BENTON RIDGE — This spring, Columbus Grove sophomore Alyssa Ellerbrock has dominated the competition in the 3,200-meter run.
Heading into Saturday’s Liberty-Benton Pat Wagner Memorial Invitational, Ellerbrock had not only defeated her competition, but had done it in convincing fashion.
Saturday’s invite produced the same results.
In the 3,200, Ellerbrock jumped out in the lead and was never challenged, en route to a meet-record time of 11:25.
Ellerbrock’s stellar performance helped lead Columbus Grove to the team title Saturday, edging out Liberty-Benton by one point in the 18-team field.
On the boys side, Liberty-Benton won the team title, while Kalida was runner-up.
“It wasn’t the best weather today,” Ellerbrock said. “So, my goal was just to get the meet record. It’s really a good time for this time of the season. This is the first meet that I’ve run the 3,200 without having (to run) the mile (1,600) before. So, I knew coming in that I could put down a good time, because I wouldn’t be tired from the mile. This (3,200) is probably the event I will go for in districts and regionals. So, not doing the mile first, gives me a little view of where I’m at and how far I can go.
“I really try to get out fast and see how long I can hold it. Going into the last mile, and especially the last lap, I try to see how hard I can go.”
However, Columbus Grove did not put the final stamp on Saturday’s team title, until its 1,600-meter relay finished second to Liberty-Benton, to secure the team title.
Heading into the final event, the 1,600 relay, Columbus Grove was leading Liberty-Benton by three points. All Columbus Grove needed to do in order to win the team title was to finish within one spot of L-B in the 1,600 relay.
Columbus Grove’s 1,600 relay consisted of Lauren Benroth, Carlee McCluer, Abigail Gladwell and Taylor Ellerbrock.
“They did well,” Columbus Grove girls coach Tim Staley said. “About halfway through the meet, I didn’t think we had any chance of winning. Then, the girls came together at the end there and Rylee Sybert decided to coach up our four-by-four (1,600 relay) for us. I told them they just had to be within one place of Liberty-Benton (in 1,600 relay) and we could win. They were able to do that.”
Carlee McCluer had a solid day for Columbus Grove, winning the 100-meter hurdles, and then finishing second in the 300 hurdles. Last season, McCluer was a state-qualifier in both the 100 hurdles and 800 relay.
“We’ve been working really hard at practices,” McCluer said. “All of us are pushing each other and doing everything we can. It’s been a really fun season and I think we’re peaking at the right time – heading into these bigger meets – then on to districts and regionals.”
Most track-and-field athletes look forward to getting on the track to compete.
It’s a safe bet, however, that Kalida’s program appreciates it the most.
Kalida’s track-and-field program, which is in its third year of existence, does a lot of its workouts in the school parking lot.
However, there were no speed bumps for Kalida on Saturday, as the Kalida boys team finished second.
Leading the way for Kalida was junior standout Josh Verhoff.
Verhoff won the 100, 200, and was part of both the winning 800- and 1,600-meter relays. At last year’s Division III state meet, Verhoff placed third in the 200 and was part of the 400 relay that placed sixth.
“When we got here, it was pretty cold,” Verhoff said about Saturday’s invitational. “Our coaches told us to warm up and do the best that we can, and try to pull through. It’s kind of exciting to be out on the track. Anytime we get on the track, it’s always fun for us. We don’t have a track. We practice in the parking lot all the time.”
At the beginning of this season, the 1,600 relay wasn’t a sure thing for Kalida.
“I kind of put this together to see what we can do,” Kalida boys coach Scott Miller said. “We weren’t quite sure. They ran outstanding today. Grant Laudick has been coming on really strong. He ran a good open (400) today.”
Laudick won the 400 Saturday.