OTTOVILLE — When it comes to the Putnam County League Meet, Columbus Grove has reigned supreme.
Coming into Friday’s PCL Meet at Ottoville’s Bob Kaple Track, the Columbus Grove boys track-and-field team has reeled off eight consecutive PCL titles.
Now, make it nine straight titles.
Also, the Columbus Grove girls team notched its second consecutive PCL crown Friday, and its seventh league title in the last eight seasons.
The Columbus Grove boys scored 165 points Friday, while second-place Pandora-Gilboa ended the night with 117. Kalida (107) and Ottoville (59) rounded out the top four squads in the eight-team field.
In the girls’ competition, Columbus Grove outscored Leipsic for the title, 166-117.5. Kalida (107.5) and Ottoville (69) rounded out the top four.
Columbus Grove got the job done on both the track and in the field events.
“We came into this meet, saying that we had to continue to get better,” longtime Columbus Grove boys coach Chris Grothaus said. “The meet ran fast. There weren’t really a lot of breaks (in between events). So, when I started looking at it (the times), I was really pleased at how we performed.
“Our goal was to continue to get better, and we did. Next week, the Northwest Conference meet will be tough. … Then after that, we will start our tournament trail. We have a lot of guys who are on the cusp of possibly getting to state. They’ve been working hard.”
A big reason for the success of the Columbus Grove program over the years, has been the slew of top-notch throwers the program has produced.
Former Columbus Grove standout Cory Meuleman, a 2007 graduate, has come back to work with the throwers. Meuleman was an important part of the Columbus Grove track-and-field team that was the Division III state runner-up in 2007.
Meuleman, now a chiropractor, still holds the school record in the discus (188 feet, 6 inches).
A couple seasons ago, longtime Columbus Grove throws coach Rick Maag, stepped down. That opened the door for Meuleman.
“It’s my second year helping out here at Grove,” Meuleman said. “When I heard that he stepped down, I kind of wanted to approach them to see if I could come aboard and help out; and they were open to it.”
Meuleman appreciates the opportunity to come back to coach at his alma mater.
“It’s pretty cool,” Meuleman said. “Rick (Maag) did a heck of a job with the program; and he did a lot for me. I have big shoes to fill – helping out when I can. I’m just trying to help out and give these kids the best chance they can get.”
Columbus Grove senior Hunter Roethlisberger is one of the throwers that Meuleman has been working with.
Last weekend at the Liberty-Benton Pat Wagner Memorial Invitational, Roethlisberger won the shot put with a personal-best mark of 51 feet, 3 inches.
Friday night, Roethlisberger won the shot put with a mark of 49-3.
“Fifty-three, fifty-four (feet) would probably get me to state,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t know where that would place me at. I just have to get there first.”
In the discus, Columbus Grove’s Ethan Halker won with a toss of 148 feet.
On the girls’ side Friday, Columbus Grove’s Madisyn Maag won the shot put with a mark of 35-7, while teammate Kennedy Flores was second (35-2). Maag was second in the discus (122-4 ½), while Ottoville’s Brynlee Hanneman won the discus (126-2).
“Our senior girls set a couple goals,” longtime Columbus Grove girls coach Tim Staley said. “The first goal was to win the PCL. Some of those girls were put in more than one individual event. Rylee (Sybert) ran the 100, 200 and 400. She hasn’t run the 400 in an open meet for a long, long time. … It was probably eighth grade. She ran really well and got three firsts. With Alyssa Ellerbrock, to run the Ironman in a meet like this – the four-by-eight (3,200 relay), 1,600, 800 and 3,200 – and to win them all, is a great accomplishment.”
Ellerbrock accepted the lofty challenge.
“This is the first invitational that I’ve ran the four-by-eight, the mile (1,600), 800 and 3,200,” Ellerbrock said. “For the first mile (of the 3,200), I was still kind of recovering from the 800, because I wasn’t used to it. When I got to the mile mark, I still had some energy left. So, that’s when I made my move.”
Kalida’s Josh Verhoff won the 100 (10.78 seconds), 200 (22.4) and was the anchor for both the winning 400- and 800-meter relays. Verhoff’s winning time in the 100 was a new PCL record.
“I just wanted to come and run my best and see if I would get it,” Verhoff said about the record in the 100.
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