COLUMBUS - When Lima Central Catholic's Joel Stolly completed his baseball season this spring, there wasn't much time to rest.
Stolly quickly put away his baseball glove and made his way to the track where he joined in with the 400 meter relay team.
After spending a week of practicing hand-offs and doing speed work with teammates Daniel Lombardo, Alex Kingsberry and Chris Rahrig, the quartet promptly went to the Division III district meet at Minster and recorded a third-place finish with a time of 44.52 seconds, advancing to regionals.
The following week at the D-III regional at Dayton they clocked a season-best time of 43.84, en route to a second-place finish to Delphos St. John's (43.67).
On Friday, the LCC 400 relay continued to improve as they finished with the second-best time in the preliminaries at the OHSAA State Track and Field Meet at Ohio State, clocking another season-best time (43.51). St. John's had the fastest time on Friday in the preliminaries (43.38).
The 400 relay finals are slated for 10:20 a.m. today.
The St. John's 400 relay was made up of Tony Reindel, Collin Etzkorn, Jay Leininger and Cameron Hermiller.
Stolly said the transition from playing shortstop to running the 400 relay, has not been difficult.
"I would come out every once in awhile and practice with the (track) team," Stolly said. "The week before districts, I practiced four days. I've never done this (run track) before. I thought I would come out and try it."
Rahrig said having Stolly's presence on the track has meant a great deal to the team.
"He's meant everything to our team," Rahrig said. "If he wouldn't have come out, we probably wouldn't be here right now."
Stolly, Rahrig and Kingsberry are all seniors. Lombardo, a sophomore, said he is excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this relay.
"I false-started at districts in the 100 (meter dash)," Lombardo said. "I got disqualified ... so, it was nice to be able to run this at state."
BLUFFTON STANDOUTS ARE NO SURPRISE: The Bluffton boys 800 relay (Zach Guagenti, Rico Pena, Jesse Herr and John Guagenti) broke its own state record in Friday's preliminaries, clocking a 1:28.55.
Bluffton's 1,600 relay also qualified for today's finals with the fourth-fastest time of the day in D-III (3:26.17).
John Guagenti had little trouble in recording the best times in both the 200 and 400 preliminaries Friday.
Guagenti clocked a 48.88 in the 400, running into a stiff wind. He later came back and ran 22.60 in the 200.
Stratton recorded the best times in both the 100 (12.51) and 200 (25.64). The Bluffton girls finished second in both the 400 relay (50.19) and 800 (1:44.19) relay preliminaries to advance to today's finals.
Both of the Bluffton relays were made up of Kendra Bassitt, Lindsay Bassitt, Kelsey Goldenetz and Stratton.
Kory Place finished second in the shot put. Place saved his best throw for the final one of his high school career, tossing the shot put 56-2 ¾.
Place said he set high goals coming into the state meet.
"I wanted to finish at least second," Place said. "I really wanted to win, but 60-feet (winning mark) is pretty tough to compete with."
OTTAWA-GLANDORF GIRLS EXCEL IN FIRST DAY: The O-G girls 3,200 relay (Emily Heitmeyer, Lyndsey Barlage, Dana Lanwehr and Allison Schroeder) finished fourth (9:35.07) in the finals Friday.
Heitmeyer, a senior, said it was bittersweet for her and her teammates.
"It probably wasn't our best race ever, but to beat Defiance (fifth, 9:36.31) was great," she said.
The O-G girls 1,600 relay finished third (4:03.68) in Friday's Division II preliminaries.
Schroeder, the defending state champion in the 300 hurdles, recorded the second-fastest time (46.05) in the preliminaries.
ST. JOHN'S HERMILLER LOOKING STRONG: The defending D-III state champion in the 100, Cameron Hermiller, looked very strong in Friday's preliminaries, clocking the fastest time in the preliminaries (11.32) into the wind.
SCHNELLE SECOND IN HIGH JUMP: New Bremen's Scott Schnelle was second in the D-III high jump Friday with a personal best 6-7.
Teammate Bryce Bergman recorded the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 110 hurdles (39.62).
ST. JOHN'S GIRLS 400 RELAY QUALIFIES: The St. John's girls 400 relay (Lindsey Looser, Lauren Burgei, Dana Martin and Allison Reindel) finished with the fourth-best time (50.03) in Friday's preliminaries.
COLUMBUS GROVE GIRLS TO FINALS: Columbus Grove's 800 relay (Kimberly Selhorst, Paige Hefner, Ella Diller and Jaimie Lewis) qualified for today's finals with a seventh-place finish (1:46.07).
OTTOVILLE GIRLS 3,200 RELAY IS SIXTH: Ottoville's 3,200 relay (Molly Maag, Kari Beining, Melissa Turnwald and Shayla Siefker) finished sixth (9:48.70).
MINSTER'S 3,200 FINISHES FOURTH: Minster's 3,200 relay (Lei Bornhorst, Jessica Albers, Maria Dahlinghaus and Katie Dahlinghaus) was fourth on Friday (9:41.12).
BEVINGTON SHINES ON FRIDAY: Parkway's Marian Bevington advanced to today's finals in the 100 hurdles. She also was third in both the high jump (5-4) and long jump (16-11 ½).
GROTHOUSE SCORES IN POLE VAULT: Delphos St. John's Katie Grothouse finished sixth (10-4) in the D-III pole vault on Friday.