Track and Field: Grove boys, Kalida girls win PCL titles

COLUMBUS GROVE – The late Tracy Brown, who was a longtime Columbus Grove track coach, always preached that it all comes down to the final event of the track meet, the 1,600-meter relay.

At Friday’s Putnam County League Meet at Clymer Stadium, the Columbus Grove boys 1,600 relay closed out the meet just the way Coach Brown would have envisioned.

In the boys 1,600 relay, Columbus Grove (Logan Mershman, Zane Stechschulte, Layton Blankemeyer, Trenton Barraza) edged out Continental for the win and put the stamp on a very impressive performance, en route to Columbus Grove’s 13th consecutive PCL team title.

Columbus Grove won the 1,600 relay in 3 minutes, 33.83 seconds, while Continental’s 1,600 relay (Grant Clementz, Peyton Wilson, Malik James, Collin Davis) finished in 3:34.58.

The Columbus Grove boys team ended Friday’s meet with 194.50 points, compared to second-place Ottoville’s 92 points. Kalida finished third with 68 points, while Pandora-Gilboa (67.50) was a close fourth. Continental (60), Leipsic (25), Miller City (12) and Fort Jennings (7) rounded out the field of eight teams.

On the girls side, Kalida edged out Columbus Grove for the team title, 173 to 167.50. Pandora-Gilboa was a very distant third with 58.50 points, while Ottoville came in fourth (46). Leipsic (35), Miller City (22), Continental (16) and Fort Jennings (5) rounded out the team standings.

“The kids competed really well,” longtime Columbus Grove boys coach Chris Grothaus said. “There was a lot going on. It was a big night for us, as far as the Brown family. He started this program. I’ve always said that I don’t want to be the one that screws it up.

“When I took this job, I just wanted to make sure we got kids out and got the kids to work hard. His (Brown’s) family was here tonight. I appreciate them for coming out. It’s just a special night. I was really close to him, right up until he passed away. We talked a lot about track. I learned a lot from him. That was Coach Brown’s saying, ‘It all comes down to the four-by-four (1,600 relay)’. I think that meant a lot to them (Columbus Grove’s 1,600 relay) to hang in there tonight and win that race.”

There was a dedication ceremony for Brown at Friday’s PCL Meet. Brown passed away last October at the age of 78.

On Friday, Columbus Grove senior Luke Ellerbrock fell about one second short of breaking the PCL record and the school record in the 1,600 as he won in a time of 4 minutes, 22.20 seconds. Later, Ellerbrock won the 3,200 (9:52.84), while teammate Evan Pitts finished second (9:59.64).

Last year, Ellerbrock placed fourth in the 3,200 (9:28.12) at the Division III state meet.

“The school record and the PCL record were very low 4:21s,” the University of Findlay-bound Ellerbrock said. “So, the goal coming in, was to try to beat it. I knew the weather was pretty solid for it. It was a little humid but with very limited wind. I just knew there was a good chance to get it. I knew there wasn’t going to be much competition and I would just have to go out there and pace myself, but I just missed it.”

The battle for the girls team title on Friday was hard-fought as Kalida managed to come away with the first-place finish.

“Give credit to our girls for competing today. They came out and we knew we had a few events to get after and flip, and they did that,” Kalida coach Scott Miller said. “In every event, we had somebody step up.

“Senior Andrea Burgei in the 2-mile (3,200 meters, third place), we needed her to pass the (Columbus) Grove girl to wash out the points, or we’re down, and she does that. We flipped the mile today, and the shot put. There’s too many to mention.”

Earlier in Friday’s meet, Burgei finished second in the 1,600 (5:42.05).

Kalida’s Lauren Laudick won Friday’s 400 and set a new PCL record with a time of 59.78 seconds.

Ottoville’s Trentman dominates the hurdles

Ottoville’s Garrett Trentman won the 110-meter hurdles (15.11 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (39.47) on Friday.

Trentman’s winning time in the 300 hurdles was a new PCL Meet record. The previous PCL record was held by former Columbus Grove and Ohio State standout Heath Nickles, which was set 16 years ago.

Trentman also was part of the 400- and 800-meter relays that finished second.

“It’s been a good night with good weather. It was good competition. It feels good to have a really good run in both the 110s and 300s,” Trentman said. “I thought the weather might be a little bad, so I wasn’t really too excited about the meet. But it was good to be out here.”

Trentman has high expectations for both hurdle events and the two relays he competes in. Last year, Trentman was a Division III state qualifier in the 300 hurdles.

“Hopefully, we can get some good times in the (postseason) tournament and go as far as we can,” Trentman said about his four events.

Pfau notches two wins

Miller City’s Andrea Pfau led from start to finish in both the 1,600 (5:23.77) and 3,200 (11:41.68) on Friday.

As a sophomore, Pfau was a Division III state qualifier in the 1,600 at last year’s state meet.

“I’m pretty happy,” Pfau said about Friday’s performance. “I was looking for a little bit more push. I feel like I was really pushing myself today, but I did what I thought I was going to do. I was still hoping for little better times, but it was good enough.”

Auchmuty shines in four events

Columbus Grove’s Lauryn Auchmuty won the pole vault (11 feet) and the 200 (26.47). She finished second in the long jump (16-5.75) and third in the 400 (1:02.89).

*Full results for the Putnam County League Meet can be found on