WESTERVILLE — The Columbus Grove boys track and field team is trying to cash in whenever it can.
With 15 athletes in 11 total events, the Bulldogs were hoping to get off to a strong start Friday — the first day of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III State Track and Field Championships at Westerville North High School.
The majority of Friday’s events were preliminaries. There were just four boys events scored as finals Friday. The remainder of the 17 events will be scored today.
In Friday’s pole vault competition, Columbus Grove senior Gabe Clement placed sixth with a height of 13 feet, 6 inches, which earned the Bulldogs three points.
“You can never really complain much when you get on the podium and get the team some much-needed points,” Clement said. “The competition was really great this year. You really can’t focus on what other guys are doing. You just have to do your own thing.”
On the track Friday, Columbus Grove competed in six events. However, besides the 3,200-relay final Friday, the Bulldogs advanced just one event to today’s finals on the track.
Columbus Grove’s Jon Banal qualified for today’s finals in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.70 seconds, as he notched the eighth and final qualifying spot.
Columbus Grove’s Carson Closson will also compete in the 800 today (no prelims for this event Friday).
Columbus Grove’s 1,600 relay (Clement, Closson, Landon Myers, Caleb Stechschulte) just missed advancing Friday as it clocked the ninth fastest time (3:28.58). The top eight placers advanced to the finals.
Minster (Brady Hoelscher, Nathan Droesch, Joseph Slonkosky, Bryan Falk) had the best qualifying time in the 1,600 relay (3:25.89).
Columbus Grove will look to score in the discus today as Ethan Halker and Lawson Maag come into that event with regional marks of 162-9 and 160-10, respectively.
Zeke Halker will vie for a spot on the awards podium today for Columbus Grove when he competes in the high jump.
vaults to fifth
Spencerville junior Dale Smith saved his best for last.
At Friday’s pole vault competition, Smith set a new personal best (13-10) and placed fifth.
Smith was pleased at his performance, but was hoping to eclipse the 14-foot barrier.
“At the end, I wanted to get 14-2 and wanted to get top four,” Smith said.
Minster leads area
boys in 3,200 relay
In Friday’s boys 3,200-meter relay, Minster had the best area performance. The Wildcats finished sixth in 8:05.58. Bluffton was close behind in eighth (8:06.89), while Columbus Grove just missed scoring as it finished ninth (8:11.12).
Minster junior Alex Albers, the anchor on the 3,200 relay, said his team ran its best Friday.
“It was a three-second PR for us today,” Albers said. “That’s something to be proud of.”
Albers knew the 3,200 relay was going to be competitive. Canton Central Catholic won in 7:58.39, while Ashland Crestview was a very close second (7:58.90).
“I think it’s about what we expected,” Albers said about the competition. “We knew we needed a sub 8 (-minute time), if we wanted to win. We tried our best to do that.”
Albers will compete today in the 1,600 and 800.
The Minster girls 3,200 relay (Taylor Roth, Margaret Hemmelgarn, Mason Pohl, Ella Boate) placed third (9:23.39). Coldwater (Ava Giere, Sara Honigford, Carlee Goodwin, Haley Alig) came in fifth (9:37.10).
Area girls score
well in discus
Botkins’ Aleah Johnson finished second in the discus Friday with a mark of 132-9. Johnson’s best toss came on her first attempt of the day.
“It was a PR too,” Johnson said. “So, it made it even better. It was definitely a shocker. My goal, honestly, was to just make it to the finals. It was huge to make it as a runner-up.”
New Knoxville junior Avery Henschen placed fifth in the discus (126-11) Friday. Henschen got her best mark on her very first throw in the preliminaries.
“I got a season PR. … So, that was nice,” Henschen said. “It’s way better to get a good throw out there (early), than fouling and getting all nervous for the rest of them (throws). So, it was nice to get that throw out there early.”
For Henschen, coming back after last season was canceled (because of COVID-19 pandemic) was extra special.
“Two years ago, I did not make it out of districts,” Henschen said. “My sophomore year (before track season) I was out with an ACL injury, so track was going to be my first sport back. Then it got canceled. So, I was really excited for this season.”
in 200 finals
Kalida’s Hannah Berheide clocked the fourth fastest time in Friday’s semifinals of the 200 (25.72 seconds).
However, the senior Berheide did not advance to the finals in the 100, despite clocking a time of 12.68 seconds.
in girls 400 finals
The Spencerville team of Gillian Goecke, Ariana McMichael, Lilyan Goecke and Claire Hoback qualified for today’s finals in the 400 relay by clocking the second-fastest time Friday (50.34).
PICKERINGTON — Ottawa-Glandorf’s Alex Fortman turned in the second best time in the girls 400 to reach today’s finals at Pickerington High School North.
The top eight times in each event make the finals.
The Van Wert boys 1,600 relay team of Ethan Brown, Nate Phillips, Trey Laudick and Connor Pratt were fourth. The 800 relay team of Brown, Phillips, Wade Jackson and Laudick advanced with a sixth-place finish. Brown also made the final in the 400 with an eighth-place effort.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Gavin Hedrick qualified for the finals in the 110 hurdles with a fifth-place finish in the semifinals.
HILLIARD — Elida’s Conner Douglass did not record a cleared height in the pole vault at Darby High School.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.