COLUMBUS — It couldn’t have ended much better for Ottoville senior Brendan Siefker.
Throughout his high school career, Siefker has always tackled the unenviable tri-fecta – the 1,600-, 800- and 3,200-meter runs.
Heading into this weekend’s Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Track and Field Championships at Ohio State, Siefker toyed with the idea of dropping one of the three events.
That didn’t happen.
Siefker started Saturday by winning the Division III state title in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 14.30 seconds), and then followed that up with a fifth-place finish in the 800 (1:56.86) and a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 (9:35.56). Siefker also won the state title last year in the 1,600.
“I think after last year, I kind of learned my lesson,” Siefker said. “I realized doing all three (events) at state is pretty tough. So, I really emphasized strength training in the offseason. I tried to build up strength, and I think I was a lot stronger this year.
“I think in the meets during the year, I was planning for this. I wanted to run as many races as I could, as fast as I could, so I could get used to the feeling of what it was going to feel like, when you had to bring your best (effort) to every race. I felt like, mentally, I was more prepared. And physically, I was definitely more prepared today in the 800 – to go out there and run a good time.”
In the 1,600, Siefker led from start to finish. Smithville senior Lucas Clark finished a close second (4:15.65). Clark’s teammate Justin McKeal was a close third (4:16.05).
Heading into Saturday’s 1,600, Siefker thought that Colonel Crawford senior Chad Johnson would be competing. However, Johnson – who later on Saturday would easily win the 3,200 – scratched the 1,600 in order to come in fresh for the 3,200. In Saturday’s 3,200, Johnson broke the Division III state record, winning in 9:05.43.
Johnson won the Division III state title in cross country the past two seasons. Siefker was runner-up to Johnson those two years.
“In the 1,600, I was planning on racing Johnson,” Siefker said. “I wasn’t sure if he was going to run the mile and the 2-mile, or just the 2 (-mile). So, all week I was preparing to run against him, and focusing on what kind of time it would take. Then, he ended up not running today. So, at the last minute I kind of had to re-adjust my strategy. I kind of ran it like I’ve been running it all year, and like I ran last year down at state. (I wanted) to go out with a hard first lap. I think after the first eight (800 meters) we were where we were supposed to be at (2:05.21), for the state record (4:11.72, D-III state meet record). The last lap, I kind of slowed up a little bit and ended up a little further off than I wanted to be. But, I’m not disappointed at all. It was a good race. The competition really showed up today. I couldn’t have asked for a better field of guys to run against. And overall, I’m just really happy with another state championship.”
Siefker did not hold back in the 800, which started less than an hour later. He stayed close throughout and finished strong enough to grab the fifth spot.
Then, less than 45 minutes later, Siefker stepped back on the track for the 3,200.
“I was a little worried after the eight (800) – about bouncing back in the 3,200,” Siefker said. “But, that ended up going well too. I got in with a pack of guys and tucked in. I liked the pace they were running. They pulled away from me a little bit in the last mile, but I knew where I was sitting. I was comfortable where I was at. I thought I would just stay there and see what I could do at the end. Coming in, I wasn’t sure what I had left. But, I’m happy at the way I ran.”
Siefker said he is used to competing in three or even four events throughout the season. Along with the three events he competed in at the state meet, Siefker also was on the 3,200-meter relay during the regular season.
“We really don’t think too hard about it,” he said. “During the year, we try to get as many points as possible, and I’m a very competitive person. So, I always wanted to do my best in all my events. I think when you work on that all year, it kind of prepares you.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.