BATH TOWNSHIP — Winning a state title is the pinnacle for any high school track and field athlete.
Most athletes have that one event they specialize in. It’s the one event they know they have a chance of going far in.
But for Van Wert’s Jared Fleming, it’s not necessarily just one event.
At last year’s Division II state meet, Fleming won the title in the 800 meters.
Heading into the state meet, Fleming had an opportunity to compete in two individual events — the 800 and 1,600. He also was part of the 3,200-meter relay.
At the state meet, Fleming opted not to run the 1,600 — which was his favorite event — and to focus on the 800.
The strategy paid off for Fleming as he outkicked the pack down the stretch and won the state title in the 800.
At Friday’s Ehresman Invitational, Fleming, a senior, displayed his versatility and competed in the 400 meters and 3,200 relay. Next week, Fleming will compete in the Mehock Relays at Ashland University. He will compete in the featured event, the mile.
At Friday’s Ehresman Invitational, Ottawa-Glandorf notched both the girls and boys team titles.
On the boys side, O-G won with 156 points, while second-place Lima Central Catholic scored 108. For the girls, O-G more than doubled-up second-place Shawnee, 164-81. There were nine schools at the invite.
For Fleming, to compete at the Mehock Relays is quite an honor. All the participants are specially invited to compete.
“It should be a really good experience,” said Fleming, who will compete at Kent State next year. “But I’ll miss the O-G meet (the same day). That’s kind of a bummer that I won’t be with my team.
“This is going to be a little bit different because it’s going to be an actual mile, and not a 1,600. It’s going to be great competition.”
At the Ehresman Invite, Fleming mixed up his events and did not compete in the 800. Instead, he ran the 400.
“I never ran a 400 before,” Fleming said with a smile. “I mentioned to my coach that I wanted to go for a 400 time and today was an opportunity to do it. But, with the weather and wind, the time wasn’t that great.”
Fleming finished second in the 400 in a time of 52.75 seconds. Bluffton’s Noah Stratton won in 52.64.
“My primary focus (this season) is on the 800,” Fleming said. “I know I’m going to have to work really hard to repeat. I’m going to try to double at state.
“But, I’m not sure if it’s going to be the 800, 1,600, 3,200 or four-by-eight (3,200 relay). I’m hoping to get down there in as many events as I can.”
Van Wert distance coach and head cross country coach Brendon Moody said next weekend’s meet at Ashland University will be a good gauge for Fleming.
“I believe there were like 10 guys invited to run the mile,” Moody said. “They come from all over. So this is pretty special.”
The O-G boys were balanced at the Ehresman Invite.
In the distance events, O-G’s Matias Trampe-Kindt took first in both the 1,600 (4:45.56) and 3,200 (10:24.82). In both races, Trampe-Kindt took the lead early and was never seriously challenged.
“After cross country this year, I felt like I was in a lot better shape,” Trampe-Kindt said. “But I’m not really used to the double running because last year I didn’t run the 2-mile. I just ran the 1,600. But I think my endurance is a lot better than it was last year.”
The O-G girls were strong in the relays, winning the 3,200, 400 and 800 relays. They finished second to Shawnee in the 1,600 relay.
LCC’s Sydney Mohler took first in both the 1,600 (5:48.17) and 3,200 (12:32.69).
The LCC boys were solid in the relays, winning both the 400 relay and 800 relay.
In the long jump, LCC went one-two, as Mykale Rogers — last year’s Division III state champion — and teammate Jamir Coleman nabbed the top two spots.
Bath’s Jocelyn Ayers won both the 100 and 200.