TIFFIN — At this point in the season, it’s all about counting to four.
At this week’s regional track-and-field meets, the top four placers in each event automatically qualify for the state track meet at Ohio State on May 31, June 1.
For Columbus Grove senior Rylee Sybert, there weren’t a lot of places to count in Friday’s finals at the Division III regional track-and-field meet at Heidelberg University.
Sybert started the day off with a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash (12.65 seconds). Then later on, Sybert won the 200 (25.75). In between her two individual events, Sybert competed in the 400-meter relay that finished eighth.
The University of Findlay-bound Sybert, said dealing with the disappointing eighth-place finish in the 400 relay was challenging.
“It’s been kind of an emotional day with the four-by-one (not qualifying for state) and everything, but I’m proud of my team,” Sybert said. “I was excited about my performance today and I was happy that I woke up this morning, ready for today.”
Sybert said the mental preparation is the most critical part for her.
“There is definitely a lot of mental prep on my part. I’m always kind of nervous,” Sybert said. “In the 100, I was hoping to do better, but that’s OK. In the 200, I really had to buckle down and focus, knowing that I could do it.”
Sybert is a two-time state placer in the 100.
In Friday’s final team standings Archbold won the title, out-scoring second-place Columbus Grove, 56-50. Margaretta finished third (48), while Liberty-Benton was a close fourth (46) out of 40 teams.
On the boys’ side, Liberty Center slipped past Ottawa Hills for the team title, 46-45.33. Bluffton finished third (39), while Pandora-Gilboa was a close fourth (33).
Leipsic senior Carlee Siefker broke the regional meet record Friday in the long jump with a mark of 18 feet, 10 ¾ inches. The University of Findlay-bound Siefker broke the record on her second jump of the night.
This past winter, Siefker won the Division II/III state indoor titles in both the long jump and triple jump.
Siefker not only wants to win the state title in the long jump next weekend at Ohio State, but she also wants to reach her ultimate goal.
“I have two more meets left. I have the state meet, and then hopefully nationals,” Siefker said. “So, I have two more chances to get my personal record. I want to get 19 (feet), but 19-6 is what I really want to get.”
Friday night, Siefker also placed fifth in the 100 (12.80).
Bluffton junior Xavier Dunifon won the 300-meter hurdles (39.23), placed fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.73) and was part of 1,600 relay (Jonathon Schriner, Luke Young, Baylor Garmatter) that placed third (3:27.75).
“I trained really hard for this. I really wanted this,” Dunifon said. “I’m very grateful to be in the place I am this year.”
Dunifon does have a preference in his two hurdle events.
“Definitely the 300. … It’s a longer race,” he said with a smile. “It’s a very different race, but I thoroughly enjoy it.”
Pandora-Gilboa’s Travis Maag qualified for the state meet in both the 110 hurdles (third, 15.57) and 300 hurdles (fourth, 41.26).
Dunifon’s teammate, junior Baylor Garmatter, edged out Tinora’s Isaiah Colon in the 400. Garmatter’s winning time was 50.83, while Colon crossed the finish line in 50.96. Garmatter was also on the 1,600 relay that qualified for the state meet.
“I was a little surprised I won that race (400), because I knew there were good people ahead of me,” Garmatter said. “I was in Lane 2. So, that was a really good lane to see who was in front of me. I was able to coast off them the whole time. At the 200 mark, I just kicked and I felt really good about it.”
In the boys 1,600, Columbus Grove freshman Caleb Stechschulte placed third with a personal-best time of 4:27.82.
“I started pushing in the last lap (down the stretch),” Stechschulte said. “I really couldn’t believe that I was still holding that spot. Then, I just gave it all I had at that point.”
Wednesday night, Stechschulte was part of the 3,200 relay (Jordan Bellman, Carson Closson, Breece Pringle) that placed third and advanced.
On Wednesday, the Columbus Grove girls’ 3,200 relay (Erin Downing, Leanndra Price, Abigail Gladwell, Alyssa Ellerbrock) finished third (9:54.77).
Friday night, Ellerbrock won the 3,200 (11:25.21), while teammate Erin Downing placed third (11:38.86).
Wednesday night, Columbus Grove’s Madisyn Maag placed fourth in the shot put (38-5 ½).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.