Track and field: Ottawa-Glandorf’s Fortman successfully defends 400, 800 state titles

COLUMBUS — Last season, Ottawa-Glandorf’s Alexa Fortman pulled off what is arguably the most difficult double in track and field.

At last year’s Division II state track and field meet, Fortman won the 400-meter dash. Then, about 25 minutes later, came back and won the 800 in state-record time.

At this weekend’s Ohio High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, Fortman did the incredible feat once again, minus a state-record time in the 800.

On Saturday, the second and final day of the state track and field meet, Fortman won the 400 in 56.21 seconds. Then, a little later in the 800, Fortman held off Woodridge’s Reese Reaman down the stretch to notch the hard-fought victory (2:09.96).

With the extremely warm temperatures Saturday, Fortman was visibly exhausted after the tough double.

However, she mustered up enough energy to come back and anchor Ottawa-Glandorf’s 1,600-meter relay (Olivia Fenbert, Corinne Closson, Averie Fox, Fortman) that recorded the win in a school-record time of 3:56.97.

O-G finished fourth in the final Division II team standings with 35 points. Van Wert had the next-best area team finish, coming in 13th.

Last season, the O-G girls finished fifth as a team at the state track and field meet.

“I’m very proud of everyone that came down here,” O-G girls head coach Matt Burwell said. “We had seven events for the girls. We had two for the boys. They competed hard. They broke the school record in the four-by-eight (3,200 relay). … They got fourth place.

“Alexa Fortman, what a career she’s had at O-G. Just special, a once in a lifetime athlete. She deserves every credit she gets. She wins the 400. She wins the 800 in this heat. Then our four-by-four (1,600) team (Olivia Fenbert, Corinne Closson, Averie Fox, Fortman) – going out with a bang, and getting first place. … They put the exclamation point on the weekend.”

After winning the 800 Saturday – second gold medal in about a half hour – Fortman mustered up the energy in the warm temperatures and came back to help her team win the 1,600 relay, the final event of the two-day meet.

“I give credit all to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Without Him, none of this would have been possible,” Fortman said. “After that 800, I felt very weak. But I trusted Him to give me the strength; and my team did a great job, giving everything they had in that relay.”

Fortman said she knew that somehow, she needed to get ready to help her team win the 1,600 relay.

“It was a big mental block. It was very hot today. So, I had to try to overcome that, cool down, and try to finish strong,” Fortman said.

With the win in the 1,600 relay, Fortman came away with three gold medals in her final high school state meet.

Friday, the first day of the state track and field meet, Fortman anchored the 3,200 relay team (Fenbert, Rose Turnwald, Closson, Fortman), that placed fourth.

Corinne Closson also ran the 800 for the Titans on Saturday. Closson, a junior, placed ninth in the 800 (2:18.55).

Fortman will continue her track career when she attends Belmont University next school year.

Olivia Fenbert, the other senior on O-G’s 1,600 relay, is heading to the University of Findlay next year, where she will compete in track and field.

In the girls pole vault Saturday, O-G’s Lily Haselman placed ninth (11 feet, 2 inches), just one spot shy of getting onto the awards podium.

On the boys’ side for O-G, Ty Rosengarten finished 10th in Saturday’s 3,200 (9:52.89). Van Wert’s Owen Scott came in 11th in the 3,200 (9:53.36).

Friday, Rosengarten was part of O-G’s 3,200 relay (Masen Vogt, Rosengarten, Isaac Macke, Ethan Metzger) that placed 11th (8:14.55).

Minster’s Roth defends 800 title

Minster senior Taylor Roth came into this weekend’s state track and field meet with the mindset of just competing hard.

Last season, Roth won the Division III state title in the 800.

This weekend, Roth’s mindset paid off as she successfully defended her state title in the 800, winning in 2:11.72.

As a team, the Minster girls’ squad finished third this weekend in Division III.

“I knew I was going to have to work my butt off. That’s all I did today. I competed, and here we are, a two-time state champ,” Roth said.

Roth also was part of Friday’s winning 3,200 relay (Margaret Hemmelgarn, Annie Hemmelgarn, Maria Niekamp, Roth; 9:19.85) and Saturday’s fourth-place 1,600 relay (Keri Heckman, Cameo Cedarleaf, Ava Stammen, Roth; 4:01.99).

Roth said, after winning the state title last year, that she struggled for a while before finally coming to the realization that she needed to just focus on what she can do.

