TRACK & FIELD: Area athletes excel on first day at state meet
COLUMBUS — Not every victory need be accompanied by a rise to the top of the podium at the state track meet.
Sometimes the consistency of a three-year run of excellence like the one Kayla Wuebker completed on Friday or the perseverance to get back to the state meet and excel after a disappointing hiatus like Wapakoneta’s Megan Hayzlett displayed are achievement enough.
Area track and field athletes made a splash on a waterlogged first day at the Division III and II OHSAA state track and field championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday.
While no area athlete climbed to the top spot on the podium, two of them could smile about their accomplishments on Friday.
Minster’s Wuebker capped a tremendous three-year run at the state meet in the pole vault with her second straight third-place finish in the Division III event. Wuebker cleared a personal-best 12 feet. She finished fourth as a sophomore before taking third in 2011 and 2012.
“I made another PR (personal record), so it’s good,” Wuebker said. “If I could’ve made that last jump, I could’ve possibly got the win, but oh well.”
Wuebker faced yet another strong field in the Division III pole vault. A pair of former state champions were in the field, even after last year’s winner graduated. Eventual champion Amanda Hotoling of North Balitmore bookended her high school years with state championships as a freshman and senior after clearing 12 feet, four inches. 2010 champion Ellie Braidic of Pandora-Gilboa finished second after clearing 12 feet.
“It’s challenging and fun,” Wuebker said of taking on two defending state champions.
Hayzlett, a Wapakoneta junior, appreciated getting back to state after making it as a freshman and then missing out on the trip as a sophomore. She turned in a fourth-place finish in the girls Division II high jump.
“I got here as a freshman and then missed out last year, so it was good to get back,” Hayzlett said. “Hopefully I can come back next year with a little more experience.”
Celina’s Lizz Carr finished a spot ahead of Hayzlett in third place in the Division II girls high jump. Carr and Hayzlett were part of a group of six high jumpers who all cleared five feet, two inches.
“My place was good, but I was a little disapointed with my height,”Hayzlett said.
Hayzlett had to do her jumps in a steady, chilling rain.
“It definitely affects you,” Hayzlett said. “I don’t think anyone in the field got their PR today. It affects your running, you slip, your jumping, everything.”
Minster sophomore A.J. Huelsman finished fourth in the boys pole vault in the late afternoon on Friday. Huelsman cleared the 14-foot mark in the finals. Jesse Oxley of Sugar Grove won the state title by clearing 15 feet.
The Minster girls 4-by-800 meter relay team of Samantha Hoelscher, Hannah Butler, Gabrielle Barga and Natalie Fausey led off the day with a fifth-place finish with a 9:41.06 time.
Minster senior Ryan Will finished seventh in the boys shot put. Will’s best throw of 52 feet, 11.5 inches put him in seventh.
The Minster boys 4-by-800 meter relay team of Andy Albers, Eric Dahlinghaus, Dominic Slonkosky and Francis Slonkosky took ninth with an 8:12.09 time.
Minster senior Derek Collins finished 15th in the boys long jump. Colins’ best jump was 19 feet, 11.75 inches.
The Celina girls 4-by-800 meter relay team finished fourth in the Division II race. The team of Michaela Wenning, Emily Dorsten, Bekah Carr and Hannah Fleck finished with a 9:37.63 time.
Waynesfield-Goshen’s Ivy Horn took second in the girls long jump with a jump of 18 feet, a quarter of an inch shy of state champ Timia Easley.
W-G’s Megan Horn took seventh in the Division III girls pole vault.