TIFFIN ‚?? The Columbus Grove boys track and field team came into this week‚??s Division III regional meet at Tiffin with a lot of momentum.
The Bulldogs won the Putnam County League title, the Northwest Conference title and then last week, notched the district title.
Columbus Grove knew the competition this week at Tiffin would be even tougher.
Liberty-Benton gave Grove all it could handle, but the Bulldogs prevailed, defeating L-B 75-72 to win the regional crown. Tinora was a distant third (43), while Fairview and Elmwood tied for fourth (41). There were 33 schools represented at Tiffin.
On the girls side, Van Buren won the team title, outscoring second-place Gibsonburg 53-46. Toledo Christian was a close third (45), while Archbold was fourth (35). Columbus Grove had the best local showing, finishing ninth (24).
The top four placers in each event at Tiffin advance to next weekend‚??s state meet at Ohio State.
It was a tight battle throughout both days, between L-B and Columbus Grove. On Friday, the difference came down to the 3,200-meter run. Grove finished first and fifth, while L-B had one runner score in the second-to-last event of the meet.
In the 3,200, Columbus Grove‚??s Jake Graham broke away from the field after the first two laps to win in 9 minutes, 48.22 seconds. Teammate Alex Shafer looked to be in contention for a top-four finish for the majority of the race. In the final lap, Shafer lost a spot, but hung on for a solid fifth-place finish in 10:07.97.
Despite winning, Graham was not pleased at his time. His personal-best is 9:39.
‚??I‚??m disappointed because I pretty much have done it (run alone) all year,‚?Ě Graham said. ‚??I really don‚??t have an excuse to not at least get close to my PR.
‚??I was right on, through my first mile at 4:45. (Then) I got a cramp in my stomach with three laps left. ‚?ĽI just started to tighten up.‚?Ě
Columbus Grove also scored well in the hurdles on Friday. In the 110-meter hurdles, Derek Riemen finished second in 14.96 seconds. In the 300 hurdles, Rieman finished second (40.21), while teammate Collin Grothaus came in third (40.35).
On Wednesday, Grothaus won the pole vault with a height of 15 feet.
On Friday, Grove got some valuable points in the shot put, as Trevor Schroeder placed fourth with a mark of 52-2 ¬ĺ inches.
‚??I knew we could win it on paper, but things can happen,‚?Ě Columbus Grove boys coach Chris Grothaus said. ‚??I know the quality of program they (Liberty-Benton) have. So, we knew it was going to be close and their kids performed. I give them a lot of credit. The bottom line is that my seniors led the way and got us off to a good start in the field events. It was a team effort and that‚??s what is nice; that many kids (are) being a part of it.‚?Ě
Complete results will be in Sunday‚??s Lima News sports section.