TRACK & FIELD: Minster boys 4-by-400 meter relay team captures Division III title
COLUMBUS — Derek Collins just couldn't help it.
The Minster senior broke into a grin as wide as the lead he had over the next closest competitor with 50 meters left to go on the final leg of the boys 4-by-400 meter relay team.
Minster's championship relay team could savor closing out the Division III state track and field meet with a victory even before the race was over.
The team of Collins, Troy Kauffman, Paul Dues and Korey Schultz captured the Division III state championship with a 3:21.3 time, grabbing the lead late in the third leg and then pulling away with ease on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
It's the second straight year that the Minster boys 1600 meter relay team has won the crown. Collins, Kauffman and Schultz all ran on that 2011 title team.
"It's just a great feeling to come back here my senior year and it's wonderful to win back-to-back state titles," Collins said.
Collins ran the anchor leg and put on the afterburners.
"I run on pure adrenaline," Collins said. "I get so pumped beforehand and I just take off like a wild man."
Minster trailed Gahanna Columbus Academy in the race as Schultz took the baton for the third leg. Schultz made up ground in a hurry and was able to give the Wildcats the lead heading into Collins' blazing final lap.
"Going along the backstrech, (the Columbus Academy) kid was going at a pretty fast pace," Schultz said. "I tried my best to stick with him and I didn't think he could keep that pace up the whole way around. And I was right. On that final turn, I just decided to kick it."
"Winning two of these is an honor, especially winning it with your best friends," Kauffman said. "It couldn't be any better."
Dues, who was an alternate for the relay team a season ago, was able to join and help deliver another state title.
"Last year as an alternate, I just kept thinking about what it would be like to be in it, and running with these guys with us being best friends, it wasn't hard at all to step in," Dues said.
The relay title was the second part of an exciting finish to the meet for the Wildcats. The Minster girls 4-by-400 meter relay team of Gabrielle Barga, Hannah Barga, Natalie Fausey and Samantha Hoelscher finished second with a 3:57.9 time.
New Bremen's Ben Chaney capped his senior season early in the day with a third-place finish in the boys 110-meter hurdles with a 15.14-second time.
"I was looking to just make podium," Chaney said. "I was sitting sixth, but I got onto the blocks and told myself it was time to turn it up a notch."
Minster's Francis Slonkosky finished seventh in the boys 1600 meter run with a 4:18.97 time.
The Minster girls 4-by-100 meter relay team of Hannah Barga, Kayla Wuebker, Chelsea Stewart and Sara Dahlinghaus finished seventh (50.71 seconds).
Waynesfield-Goshen's Ivy Horn captured the 100 meter hurdles state title. It's her first individual state championship.
"I"ve been dreaming of getting an individual title since I was a freshman and I can't even tell you how amazing it is," Horn said.
Ivy and her sister Megan powered the Tigers to a Division III runner-up finish despite having no other teammates at state.
Look for complete coverage of Saturday's state track championships in Monday's Evening Leader.