Ohio proves its track worth; State Meet to showcase national talents, look out for…

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State Track and Field Championships

The Boys state track and field tournament is the longest running OHSAA
state championship event in Ohio. This weekend marks the 102nd running
of the boys meet and the 35th rendition of the girls championships. Just as impressive as its longevity, is the fact that the meet
continues to produce and showcase some of the country’s top athletes.
This year is no exception.


The Boys state track and field tournament is the longest running OHSAA state championship event in Ohio. This weekend marks the 102nd running of the boys meet and the 35th rendition of the girls championships.

Just as impressive as its longevity, is the fact that the meet continues to produce and showcase some of the country’s top athletes. This year is no exception.

Several of the nation’s top performers will participate in the state meet this weekend at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Some of them you may see in a few more years at the Olympics. Ohio is that loaded with track talent.

Here is a look at 14 performers to keep an eye on – if you can – this weekend.

Erin Pendleton, Elmore Woodmore, Discus/Shot Put:
Pendleton, who is headed to Michigan, is looking to add to her family’s legacy. Erin’s older sister Emily won four straight D-III discus titles (2004-07) while Erin won last year. This should be the sixth straight year a Pendleton has been atop the podium in the discus. Erin’s best effort this spring (167-6, which came at this past weekend’s Tiffin Regional), is the second farthest high school throw in the country. Erin already owns the state meet record (168-10), which she set last year. She has no equal in Ohio.

Erik Kynard, Toledo Rogers, High Jump/Long Jump:
Senior owns the state’s best high jump (7-3.5) and long jump (24-3) marks this season. Kynard’s high jump mark is the all-time state record and ranks second nationally this spring for high school. He’s headed to Kansas State.

Mahagony Jones, Cleveland Rhodes, Sprints:
Senior owns Ohio’s and the Midwest’s top 100 (11.34), 200 (24.13) and 400 (54.26) times this season according to Dyestat.com.

Danny Neff, Vandalia-Butler, Middle Distance:
Defending D-I state champion in the 1,600 is a threat to repeat and add the 800 title. A Georgia recruit, Neff owns the state’s fastest 1,600 (4:12.20) time this spring (also national Top 10) and has gone 1:53.1 in the 800.

Jalesha Jarmon, Cincinnati Withrow, Relays/Long Jump:
Jarmon is a part of Withrow’s outstanding 1,600 relay and is respectable in the open 400, but she makes most of her noise in the long jump where she owns the state’s top mark this spring (19-3.75).

Stephanie Morgan, Barnesville, Middle Distance/Distance:
Senior is the state’s top small school distance runner since Minster’s Sunni Olding. Morgan, who is headed to Baylor, owns Ohio’s top 800 (2:08.2), 1,600 (4:45.52) and 3,200 (10:35.40) times this spring. She’ll compete in the 800 and 1,600 at state. She already holds the D-III state records in both events with times of 2:09.87 and 4:45.21, respectively. Both of those are also state meet records.

Kevin Leland, Greenville, Pole Vault:
After finishing fifth at the regional as a sophomore and junior, Leland set a new Division I state record at the Dayton regional with vault of 16-1 this spring. Only one other vaulter in the state is within seven inches of him this season.

D.J Duke, Hannibal River, Shot Put:
Senior and Ashland recruit has the state’s top shot put throw this season (66-10.5), which is also a new D-III state record and the sixth best mark nationally this spring. He should smash the current D-III state meet record of 62-0.75, which has stood since 1981.

Blake Heriot, Gahanna Lincoln, Sprints:
Junior flash is scheduled to appear in four events at state – the 100, 200, 400 and 1,600 relay. Heriot owns the state’s fastest 200 time (21.34) and is ranked No. 2 in the 100 (10.56) and 400 (47.25). 

Shaun Joplin, Sylvania Southview, High Jump/Long Jump:
If it wasn’t for Kynard, Joplin would be the favorite for a sweep of the D-I high jump and long jump. The Bowling Green football recruit has the state’s second best jumps in both events behind Kynard this season. He’s gone 7-0 in the high jump and 24-0 in the long jump.

Justin Welch, Pemberville Eastwood, Discus:
Junior thrower owns the state’s best discus mark this spring (198-6), which ranks sixth nationally. Welch, who owns six throws over 190, could surpass 200 at the state meet.

Mathew Hoty, Sandusky Perkins, Shot Put:
The defending D-II state champion set a new state record this past weekend with a heave of 64-8.25 at the Lexington Regional. That mark is the seventh farthest throw in the nation this year. Hoty already holds the D-II state meet record.

Katie Nageotte, Olmsted Falls, Pole Vault:
Senior tied the overall state record and set a new D-I standard this past weekend by clearing 13-0. That mark is the second best in the country this spring.

Taylor Burke, Medina, High Jump:
Sophomore has established herself as one of country’s best in the event already. Her best effort this spring (5-10) ranks sixth nationally and leads Ohio. Burke went 5-11 at the indoor state meet in March.

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