Ottawa-Glandorf’s Fortman captures two state titles, a state record

COLUMBUS — Ottawa-Glandorf’s Alexa Fortman will never forget her 17th birthday.

Fortman celebrated her birthday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Saturday at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track-and-field meet.

And the gifts she received were definitely earned.

On Saturday, Fortman, a junior, won the 400 in both a personal record and school record time of 55.74 seconds. Then 20 minutes later, Fortman came back in the 800 and held off Indian Hill’s Elizabeth Whaley down the stretch for the hard-fought win in 2:08.60. Fortman’s time in the 800 was both a Division II state-meet record and a Division II state record.

“It’s incredible,” Fortman said after the 800. “It seems impossible, because you only have 20 minutes between the two races. But I truly relied on God. A lot of people told me that I couldn’t do it (400, 800 double). But I just went as hard as I could and just left it all on the track.”

In the 800, Whaley – who also eclipsed the old state record with a time of 2:08.82 – attempted several times in the final 150 meters to pass Fortman. However, Fortman responded each time with a surge of her own. Earlier on Saturday, Whaley won the 1,600 in a state-meet record time of 4:43.31.

“I wanted to take control of the race (800), and be on the inside position and lead it,” Fortman said. “I could feel her every time (running to her right side). … I just had to keep pushing all the way to the finish.”

Fortman said the victory in the 400, kind of jump-started her for the 800.

“I had a big adrenaline rush after the 400; and I think I carried that over to the 800,” Fortman said. “I was a little bit of an underdog there (in the 800). So, I just gave it all I had, did all I could do, and just left it out there. I knew it was the last 800 of the year. … You just have to give it all you got. And I had just enough. I just wanted to go out, run my race and give God all the glory.”

Last season, Fortman placed third in the 400 (56.74) and fifth in the 800 (2:15.66) at the Division II state meet.

Fortman also made the awards podium two other times this weekend.

In Friday’s 3,200 relay, the Titans (Fortman, Rose Turnwald, Madelyn Hovest, Olivia Fenbert) placed fifth (9:26.17). On Saturday, O-G’s 1,600 relay (Fenbert, Corinne Closson, Averie Fox, Fortman) finished eighth (4:03.84).

As a team, the O-G girls placed fifth overall in Division II with 31 points. Oakwood won the girls D-II team title with 47 points.

In Division III, Minster placed third (30), while Marion Local (24) was fourth and Coldwater came in eighth (21) in the girls final team standings.

Roth wins 800

Minster’s Taylor Roth won the Division III 800 Saturday in a time of 2:12.65. Roth held off Zane Trace’s Marie Souther (2:13.41) down the stretch for the win.

“I knew we would have a lot of competition in the 800,” Roth said. “It was insanely fast today. I was racing with Marie (Souther) the whole time. She really pushed me on the backstretch. I’m not really used to getting pushed on the backstretch. I’m always confident in my finish. So, I used that to my advantage today.”

Roth was especially pleased with Saturday’s time.

“My PR this year was a 2:16. So, it was quite a bit faster than what I’ve been running,” Roth said with a grin.

Coldwater’s Haley Alig finished third in the D-III 800 (2:16.42).

Grove’s relays place well

Columbus Grove’s 800 relay (Brynn Fortman, Kiersten Closson, Lauryn Auchmuty, Savannah Ridenour) placed fifth in Saturday’s finals (1:45.23).

Columbus Grove’s 400 relay (Fortman, Auchmuty, Closson, Ridenour) came in sixth Saturday (50.44).

Heitmeyer 4th in 400

Leipsic senior Peyton Heitmeyer placed fourth in Saturday’s Division III 400 (58.12).

“I didn’t run as well as I wanted, but I did do better than last year. So, I’m happy with that,” Heitmeyer said.

Hoelscher on podium for two individual events

Marion Local’s Sam Hoelscher placed second in the 300 hurdles (43.72) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (15.21) Saturday.

Schweller pole vault runner-up

Paulding’s Claire Schweller tied for second in the pole vault (11-10).

Coldwater relay 2nd

The Cavaliers’ 1,600 relay (Haley Alig, Carlee Goodwin, Izzy Zahn, Ava Giere) came in second Saturday (3:58.53).

Other area girl athletes that placed in the top eight (not previously mentioned): Division II – Van Wert’s 800 relay (Kendra Deehring, Macy Johnson, Danesha Branson, Sofi Houg; sixth, 1:44.20), Kenton’s Addy Modd placed fifth in the 300 hurdles (45.32), Kenton’s Tatum Miller was sixth in the shot put (39-4.50), Celina’s Amelia Lutz was seventh in the shot put (39-3).

Division III – Minster’s Margaret Hemmelgarn was eighth in the 1,600 (5:08.12), Coldwater’s 400 relay (Izzy Zahn, Shelby Linn, Kiersten Keller, Allison Hamberg) placed eighth (50.73), Fort Recovery’s Abbie Francis placed seventh in the 200 (26.03), Minster’s 1,600 relay (Cameo Cedarleaf, Lillian Barhorst, Keri Heckman, Taylor Roth) finished fourth (4:01.02).