TIFFIN — The Columbus Grove boys track-and-field program has showcased its depth all season long.
At Friday’s Division III regional finals at Tiffin’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium, Columbus Grove’s depth paid off once more, as the Bulldogs won the regional team title.
CG finished with 104 points with Archbold (52 points) second. Also finishing in the top 10 was Bluffton (50) in fourth.
Individually, the top four placers in each event at Tiffin, qualified for the state track meet on June 4th and 5th at Westerville North High School. Liberty Center (64 points) won the girls championship. Leipsic was sixth with 38 points for the highest finish among Lima area girls teams.
So far this season, the Columbus Grove boys team is undefeated.
“Our coaches have done a great job. We’ve talked about it before; it’s about peaking at the right time,” longtime Columbus Grove boys head coach Chris Grothaus said. “I don’t think we’ve ran our best races yet, but I think we have now put ourselves in position where we can run our best races, and put our best throws and best jumps together.”
One of those Columbus Grove boys athletes that helped pave the way for the regional team title was sophomore A. J. Schafer. Friday afternoon, Schafer placed second in the shot put with a toss of 48 feet, 6 inches.
“It feels nice to go to state as a sophomore,” Schafer said. “Hopefully, I can get 50 (feet at the state meet). That’s the main goal right now.”
Schafer, the son of Columbus Grove head football coach Andy Schafer, said he had his nerves under control for regionals.
“Playing football really helps a lot. So, I really didn’t feel that nervous,” Schafer said.
On Wednesday, the first day of the Division III regional at Tiffin, Columbus Grove scored big points in the boys discus.
Columbus Grove went one/two in the boys discus. Ethan Halker won with a toss of 162 feet, 9 inches, while teammate Lawson Maag was second (160-10).
Also on Wednesday, Columbus Grove finished second in the 3,200-meter relay to a very strong Bluffton team.
Columbus Grove (Caleb Stechschulte, Caleb Morman, Trent Koch, Carson Closson) finished in 8:12.30. Bluffton won the boys 3,200 relay in a stellar time of 8:05.17. The Bluffton relay was comprised of Eric Nygaard, Landon Novack, Landon Armstrong and Eden Antrim.
Continental’s Isaac Gibbs won the pole vault Wednesday, with a height of 13 feet, 8 inches. Then on Friday, Gibbs placed fourth in the shot put. He also made the finals in the 100-meter dash.
Gibbs said he has no trouble in balancing his events.
“The hardest part is running around during the meets,” the senior Gibbs said with a smile. “I had to leave pole vault like three times to do my other events (on Wednesday). As far as the training, I love lifting. It (the lifting) helps in the shot put, pole vault and sprinting, too.”
This is the first season since middle school that Gibbs has done the shot put. Gibbs’ personal best in the shot put is 50-10.
“I want to get at least a 51 (-foot throw), or maybe a 52,” he said. “But just getting to state was a goal of mine this whole year.”
On the girls side, Leipsic senior Ella Rigel won the discus Friday (132). On Wednesday, the Miami University-bound Rigel placed second in the shot put (40-0). Rigel’s teammate and cousin Sara Cupp placed third in the shot put (39-4).
“I wasn’t expecting this,” Rigel said, in reference to winning the discus. “My PR before this was 120-something. I wasn’t even expecting to move on from this meet.”
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