COLUMBUS ‚?? History was made at this year‚??s state track and field meet at Ohio State.
This year, the Board of Directors of the Ohio High School Athletic Association approved the addition of four wheelchair races to the state meet.
This weekend, two area wheelchair athletes competed in the inaugural event at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Ada junior Danny Klingler competed in both the 100- and 400-meter dashes. Van Wert junior Tyler Priest competed in the shot put.
Klingler finished fourth in the 100 (19.65 seconds) and fifth in the 400 (1:21.75). Westland‚??s Tim Bailey won the 100 (17.28), while Wooster‚??s Casey Followay won the 400 (1:01.93).
Priest came away with a sixth-place finish in the shot put with a personal-best mark of 11 feet, 5 ¬Ĺ inches. Priest improved on his previous best of 9-10. Zach Hanf from Sheridan won the shot put (19-5 ¬ĺ).
Klingler was born with spina bifida and has played basketball for years. Priest was a three-sport athlete before a 2008 farm accident and an auto accident, two years later, caused life-changing injuries.
There were a total of 12 wheelchair athletes who competed at this year‚??s state meet.
‚??The competition was amazing,‚?Ě Klingler said. ‚??I know some of the people that I competed against. It was nice to see some familiar faces down here. It‚??s a privilege being down here for the first time that they allowed this at the state meet.‚?Ě
Klingler said he won‚??t be satisfied at just competing at next year‚??s state meet.
‚??I will probably train through this summer,‚?Ě Klingler said. ‚??There are a few events down in North Carolina that I was invited to. So, I might be able to hit those up this summer.‚?Ě
For Priest, it‚??s been an uphill battle for the past couple months.
‚??He was hospitalized and got out on April 12th,‚?Ě Tyler‚??s father, Bob Priest said. ‚??So we didn‚??t even start throwing until April 15th. He started out right around 6 1/2 feet. So in a little over a month he‚??s nearly doubled that. He‚??s made some progress.‚?Ě
‚??There were a lot of kids that threw PRs today. He thought if he could throw 11 feet that he would climb up (the standings) a little bit. Guys who were coming in throwing 11 (feet) were throwing 13, 14, 15 (feet). So, it was pretty competitive today.‚?Ě
When asked about being nervous about competing in his first state meet, Tyler‚??s response was right to the point; ‚??No,‚?Ě he said with a big grin.