflinger, who I am pretty good friends with. It’s been a great season.”
Coleman, Rogers and West are cousins.
West is still trying to tweak some of his mechanics before this weekend’s state meet.
“Before I started (doing track), the hand-offs always seemed nerve-wracking,” West said. “But when I started doing it, it wasn’t all that tough. But, I still have to do a lot of block work. I’m always like the last one out of the blocks and I have to catch everybody. But, I’m going to work on it the rest of the week and try to get better at it.”
When it comes to track and field, Rogers is no stranger to being in the spotlight. Last season as a sophomore, Rogers won the long jump and finished fourth in the 200 (22.89) at the state meet.
Last season, the 400 relay finished third at the state meet in 43.25. Rogers and Coleman are two returners from that relay. Coleman also finished seventh in the long jump at last year’s state meet (21-1/2).
Rogers is confident his team will fare well in Columbus this weekend.
“We really don’t have to say much.” Rogers said. “We all know what we have to do. Once we step onto the track, we know we have to take care of business. I’ll hold up my end and they’ll hold up theirs.”
Taflinger, the youngest member of the relays, didn’t envision himself at the beginning of the season of being an integral part of the relays.
“It means a lot,” Taflinger said. “I didn’t think I would be in the relays at first, but there were a couple injuries. Coach told me that I would have to step up big. I’ve just done my part and I’m glad to be with my teammates.”
Coleman has been a mainstay on the LCC relays since last season.
“We knew when Darius came out that we had it (a chance for a state title), but nothing is guaranteed,” Coleman said. “We want to come into next season as the (defending) Division III state champs.”
Added Rogers, “I already had a picture in my head where we would end up. Now, we just need to go take care of business.
— Van Wert senior Jared Fleming is looking to defend his Division II state title in the 800 meters. At this past week’s regional meet at Lexington, Fleming broke his own school record in the 800 when he won the regional race in 1:53.88.
Fleming also will be competing in the 1,600, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay for the Cougars. Fleming also won the 1,600 at Lexington, clocking a time of 4:24.04.
— Lexis Davis qualified for the Division III state meet with a second-place finish in the high jump (5-3) this past weekend at the regional meet at Piqua.
Davis’ jumps coach is Shaun Guice, a former Lima Senior standout who went on to become a seven-time Big Ten Champion in the high jump at Purdue.
— The Ottawa-Glandorf girls track team will be well-represented at the Division II state meet. The Titans will have athletes in six events.
Madison Stechschulte will be competing in the 100, 200 and 800 relay.
At the Division II regional meet at Lexington, Stechschulte was third in the 100 (12.44) and fourth in the 200 (25.55).
Joining Stechschulte on the 800 relay are Danielle Ellerbrock, Elissa Ellerbrock and Michelle Maag. At Lexington, O-G’s 800 relay finished second in 1:44.81.
Torie Allgire will be competing in the pole vault at the state meet for the Titans. At Lexington, Allgire tied for second place at 10 feet, 4 inches.
Elissa Ellerbrock will be running the 800 and Maag will also long jump for the Titans. At Lexington, Ellerbrock was third in the 800 (2:21.07), while Maag finished fourth in the long jump (16-6 ¼).
— The Minster boys track team will have 12 athletes involved in eight different events at the Division III state meet.
At the regional meet at Piqua, the Wildcats qualified all four relay teams (400 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay).
The 400 relay is comprised of Josh Spieles, Jacob Stechschulte, Anthony Huelsman and Eli Wolf. The 800 relay is made up of Paul Dues, Troy Kauffman, Korey Schultz and Wolf.
Dues, Kauffman, Schultz and Alan Tebbe make up the 1,600 relay. The 3,200 relay is made up of Andy Albers, Eric Daulinghaus, Andrew Fausey and Dominic Slonkosky.
Slonkosky also will compete in the 1,600 run. Schultz will be in the 400. Huelsman and Tebbe also will compete in the pole vault for Minster.
