First day of state track and field meet provides excitement, record-setting performances


Delta’s Korbin Smith had a big opening day in the 2009 state track and field meet (Photo by Gary Housteau)

The starting gun fired on the 102nd Boys and 35th
Annual Girls State Track and Field Tournaments Friday at Ohio State’s
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and fans were treated to some exciting and record-setting performances.
The following are the headlines made in the first day of

COLUMBUS – The starting gun fired on the 102nd Boys and 35th
Annual Girls State Track and Field Tournaments Friday at Ohio State’s
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium and fans were treated to some exciting and record-setting performances.

The following are the headlines made from the first day of

Tiger Power

Memories in sports are short and the Versailles girls 4×800 relay team remembered
last year’s second place finish in Division III all too well.

The Tigers traded the silver for the gold Friday edging Gates Mills
Gilmour Academy

clocking a 9:12.92 run.

“Coming out here today, everyone was aware of what we could
do,” senior Mary Prakel said. “We came in sixth or seventh ahead of Gilmour and
look what happened. Anyone can move up and I am glad we had a good anchor over
here to help us out.”

Senior Mindy Henry anchored the race.

Also claiming gold was senior and Dayton recruit Christine Borchers in the
D-III girls shot put with a toss of 44-0.5 – a personal best.

“Everybody was having a hard time hitting 40 (feet) today so it
kind of gave me a little bit of confidence,” said Borchers. “If they can’t do
that then it gives me a little bit of a boost.”

Borchers finished fifth in the discus event.

“My goal after discus was to just stay clam and keep my
nerves down,” she said. “Last year I kind of freaked because I didn’t have a
good day at discus and let that affect me (in the shot put). This year I was determined to keep
myself calm and look at it as a normal meet.”

Borchers led going into the finals.

“It calmed me down because that is what I was used to all
year. I was able to keep that going,” she said.

Borchers finished her high school career undefeated in the
shot on the season.

“I didn’t think that was even going to happen,” she said. “Working
year-round, something was bound to happen and it was going to be a good thing.”

Long Time Coming

The last time Kirtland won a state track title, none of
runners on the 4×800 relay team were born.

Now, the Hornets are golden.

Kirtland outlasted favorite Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas in
the event clocking a 7:53.90 to win the state title.

“(It means) everything for us, for our coaches and our
school,” Dominic Samf said. “Our coach (Jim Pilewski) is a great coach and he
has been working with us really hard and pushes us throughout the season. He
wants us (to get a personal record) every meet whether or not we have

Kirtland led the race wire-to-wire.

“We wanted to give our anchor (Julius Pilijevas) a good lead,”
said senior Peter Davidson. “I think we did that.”

Cavalier Effort

Junior Katie Davis claimed the gold in the D-II girls high
jump with a 5-4 effort. A jump she didn’t think would win a state title.

And she was just happy to make the podium.

“I was here my freshman and sophomore year and I didn’t even
place on the podium, so this is ridiculously exciting,” she said.

In the regionals, Davis
leaped 5-2.

“I figured 5-6 or 5-8 would definitely win. I never though
5-4 would win it,” she said.

missed her first attempt at the 5-4 mark but cleared the second.

“After the other competitors had taken three attempts
already, I knew I had it,” Davis
said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Pirate Repeat

Matthew Hoty is used to being on the top of the podium.

The Sandusky Perkins junior defended his D-II state title by
surviving an upset bid from Kettering Alter’s Chris Borland in the shot put

Borland went 61-0.75 but Hoty’s best heave was 61-3.25.

“It was an alright day,” Hoty said. “I didn’t throw as far
as I wanted. I had a couple big (throws) in warm-ups and I got a little tense.
But I won and I defended it so I was happy.”

Last year Hoty set the D-II state meet record with a winning
put of 62-0.25. Earlier this season, Hoty set the D-II state
with a mark of 64-8.25. That throw ranks seventh in
the country

“All year we do the same routine, so coming in I tried to do
the same routine but just didn’t do it in the meet,” he said.

Still, it was good enough for the gold.

“I knew if I threw the way I had been throwing the last few weeks there was a
good chance I would win,” he said.

So, is there a three-peat on the horizon?

“I am going to try for it. I hope so,” Hoty said.


Speaking Of Repeats…

Delta senior and Ohio
recruit Korbin
Smith claimed his second straight D-II long jump state title with a 23-7 leap.

He edged Josh Hoodlebrink of Pemberville Eastwood by less
than a foot.

“The last two years, Josh and I have competed
back-and-forth. I lost junior year in indoor state to him. It was good motivation
to get out there and jump,” Smith said.

Smith fouled several times on his jumps Friday.

“I was just a little inconsistent,” he said. “I had that
wind at my back and it was picking up and slowing down and that threw it off a
little bit. But I got enough jumps in to make it count.”

As for his second straight gold medal, Smith said, “It feels
good. I was a little worried coming in. I knew Josh and a couple of other guys
were right up there. I knew if I could jump 23 (feet) I felt pretty confident.”

