CELINA — The first invitational of the track-and-field season does not necessarily set the tone for the rest of the spring.
However, sweeping the first invite doesn’t hurt.
At Saturday’s Celina Invitational at Celina High School, Celina claimed the girls and boys team titles in very windy and cool weather conditions.
On the girls’ side, Celina nipped Ottawa-Glandorf for the title, 180.5 to 178. New Haven (Indiana) was a distant third (80). Elida (74.5), Decatur (Indiana) Bellmont (52), Defiance (50) and Kenton (23) rounded out the field of seven teams.
For the boys, Celina won with 172 points. O-G finished second with 148.5 points. Defiance (106.5), Kenton (79.5), New Haven (63.5), Elida (43) and Decatur Bellmont (28) rounded out the field.
“It wasn’t the best weather today, but we’ll take it,” Celina head track coach Eric Wagner said with a smile. “You can’t control the (weather) elements, but you can control how hard you prepare and how well you handle what is given to you. I’m happy with both finishes. O-G is a really good team, both guys and girls. We scored eight places in this meet, which adds a few extra points here and there. Five weeks from now, we’ll see what really happens at WBL (Championships).”
One of the leaders for the Celina girls team Saturday was senior Kaylie Dameron, who won the 3,200 (12:30.5) and finished second in the 1,600 (5:55.06).
Dameron said Saturday’s windy conditions made it a lot more challenging, especially in the 3,200.
“With the wind, I was just kind of like fighting through the whole time, then tried to pull away the last 800 (meters),” she said with a smile.
The senior standout has some big goals for this season.
“I want to get a PR (personal record). My best is an 11:47 (in the 3,200). So, hopefully I break that. I want to get down into the 11:20s,” Dameron said.
The Celina girls 400 relay (Ellie Hitchcock, Kira Dirksen, Allison Schwieterman and Nevaeh Huser) won Saturday in 54.16 seconds.
In the field events, Celina’s Amelia Lutz won the discus (123 feet) and shot put (36-3).
For the Celina boys, sophomore Jon Lutz won the 110 hurdles (16.14). Lutz also was part of the winning 800 relay (Lucas Billerman, Lutz, Luke Lazarich, Layndin Alidou; 1:37.51).
Layndin Alidou won the 200 (23.62) and 400 (54.67) for Celina. Colin Fokine won the pole vault for the Bulldogs with a height of 11 feet. Kaden Murlin won the shot put (50-1.5) for Celina.
“We have depth, but we’re thin,” Wagner said. “So, we have to make sure we keep everyone healthy, and take care of what we can control. There are some things that we need to work on; and we need to get a lot better. I told the kids, ‘Don’t be satisfied. This is the first meet, with terrible weather. It won’t really matter five weeks from now.’”
Fortman leads the way for O-G girls
O-G senior Alexa Fortman led from start to finish in the 1,600 (5:30.69) and 800 (2:21.57) Saturday.
Fortman also was on the winning 800 relay (Fortman, Corinne Closson, Averie Fox, Olivia Fenbert; 1:51.67) and 1,600 relay (Fenbert, Closson, Fox, Fortman; 4:20.54).
Fortman said the wind was a major factor Saturday.
“That’s what I had to take into consideration,’” she said about the wind. “It’s definitely a big push-back against you, especially today. … I was running more distance (events) and going into it a lot more. I was just focused on driving into it and keeping my head down.”
Fortman ran the 1,600 Saturday – a race she doesn’t run on a regular basis.
“I’m going to try some other races (this season), stay fresh, have fun and really focus on enjoying every minute,” Fortman said. “I want to really focus on God, because he gave me the gift. The times weren’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity to come out here and compete.”
Last season, Fortman captured two Division II state titles. She won the 400 in a school-record time of 55.74 seconds. Then, about 20 minutes later, she won the 800 in 2:08.60 – a Division II state-meet record and Division II overall record.
Olivia Fenbert won the 400 (1:05.52) for the Titans on Saturday. Other winners for the O-G girls included Lily Haselman in the pole vault (9 feet), and Savannah Recker in the long jump (16-2).
Rosengarten leads the O-G boys
O-G sophomore Ty Rosengarten scored big points Saturday for the Titans.
After anchoring the winning 3,200 relay (Masen Vogt, Isaac Macke, Cooper Fisher, Rosengarten; 8:56.3) Saturday morning, Rosengarten took first in the 1,600 (4:48.51) and 3,200 (10:21.42) in the afternoon.
Then, in the last event of the day, Rosengarten was part of the victorious 1,600 relay (Vogt, Macke, Rosengarten, Dane Duling; 3:48.62).
With the high winds Saturday, Rosengarten said he employed a little different strategy in the 1,600 and 3,200.
“Every single lap on the backstretch, I ran in the No. 2 lane (to let other runners absorb the wind),” Rosengarten said with a grin. “I did it once in junior high, but it didn’t work. So, I tried again this year, and it worked. I told myself to not worry about the times – just go out there and compete.”
O-G’s Dane Duling won the 300 hurdles (42.92), while teammate Jager Burgei won the high jump (5-6) for the Titans.
Makin shines for Elida
Elida senior Emma Makin won the 100 (12.8) and 200 (27.66) Saturday.
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