WESTERVILLE — Minster senior Bryan Falk did not compete in track and field until this year. In the past, Falk played baseball during the spring.
However, after the Minster boys track team won the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III state team title Saturday at Westerville North High School, it was pretty obvious that Falk made the right decision to switch to track and field.
Heading into the final event Saturday, the 1,600-meter relay, McDonald was clinging to a four-point lead over Minster in the boys team standings.
However, Minster closed the door on McDonald’s hopes of winning a state title by coming away with the victory in the 1,600 relay in a personal-best time of 3 minutes, 22.12 seconds with Falk anchoring. McDonald finished fifth (3:27.76), which was a six-point swing for Minster.
Falk also finished second in the 400 (49.31 seconds) and fourth in the 100 (11.32) Saturday.
The team title for Minster is the first in school history for the boys track and field program. It also is the first boys team state track title for the Midwest Athletic Conference.
In the final team standings Saturday, Minster defeated second-place McDonald 41-39, while Dalton was third (25). Columbus Grove had the next best finish of area teams, as the Bulldogs came in eighth (20).
When Falk received the hand-off in Saturday’s 1,600 relay, he said he was not too concerned about the field of competitors.
“I was just going for the win, because I didn’t know where McDonald (final leg) was,” Falk said. “I felt the guy come up on me, and I decided to kick it in.”
Joining Falk in the 1,600 relay was Brady Hoelscher, Nathan Droesch and Joseph Slonkosky.
Earlier in the day, in the 400, Falk shifted into a higher gear down the stretch to go from sixth place to second place in the final 100 meters of the race.
“That’s how I usually run the 400,” Falk said with a smile. “I just see where I am the last 100 and then I give it all I got.”
Longtime Minster boys coach Larry Topp had nothing but praise for his team’s competitiveness.
“Like I’ve said before – these guys always want to do better the next time they run, than they did the time before,” Topp said. “I didn’t know if they could improve on what they did yesterday (preliminaries). Yesterday was a pretty good day. Then, they stepped it up two notches today. We needed every bit of it today for it to come down to the 4-by-4 (1,600 relay). … It was awesome.”
Yingst on podium twice;
Derstine second in 800
Perry junior Brady Yingst knew doing the 1,600 and 800 double would be a lofty challenge at the state meet.
But it’s something he’s gotten used to.
Saturday, Yingst finished a close second in the 1,600 in a personal-best time of 4:17.01. Then a little later, Yingst battled back to place fifth in the 800 (1:57.23).
“I knew it was going to be tough, coming off that mile (1,600),” Yingst said. “It was my hardest mile this season. My legs were tired, going in (the 800). My goal was to get on the podium. I’m excited for that. It was a great way to end the season.”
It was a very close finish in the boys 1,600.
Belpre’s Eli Fullerton won in 4:16.07, while Yingst was less than a second behind Fullerton. McDonald’s Brody Rupe was a very close third (4:17.05).
“It’s definitely the most tired that I’ve ever been after a race,” Yingst said. “It’s definitely the hardest I have pushed all season. I came in with hopes to win a gold medal, but (getting) second place with a three-second PR — I’m happy with that.”
Ashland Crestview’s Ross Kuhn won the 800 (1:53.98).
Bluffton’s Simon Derstine finished second in the 800, breaking the school record with an impressive time of 1:55.35. Derstine came into the state meet with a seed time of 1:57.19.
Minster’s Alex Albers came in a close third (1:56.05) in Saturday’s 800.
Yingst was pleased at his performance on Saturday. However, he said there will be some unfinished business next season.
“Hopefully, I can come back and compete for a state title next year,” Yingst said.
Also in the boys 800, Columbus Grove’s Carson Closson finished seventh (1:57.81).
wins 300 hurdles
Coldwater junior Tyler Schwieterman saved his best race of the season for last.
Saturday, Schwieterman won the 300 hurdles in a personal-best time of 39.48 seconds.
“I just tried to give it all that I had,” Schwieterman said. “It was really windy, so I knew I had to push through that on the backstretch. That (gold medal) is all I wanted. I PR’d by over a second. I knew if I wanted to get the gold medal, then it (personal best) had to happen.”
Minster’s Joseph Slonkosky finished fourth (40.98), Ottoville’s Kellen Schlagbaum came in sixth (41.03) and Marion Local’s Owen Rindler was eighth (41.95).
Grove throwers on podium
Columbus Grove opened Saturday on a strong note as two athletes placed in the boys discus.
Lawson Maag finished third with a mark of 166 feet, 5 inches. Teammate Ethan Halker came in fourth with a toss of 162-0.
Ryan Henry from McDonald won the event (170-2). Norwayne’s Colby Morlock was second (168-3).
“I think both of us were feeling better and better about our throws (as it went on); and eventually, they just threw a little bit farther than us,” Maag said. “But we had a great season and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Added Halker, “This is the only time I’ve ever been down here. So, I’m just enjoying it right now. I hoping the best for this guy (Maag) for next year.”
Halker will compete in track and field next school year at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.
hurdles to podium
Columbus Grove senior Jon Banal placed fifth Saturday in the 110 hurdles (15.44 seconds).
Banal, who is headed to Wooster to play football next school year, was pleased with his performance.
“I was seeded 13th, so I was happy to get up to fifth place,” Banal said. “I just ran my race. I didn’t let anything bother me. I just went out there and did what I usually do; and it worked out for me.”
place in high jump
Lincolnview’s Daegan Hatfield and Ottoville’s Kyle Manns tied for eighth place in Saturday’s boys high jump (6-2).
Area relay teams
The Marion Local 800 relay team of Owen Rindler, Charlie Huelsman, Ben Heitkamp and Peyton Otte was sixth and in the 1,600 relay, Bluffton’s Eden Antrim, Ethan Bogart, Josh Mehaffe and Jonathan Schriner were seventh and Heitkamp, Tate Hess, Rindler and Huelsman were eighth.
PICKERINGTON — The Van Wert boys 1,600 relay team of Ethan Brown, Nate Phillips, Trey Laudick and Connor Pratt finished second. Brown, Phillips, Wade Jackson and Laudick combined for a sixth-place effort in the 800 relay. Brown was also seventh in the 400.
Ottawa-Glandorf’s Gavin Hedrick was seventh in the 110 hurdles.
The Van Wert boys finished 13th in the team standings with 13 points behind state champ Woodridge (43).
HILLIARD — Shawnee’s Brody Bolois cleared 6-feet to finish 17th in the boys high jump at Hilliard Darby High School.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.