“The first part of this season, I worried about the pressure I felt like I put on myself,” Roth said. “That was really hard. But I came into the last half of my season, and realized there was absolutely no pressure. I have nothing to lose. … I can only gain another state title.”

Coldwater’s Zahn notches first place

Coldwater sophomore Izzy Zahn was expecting to compete at a high level at this weekend’s state meet.

However, she admitted that winning the Division III state title in the 200 was not something she envisioned.

Saturday, Zahn won the Division III state title in the 200 (24.39). She also was part of the 800 relay (Zahn, Kiersten Keller, Becca Wenning, Allison Hamberg) that finished second (1:43.47). She also placed fifth in the 100 (12.31). Zahn also placed sixth in the long jump (17-5).

“It’s pretty awesome,” Zahn said after winning the state title in the 200. “I’m really excited, especially being a sophomore. Not many underclassmen have the opportunity. I’m really happy and grateful.”

The Coldwater girls team finished sixth in the final team standings in Division III.

Jefferson’s Lindeman hurdles her way to two all-Ohio finishes

Delphos Jefferson junior Lyv Lindeman made the podium in both Division III hurdle events Saturday.

Lindeman started Saturday off with a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (14.63).

Then, later in the day, Lindeman placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (44.99).

Last season, Lindeman competed at the Division III state meet in the 100 hurdles and finished ninth, one spot shy of making the awards podium.

Now, Lindeman is all-Ohio (top eight finisher) in both hurdle events.

“I’m pretty happy with it. I’m pretty happy with my times,” Lindeman said. “Having that experience of being down here last year, definitely helped calm the nerves. I was pretty confident, coming down here (this year), and getting on that podium.”

Temple Christian’s Worsham overcoming the odds

Temple Christian senior Cece Worsham has been to the state track and field meet before.

However, this year’s path to Columbus for Worsham was nearly halted when she was involved in an automobile accident, days leading up to this weekend’s state meet.

Fortunately, Worsham was OK, and competed at a high level this weekend.

In Saturday’s finals of the 100 hurdles, Worsham placed fourth (14.68). In the 200 dash, Worsham came in fourth (25.38).

“Going into this, I felt a little unsure,” Worsham said. “But I have a lot of support from my family and my coaches. I wasn’t really looking for PR races. I’m just glad I got through it and did well.”

Van Wert girls’ sprint relays on the podium

The Van Wert girls 800 relay (Kendra Deerhing, Macy Johnson, Danesha Branson, Sofi Houg) and 400 relay (Houg, Johnson, Branson, Deerhing) both made the awards podium Saturday.

The 800 relay started Saturday with a second-place finish (1:42.06). Then, about 30 minutes later, the same four Van Wert runners came back and placed third in the 400 relay finals (48.79).

“This is a surreal experience,” Houg, a senior, said. “When I ended my basketball career, I was looking forward to track. But now that track is over, it’s weird knowing that I have no more sports. Sports have consumed us every day for so many years. So, this is definitely a weird feeling.”

Kessen on the podium for St. John’s

Alex Kessen, a junior at Delphos St. John’s, placed sixth in the Division III 100 on Saturday (12.34).

“My start felt good. … It’s not where I wanted to end up, but I’m still happy with my time,” she said after placing in the 100. “So, I still feel pretty good. I’m happy to make it to state. So, I have to be positive about it. We got a whole year to prepare (for next season). I know what I did wrong. So, I can come back stronger next year.”

In this weekend’s long jump, Kessen finished 10th with a mark of 16-11.5.

St. Marys’ Greber on podium

St. Marys’ junior Syerra Greber placed eighth in Saturday’s Division II 200 (25.49).

Allen East’s Jones makes podium

Allen East sophomore Rilynn Jones placed fifth in Saturday’s finals of the Division III 300 hurdles (46.09).

“It was definitely a lot better than last year. … I finished 16th last year. So, it was definitely an improvement,” Jones said. “Last year, I was here for the experience. I was a little shocked, looking at the crowd and everything. Coming down this year, the goal was definitely to be on the podium.”

Other area top-eight girl placers on Saturday (not already mentioned in the story)

DIII: Marion Local’s Grace Moeller in 100 hurdles (eighth, 15.42), Celina’s Amelia Lutz in discus (seventh, 128-11).

Marion Local wins boys Division III state title, Columbus Grove ties for second

State track and field results

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.