CELINA — Every track-and-field team has its strengths and weaknesses.
Being able to sew up those weaker areas and score in each event is the key.
The Elida girls scored in 12 events at Saturday’s Celina Invitational, en route to the team title over host Celina, 130-113. Ottawa-Glandorf (95) finished third, while Defiance (81.50) rounded out the top four teams in the seven-team field.
On the boys side, Celina defeated second-place Elida, 174.50-124.50. Defiance (123) was a close third, while O-G (50) came in fourth.
“We were strong in the sprints, relays, jumps, and with our vaulters,” Elida girls coach Andy Etzkorn said. “But, we’ve been strong in those areas for the past few years. The biggest difference today was our hurdlers.
“We’ve got them (the hurdlers) to the point where they can be really competitive. We’re really close on the throws and distance, but we’re not quite there yet. We’re becoming a deeper team, a more rounded team, the last couple years.”
In the 100-meter dash, Elida’s Kylie Lewis finished second to St. Marys’ Jordan Egbert. Egbert won in 13.23 seconds, while Lewis crossed the finish line in 13.34, in very windy and cold weather conditions Saturday.
In the 200, Elida went one-two, as Jaeanna Hughes won in 28.54 and Lewis was a close second (28.70).
Elida’s 400-meter relay (Jency Jenkins, Jasmine Jones, Baylie Moening and Lewis - 53.37 seconds) and 800 relay (Jenkins, Amiah Jones, Hughes and Lewis – 1:54.14) both took first on Saturday.
In the 100 hurdles, Elida’s Jacqueline Nichols (17.31) finished second to Bath’s Caitlynn Renner (17.28). It was the same result in the 300 hurdles, as Renner won (52.19) and Nichols was second (53.18).
Saturday’s high winds wreaked havoc on the athletes’ times and marks.
“The times weren’t that impressive,” Etzkorn said. “The heights on jumps weren’t that great, but we survived the elements.”
Celina senior Lauren Jackson led her team Saturday, winning both the 800 (2:29.08) and 1,600 (5:34.42). Jackson also anchored both the winning 1,600 – and 3,200-meter relays.
“It’s pretty tough, actually,” Jackson said in reference to competing in four events. “I was really excited. It was the first meet (of the season), so there were a lot of nerves; and I think that kind of helped, actually.”
Jackson was able to pull off the tough 800/1,600 double Saturday, despite the unfavorable weather conditions.
“I didn’t run both of them (800 and 1,600) at times last year,” Jackson said. “But, I’m hoping to run a lot more this year.”
Last season, Jackson placed fifth at regionals in the 800 and also was part of the 3,200 relay that finished seventh at regionals. Jackson will be heading to Bowling Green State University next school year to compete.
On the boy’s side, Elida senior Xavier Gilkey won both the 110 hurdles (15.75) and 300 hurdles (43.05). Gilkey also anchored the winning 800 relay (Dravyn Jones, Nazareus Wright, Noah Paris – 1:35.37) for the Bulldogs.
“I did my best,” Gilkey said. “It was very windy. I tried to push myself, so I could come out with the win. I wasn’t worrying about the times. I just tried to place as high as I could.”
Last season, Gilkey won both hurdle events at the Western Buckeye League Championships. He went on to finish fifth at the Division I regionals in the 300 hurdles, just missing a trip to the state meet by one spot.
“I’m trying to go to state in both hurdles this year,” Gilkey said with a grin.
The Celina boys scored an impressive 44 points in the two throwing events on Saturday. Saturday’s invite permitted three athletes per event, per team, instead of the standard two athletes per event. Celina’s Tyler Ross won both the shot put (51 feet, 10 ¾ inches) and discus (148-11).
The Defiance boys were stellar in the distance events. Defiance scored 46 points total, between the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. Bryce Mendenhall won the 1,600 (4:49.06), while teammate Mhalicki Bronson won the 3,200 (10:27).
The Lima Senior girls had the best area performance Saturday, finishing second to Notre Dame Academy, 120-146. Wapakoneta (77) placed third in the 15-team field at Spartan Stadium.
The Wapakoneta boys squad tied for second with Withrow on Saturday with 70 points. Sandusky won the team title with 115 points. Lima Senior finished eighth in the final team standings for the boys.
Lima Senior’s Suerethia Henderson won both the 100 (12.80) and 200 (27.73). She also was part of the winning 400 relay (Deji’ona Shurelds-Simpson, Ka’Niyah Stevens and Corion McDonald-Gordon – 52.17). Teammate Briana Wright won the discus (110-10).
Wapakoneta’s Paige Schneider won the 1,600 (5:57.44), while teammate Emma Kentner won the 800 (2:31.75).
On the boys side, Wapakoneta’s Ryan Thompson won the 110 hurdles (17.78). Grant Turner won the discus (115-09). Chris Reichenbach won the pole vault with a height of 11-6 and Justin Walker won the triple jump (33-1) for Wapakoneta.
VERSAILLES — Marion Local finished second in the Orange Division and the host Tigers were runners-up in the Black Division.
Waynesfield-Goshen’s Gabriel James won the 100, 200 and long jump and W-G’s Brandon James won the 110 and 300 hurdles in the Orange Division. Marion Local’s John Tangeman (400) and Alex Klosterman (high jump), Minster’s Luke Barga (3,200) and W-G’s Brock Waitman (discus) also won individual events.
Minster won the 800 relay and Marion Local was first in the 400 relay.
Fort Recovery’s Robby LeFevre won the Black Division 100 and 200.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.