SPENCERVILLE — To win four events in a track-and-field meet is pretty special.
To do it on your home track is even better.
Despite Saturday’s very warm temperatures, Spencerville junior Nelaya Burden scorched the Charles D. Moeller Track for three individual victories and was the anchor of a winning relay in the Division III district meet.
The top four placers in each event at the Spencerville district meet advance to the Division III regional meet at Troy this coming Wednesday and Friday. Then, the top four placers in each event at the regional meet advance to the state meet at Ohio State on May 31, June 1.
Burden began Saturday by breaking the district record in the 100-meter hurdles, with a winning time of 14.80 seconds.
After a very short break, Burden then came back to win the 100 dash (12.78).
Burden followed that up by anchoring the winning 400-meter relay (Gillian Goecke, Ariana McMichael, Raigan Staup; 50.86).
A little later, Burden wrapped up her busy day by winning the 300 hurdles (46.43). Ottoville’s Quinley Schlagbaum gave Burden all she had, but finished a close second (46.76).
“It’s an honor and an awesome opportunity to be able to win all four (events) and move onto regionals,” Burden said. “With all this Ohio weather – going from 45 to 80 (degrees) the next day – we’re not used to this heat. So, we just have to get used to it from now on. It’s something we have to adapt to.”
Burden, a state-placer, was especially pleased at her performance in the 100 hurdles.
“There was a little bit of a headwind,” Burden said about Saturday’s 100 hurdles. “It’s been a record for quite some time. So, I was happy to be able to beat it today.”
Fort Recovery made history Saturday, winning its first ever district track title. The Fort Recovery boys slipped past Midwest Athletic Conference-foe Marion Local, for the district title, 90-85.50. Lincolnview finished a very close third (84), while Minster was fourth (77) in the 18-team field.
On the girls’ side, Minster came away with the district crown, defeating second-place Kalida, 104-81. Spencerville finished a close third (76), while Marion Local (72) rounded out the top four squads in the 17-team field.
“The program is definitely on an upswing,” Fort Recovery head coach Kylee Moody said. “We (Fort Recovery boys) were able to clinch the MAC title last week and then districts this week. It’s all about that first weekend in June (state meet); and we’re trying to get some hardware along the way.”
Fort Recovery’s sprinters racked up the points Saturday.
Robby LeFevre finished second to Kalida’s Josh Verhoff in the 100 and 200. LeFevre won the 110 hurdles (15.80), and was the anchor on the winning 400 relay (Riley Pearson, Jared Timmerman, Brayden Schoen; 44.24).
Saturday’s showdown between Verhoff and LeFevre in the 100 and 200 was highly anticipated.
However, Verhoff took over both races early and was never seriously challenged. Verhoff started the day by winning the 100 in a record-breaking time of 10.88. LeFevre was a distant second (11.27).
Verhoff won the 200 in 22.28, while LeFevre crossed the finish line in 22.72.
Verhoff also anchored the winning 800 relay (Trevor Vorst, Grant Laudick, Brad Siefker; 1:31.32) and anchored the seventh-place 400 relay team (45.82).
“Breaking district records is fun and all, but I’m just waiting to get to regionals and down to state to see what I can do down there,” Verhoff said.
Verhoff is coming off a stellar indoor season in which he won the Division II/III state title in the 200. At last spring’s Division III state meet, Verhoff placed sixth in the 200 and was the anchor of the 800 relay that placed fifth. Verhoff also qualified for last year’s state meet in the 100 and was the anchor on the state-qualifying 1,600 relay.
The Minster girls were balanced at this week’s district meet.
“They did very well. They rose to our expectations,” longtime Minster girls head coach Jessie Magoto said. “They performed well under pressure.
“In the distance events, they did what we were hoping for by winning and getting two out in each event. So, that was exciting. Our hurdler, sophomore Jenna Heuker, was a big plus. She got third in both the 100 hurdles (16.58) and 300 hurdles (47.70). We were very excited about that. Even in our sprint relays, they took some time off. Our sprinters are very young; and I was extremely pleased they could take time off and perform under pressure. We got Hannah Pack out in the high jump (fourth, 5-feet). So overall, everyone did their part. I always say that first or fourth doesn’t matter. … The big thing is to stay alive and move on,” she said.
Coach Magoto’s daughter, Madeline, won the 800 Saturday (2:18.81). On Thursday, Magoto anchored the winning 3,200-meter relay (Kaitlynn Albers, Ella Boate, Gwen Meiring; 9:56.41).
On Saturday, Kaitlynn Albers won the 1,600 (5:20.43). Albers staved off Kalida freshman Kenzie Fortman (5:23.17) in the final lap to record the victory.
On the boys’ side, Perry freshman standout Braden Yingst fought off Lincolnview’s Alek Bowersock and Ottoville’s Nolan German down the stretch in the 1,600, to pull off the hard-fought victory. Yingst’s winning time of 4:33.88, was a new personal best. Bowersock finished in 4:34.60, while German crossed in 4:35.02.
“This year, I’ve really developed my kick, just by doing a lot of sprint workouts and hitting the weight room,” Yingst said. “I guess that’s my specialty – having that hard kick at the end of the race.”
Lincolnview freshman Daegan Hatfield broke the district high-jump record Saturday, with a winning height of 6-5. Hatfield’s previous PR was 6-2.
“I had a really good year last year, in eighth grade,” Hatfield said. “So, I was hoping to do well this year.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.