OHSAA State Track and Field Championships
Friday-Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, Ohio State University
Asher Roberts: Jr., 400-meter run
Jocelyn Ayers: Jr., 100-, 200-dash
Bekah Carr: Soph., 1,600 relay, long jump, pole vault
Kendra Fennig: Jr., 1,600 relay
Gina Strable: Jr., 1,600 relay
Michaela Wenning: Jr., 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 1,600 relay, high jump
Jill Kanney: Sr., 3,200
Sarah Kanney: Soph., 3,200 relay, 800, 1,600
Christina Seas: Jr., 3,200 relay, 32,00
Lauren Seas: Soph., 3,200 relay
Kiersten Siefring: Soph., 3,200 relay
Samantha Murray: Jr., 800
Brooke Bostelman: Jr., 400 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Audrey Miller: Sr., 400 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Terrill Webb: Sr., 400 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay, pole vault
Kaily Whitaker: Sr., 400 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Torie Allgire: Sr., pole vault
Danielle Ellerbrock: Fr., 800 relay
Elissa Ellerbrock: Soph., 800 relay, 800
Michelle Maag: Jr., 800 relay, long jump
Madison Stechschulte: Soph., 100, 200, 800 relay
Kelly Heitkamp: Sr., pole vault
Amanda Clay: Jr., 400
Alexis Dowdy: Soph., shot put
Megan Hayzlett: Sr., high jump
Brittney Archer: Jr., 100, 200
Karli Leugers: Sr., high jump
Raiya Flores: Fr., 400 relay
Sydney McClure: Soph, 100 hurdles, 400 relay
Jessi Smith: Sr., 400 relay
Megan Verhoff: Jr., discus
Julia Wynn: Jr., 400 relay
Paige Ordway: Jr., 300 hurdles
Lori Bruskotter: Sr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Emily Grone: Jr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Macy Schroeder: Sr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Kaitlin Stechschulte: Sr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Nicole Fogt: Fr., discus
Holly Averesch: Soph., discus, shot put
Rose Berning: Fr., 1,600 relay
Olivia Hemmelgarn: Jr., 1,600 relay, pole vault
Gina Kramer: Jr., 1,600, high jump
Allie Thobe: Soph., 1,600 relay, long jump
Gabrielle Barga: Soph., 1,600 relay
Kaci Bornhorst: Fr., 3,200 relay, 3,200
Katherine Burke: Fr., 3,200 relay
Olivia Enneking: Jr., 300 hurdles, 1,600 relay
Natalie Fausey: Sr., 3,200 relay, 1,600, 1,600 relay
Julia Slonkosky: Fr., 3,200 relay, 800, 1,600 relay
Tammy Wannemacher: Sr., shot put
Lexis Davis: Jr., high jump
Schylar Miller: Soph., pole vault
Kacie Mulholland: Soph., 400
Abel Flores: Sr., 3,200 relay, 3,200
Ben Rath: Sr., 1,600, 3,200 relay
Alex Schrag: Jr., 3,200 relay
Nate Wichman: Jr., 3,200 relay
Clark Etzler: Soph., 1,600 relay
Nick Pauff: Sr., 1,600 relay
Quentin Poling: Sr., 1,600 relay
Brandon Stinson: Sr., 1,600 relay
Terrance Branson: Jr., 800 relay
Jared Fleming: Sr., 800, 1,600, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay
Connor Holliday: Soph., 3,200 relay
Seth Kopp: Jr., 3,200 relay, 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Nick Krugh: Soph., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Kevon Pierce: Sr., 800 relay
Quincey Salcido: Soph., 1,600 relay
Kase Schalois: Sr., 3,200 relay
Kellen Decker: Sr., 800 relay
Russel Gray: Sr., 800 relay
Micah Roberson: Sr., 800 relay
Matthew Wilcox: Jr., 400, 800 relay
Trey Gossard: Sr., 1,600 relay
Logan Rex: Jr., 1,600 relay
Matt Shuey: Jr., 1,600 relay
Evan Thomas: Jr., 1,600 relay
Robert Demellweek: Jr., 1,600 relay
Andrew Hoff: Jr., 1,600 relay
Noah Stratton: Jr., 400, 1,600 relay
Robbie Stratton: Soph., 1,600 relay
Jake Kramer: Sr., shot put
Dan Seas: Fr., 3,200
Alex Giesege: Fr., 3,200 relay
Jake Graham: Sr., 3,200, 3,200 relay
Collin Grothaus: Sr., 300 hurdles, pole vault
Colton Grothaus: Soph., 3,200 relay
Derek Rieman: Sr., 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles
Trevor Schroeder: Sr., shot put
Alex Shafer: Sr., 3,200 relay
Dakota Vogt: Sr., discus
Mycah Grandstaff: Soph., 3,200
Isaiah Kline: Fr., 400
Cody Biglow: Sr., 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles
Delphos St. John’s
Will Buettner: Sr., 400 relay
Spencer Ginter: Jr., shot put
Luke MacLennan: Jr., 400 relay
Nick Martz: Soph., 400 relay
Ben Youngpeter: Sr., 400 relay
Derek Steffan: Sr., high jump, long jump
Lima Central Catholic
Jamir Coleman: Jr., long jump, 400 relay, 800 relay
Mykale Rogers: Jr., long jump, 200, 400 relay, 800 relay
Nick Taflinger: Fr., 400 relay, 800 relay
Darius West: Jr., 100, 200, 400 relay, 800 relay
Ben Bilimek: Jr., 3,200 relay
Kade Carey: Sr., 3,200 relay
Jeff Jacomet: Sr., 3,200 relay
Bayley Tow: Soph., 1,600, 3,200 relay
Andy Albers: Jr., 3,200 relay
Eric Dahlinghaus: Sr., 3,200, 3,200 relay
Paul Dues: Jr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Andrew Fausey: Soph., 3,200 relay
Anthony Huelsman: Jr., 400 relay, pole vault
Troy Kauffman: Sr., 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Korey Schultz: Sr., 400, 800 relay, 1,600 relay
Dominic Slonkosky: Jr., 1,600, 3,200 relay
Josh Spieles: Sr., 400 relay
Jacob Stechschulte: Fr., 400 relay
Alan Tebbe: Sr., 1,600 relay, pole vault
Eli Wolf: Soph., 400 relay, 800 relay
Andrew Mackie: Sr., 400, high jump
Anthony Eickholt: Sr., pole vault
Anthony Schuh: Jr., 110 hurdles
Lucas Shumate: Sr., discus
Jacob Rindler: Sr., 800
James Elliot: Soph., 400 relay
Daniel Fridley: Soph., 400 relay
Luke Hall: Soph., 400 relay
Christian Scholta: Jr., 400 relay
Danny Klinger: Jr., 100, 400
Robert Tyler Priest: Jr., shot put