COLUMBUS — Most track athletes struggle to make it to the state meet in one event.
There are some, however, who are talented enough to make it to Columbus in multiple events.
Van Wert senior Jared Fleming, last year’s Division II state champion in the 800-meter run, was at this year’s state meet in four events. Along with the 800, Fleming qualified for the state tournament in the 1,600-meter run, 3,200-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay.
On Saturday, the Kent State-bound Fleming had a tough challenge in front of him.
At 1:35 p.m. Fleming was to compete in the 1,600 and go up against the likes of Versailles’ standout Sam Prakel, who was the defending state champion in the 1,600.
Then, less than an hour later, Fleming was to compete in the 800, an event Prakel was slated for as well.
Fleming decided to go for the double.
In the 1,600, it became a three-man battle as Prakel, Fleming and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Mick Iacofano came down the stretch in a group. Prakel was able to come away with the victory in a stellar time of 4 minutes, 14 seconds. Fleming was second in a personal-best and school-record time of 4:15.29, while Iacofano was third in 4:15.32.
In the 800, with the temperature rising, Fleming struggled, finishing in the back of the pack. Prakel ran away with the title in a time of 1:52.32.
However, Fleming bounced back later to anchor his 1,600 relay team as the Cougars finished sixth in 3:23.31. Joining Fleming in the 1,600 relay were Seth Kopp, Nick Krugh and Quincey Salcido.
“I’ve done the double before, but never like this,” Fleming said. “Running the 1,600 at state is a whole different type of race in itself. Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed of not getting a state championship in the 800. But, after talking to my coaches, it was all about what kind of legacy do I want to leave at Van Wert.
“I’ve been able to accomplish everything I wanted here at Van Wert. I’ve gone to state every year in cross country and I’ve got a state title. I’ve had some great coaches that have helped me along the way. And I never once put on a jersey without believing that I could win the race.”
As a team, Van Wert finished 10th in Division II.
Roberts makes podium
Shawnee junior Asher Roberts finished eighth in Saturday’s finals of the Division I 400 in 56.94.
“I know it wasn’t my best race and I’m a little disappointed,” she said. “I think I tried to strategize it more than I usually do. I usually just get out there and run.”
Last season, Roberts ran a 56.70 and finished fifth. Roberts is determined to get back to the state meet again next year.
“I know what I got to do,” she said.
Kanney defends title
Coldwater sophomore Sarah Kanney defended her title in the 1,600 on Saturday. Kanney got out quick, took the lead and ran away with the victory in 4:55.26. Later on, Kanney came back to finish third in the 800, finishing in 2:12.75.
“I’m used to doing the 3,200,” Kanney said. “Our team is so strong in the distance. So, this year I’m trying the 800. I really don’t mind running back-to-back. It’s the speed that I need to work on.”
On Friday, Kanney teamed up with Lauren Seas, Christina Seas and Kiersten Siefring to notch a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 relay (9:33.30). As a team, Coldwater finished sixth in Division II.
More area state placers
— Columbus Grove senior Jake Graham finally got the school record that he’s been chasing. On Saturday in the Division III 3,200, Graham clocked a time of 9:29.84, en route to a fifth-place finish.
— Elida’s 1,600 relay of Brandon Stinson, Nick Pauff, Clark Etzler and Quentin Poling was eighth in 3:23.44 in the Division II boys race.
— Defiance senior Abel Flores closed out his high school career with a Division II state title in the 3,200 on Saturday. Flores won in 9:29.21.
— In the Division II girls competition: Bath’s Jocelyn Ayers was sixth in 200 (25.52); Van Wert’s Amanda Clay was ninth in the 400 (58.96); Coldwater’s Christina Seas was fourth in the 3,200 (11:19.35); Coldwater’s Jill Kanney was eighth in the 3,200 (11:26.78); Celina’s Michaela Wenning was sixth in 300 hurdles (45.74); Kenton’s 400, 800 and 1,600 relays (Terrill Webb, Audrey Miller, Brooke Bostelman and Kaily Whitaker ) finished sixth, seventh and third, respectively; Ottawa-Glandorf’s 800 relay (Danielle Ellerbrock, Michelle Maag, Elissa Ellerbrock and Madison Stechschulte) placed eighth in 800 relay (1:43.70); O-G’s Torie Allgire finished tied for fourth in the Division II pole vault (10-6); Celina’s Bekah Carr finished second in the D-II long jump (17-6 ¼) and tied for fourth in the D-II pole vault (10-6); Kenton’s Terrill Webb tied for fourth in the D-II pole vault (10-6) and St. Marys’ Kelly Heitkamp finished seventh in the D-II pole vault (10-6).
— In the Division III boys competition: Bluffton’s Noah Stratton finished seventh in the 400 (50.65); Minster’s Korey Schultz finished fifth in the 400 (49.75); Ada’s Matthew Wilcox was ninth in the 400 (51.00); St. Henry’s Jacob Rindler was eighth in the 800 (1:56.82); Minster’s Dominic Slonkosky was fifth in the 1,600 (4:20.95); Delphos Jefferson’s Cody Biglow was eighth in 110 hurdles (15.27); Columbus Grove’s Derek Rieman finished eighth in 300 hurdles (40.44); Waynesfield-Goshen’s 400 relay (Daniel Fridley, Christian Scholta, Luke Hall and James Elliot) finished eighth (44.31); Minster’s 800 relay (Troy Kaufman, Eli Wolf, Paul Dues and Korey Schultz) was third (1:29.81); Ada’s 800 relay (Russel Gray, Matthew Wilcox, Kellen Decker and Micah Roberson) finished seventh (1:30.73); Minster’s 1,600 relay (Kauffman, Dues, Alan Tebbe and Schultz) were second (3:20.09); Allen East’s 1,600 relay (Evan Thomas, Logan Rex, Trey Gossard and Matt Shuey) were seventh (3:24.60).
In the Division III girls competition: Spencerville’s Kaci Mulholland placed fifth in the 400 (57.90); Columbus Grove’s Sydney McClure eighth in 100 hurdles (15.95); Continental’s Paige Orday came in fifth in 300 hurdles (45.90); Minster’s Olivia Enneking finished eighth in 300 hurdles (46.74); Columbus Grove’s 400 relay (Raiya Flores, Jessi Smith, Julia Wynn) finished eighth (50.81); Fort Jennings’ 800 relay (Emily Grone, Kaitlin Stechschulte, Lori Bruskotter and Macy Schroeder) finished fifth (1:46.28); Minster’s 1,600 relay (Hannah Barga, Julia Slonkosky, Natalie Fausey and Enneking) finished second (3:59.69); Fort Jennings’ 1,600 relay (Stechschulte, Bruskotter, Maag and Schroeder) was sixth (4:03.69); Marion Local’s 1,600 relay (Olivia Hemmelgarn, Gina Kramer, Rose Berning and Allie Thobe) was seventh (4:04.09).