VAN WERT – Ottawa-Glandorf track standout Alexa Fortman always has her sights set on breaking a record.
At Friday’s finals of the Western Buckeye League Championships at Van Wert High School, Fortman notched one of many records that she’s been aiming for.
Not only did Fortman break a WBL record Friday night, but she shattered the record in the 800 meters, a league mark that has stood since 1981, and was the oldest WBL track record to date.
Fortman got out quickly in the 800 Friday and broke the record by over five seconds as she won in 2:11.78. The previous WBL record was 2:16.80. Fortman’s all-time personal best in the 800 is 2:11.21.
Fortman also won the 400 (58.35), and was the anchor in the winning 1,600 relay (Averie Fox, Corinne Closson, Lily Haselman, Fortman; 4:09.11) for the Titans on Friday. She was third in the 100 (13.19) Friday.
“It was really difficult today, doing the four (400) and eight (800) double,” Fortman said. “So, I just relied on God. He made it all possible.”
After the first lap in the 800, Fortman was not sure where she was, time-wise.
“I actually didn’t know. I can usually hear it (the split being called),” she said. “So, I knew I had to go, since I didn’t know how much time I had left.”
In the 1,600 relay, when Fortman received the hand-off on her anchor leg, the Titans were seventh. Fortman worked her way to the front of the pack to give her relay the win.
O-G girls head coach Matt Burwell was impressed, but not totally surprised on how well his junior standout performed on Friday.
“We haven’t run her in the four (400) and eight (800) together since (O-G) Gold Medal (Meet),” Burwell said. “We have not had a meet up to Wednesday (first day of WBLs) for 13 days. In the warmer weather, to watch what she did in the four and eight, it’s special. … She is special. It’s just awesome.
“In one of the meets (this season), she won the 100, 200 and 400. She won the four and eight at the Gold Medal (earlier in the season). She’s ran a 5:10 mile (1,600). And she has the (school) cross country record. It’s amazing how much she enjoys competing.”
Celina’s Kaylie Dameron won both the 1,600 (5:16.52) and 3,200 (11.51.90) on Friday.
In the girls final team standings Friday, O-G won the title as it slipped past Celina 100.5-100. St. Marys (78), Kenton (61.50) and Van Wert (50) rounded out the top five squads in the 10-team field.
On the boys side, Van Wert notched the team title, defeating second-place Shawnee 119.50-94. Celina (55), Defiance (54.50) and O-G (51.50) rounded out the top five teams.
Van Wert senior Connor Pratt scored big points for the Cougars on Friday.
Pratt won the 400 in a personal-record time of 49.76 seconds. Pratt then came back and finished second in the 200 (22.90). Earlier in the meet, Pratt was part of the 800 relay. He was also part of the winning 1,600 relay.
“We’ve been working really hard every day in practice,” Pratt said. “We always say, ‘We’re making deposits. Then in meets like this, you can always make the withdrawals to get faster times’. That’s something we always preach. Then, obviously, one of my biggest goals this year was to go sub 50 (seconds in the 400). I was super excited to finally hear ‘49’.”
Shawnee’s Isaiah Johns won the 1,600 Friday in 4:38.31 – notching his second consecutive 1,600 WBL title. Teammate Carter Cleaves came in second (4:44.15).
“The mile (1,600) has always been my race,” Johns said. “I feel like when I do the mile, I feel stronger than any other event I choose.”
Cleaves ran down two runners in the final 200 meters to claim second in the 1,600.
“I just knew it was going to be such a close meet between us and Van Wert. … They have such a great team,” Cleaves said. “I knew, in order to beat them, that I had to win every event that I could.”
Johns placed fifth in the 800 (2:04.82) Friday. Johns was part of the second-place 1,600 relay (3:27.28). Cleaves came in fifth in the 3,200 (10:28.16). Bath’s Landen Jones won the 3,200 in 10:17.56. O-G’s Ty Rosengarten was a very close second in the 3,200 (10:17.60).
Shawnee’s K.J. Upshaw won the 100 in 10.87 seconds. Upshaw also won the 200 (22.26). Upshaw was also part of the second-place 800 relay.
On Wednesday, the first day of the WBL Championships, there were several field event finals, as well as the 3,200-meter relays.
In the boys pole vault, Elida’s Conner Douglass won with a new WBL-record height of 14 feet, 6 inches.
In the girls 3,200 relay, Defiance (Mira Horvath, Samantha Hohenberger, Layla Briseno, Emily Wahl) took first place with a time of 9 minutes, 47.08 seconds.
In the boys 3,200 relay, Shawnee (Justin Altenbach, Isaiah Johns, Carter Cleaves, Noah Williams) won in 8:08.74. Shawnee just edged out Van Wert (Gage Wannemacher, Rylan Miller, Gage Springer, Hunter Sherer), who clocked a time of 8:10.63.
In the girls high jump, St. Marys’ Ella Jacobs won with a height of 5-1. Elida’s Jordan Gladen was second (5-0).
In the boys long jump, St. Marys’ Brandon Bowers won with a mark of 21-3.75.
Kenton’s Tatum Miller won the girls discus (139-7), while Ottawa-Glandorf’s Emma Hoffman was second (136-5).
In the boys shot put, Bath’s Xavier Griffiths won with a toss of 57-1.