Later in the day, Smith finished first in the 400-meter
preliminary event clocking a 48.01.

Golden Eagle

Hanoverton United sophomore Victoria Bates tossed the discus
122-11 last week in the regionals to earn a spot in the state meet and claimed
the gold in D-II with a 122-10 throw Friday

“I never thought 122 would win it,” Bates said. “I was
trying to get farther and father to try and get the school record (130) but I popped
that 122 out there and that was enough to win it.

“I thought 130 would win it.”

Bates’ gold marks the first state title for United Track in
ten years.

“(Winning state) was my goal and it is always possible but
it is even better when it works out,” she said. “It still hasn’t hit me yet. I
definitely thought I was going to throw father than that.”

Though she won the gold in the discus, Bates didn’t get the
opportunity in the shot put event failing to qualify for the state meet.

“It was a good way to end the season especially since I
didn’t make it in (the shot put). I told the coaches I didn’t want one of those
bronze-colored medals. I wanted a shiny one,” she laughed.

“I was really proud today.”

High-Flying Eagle

Pemberville Eastwood’s Crosby Schemenauer finished second in
the D-II pole vault event last year and was looking to take the next step this
year to claim the gold.


Schemenauer won the gold with a 15-3 vault edging rival
Jamey Robson of Mansfield Ontario by three inches.

“I think I was favored coming in but I got nervous after
people kept going higher and higher,” Schemenauer said. “I thought they would
be out earlier but they weren’t.”

Schmenauer and Robson tied in the regionals at 15-4.

“Last meet we tied on 15-4 but I won on misses,” Schemenauer recounted. “He is capable of getting pretty high, too.”

After he clinched, Schemenauer missed on three attempts at

“I have been hitting 15-plus consistently and I was feeling
good,” he said. “15-6 – I was getting tired but I was just vaulting to make
sure I won for the team to get the points.”

Schemnauer plans on running club track at Bowling Green next year.  

Knights’ Time

After a year hiatus, the Kettering Alter Knights hung the
gold around their necks in the D-II 4×800 with a 9:17.10 effort.

Anchor leg Catherine Crisler, now a senior, was part of the
state title team as a sophomore.

“When I was running I was thinking this would be the last
800 I would get to run with these girls so I had to make it my best,” Crisler

Sophomores Ashley Rodgers and Rebecca Esselstein with
freshman Olivia Albers set the tone for the race for Crisler’s final leg.

“We definitely knew we could do it but it was going to take
all of us together and we needed to have a good race,” Crisler said. “Looking
at the times coming in, we knew it was something in our range.

“They will be able to win it again.”

Crisler plans on running cross country and track at Loyola (Chicago).


Familiar Foes

and Napoleon have been two of the top long distance teams all season so it was
fitting the D-II boys 4×800 came down to the Bulldogs and Wildcats.

edged Napoleon by just over a second to earn the gold medal in the event
clocking a 7:57.24 Friday. Napoleon had a 7:58.36.

“It was pretty typical to have Napoleon and Defiance up in front on the last leg,” said
senior anchor leg runner Zac Wiles. “It was a picture perfect day to run and a
great day for all of us.”

And Wiles preferred running against a team Defiance had face so many times this season.

“I think it gives you some confidence going in that you know
they have played their hand and they don’t have anymore tricks up their sleeves
and they are not hiding anything from us,” he said. “I think that gave us some

Rebel With A Cause

Columbiana Crestview senior Jakob Leon came to the state track meet
with a purpose. He wanted to win the D-III high jump state title in his fourth
trip to Columbus.

The fourth time was a charm.

won the gold with a 6-10 jump leaping four inches higher than second place Matt
Sindelar of New Bremen.

“Fourth year being down here, to come out with a state title
is really just amazing,” Leon
said. “It gives you some motivation because you have been down here and it
would be real nice to go out with a bang.”

Leon, an Akron
recruit, attempted 7-0 in the meet.

“I thought I had it and people started cheering and then (the bar) fell,” he said. “It is kind of disappointing but college is next year and I
will get more shots at it.”


’s D.J Duke went
home empty-handed his sophomore year in the D-III state shot put.

Now, the senior has two gold medals.

Duke broke his own state record and the state meet record with a heave of
68-8.25 Friday. That mark is the fifth farthest in the country this spring by a
high school athlete.

“It feels great. I came out with the goal to hit 70 and I
came as close as I possibly could and it feels great today,” Duke said.

Duke’s old personal record was 66-10.25, which was also the
old state record. The old D-III state meet record of 62-0.75 was set by
Smithville’s Larry Kolic in 1981.

Duke, who won last year’s D-III title with a 60-foot throw,
is headed to Ashland

“I came in with a goal and tried my best at it.”

The crowd applauded enthusiastically when his record-setting
toss was announced as Duke stood on the top spot on the podium.

“It sent shivers down my spine when everyone applauded. It
felt pretty great. I am going to miss it,” he said.


Tipp City Bethel senior Kylie Kopp saved her best for last.

In the finals of the D-III girls long jump, Kopp recorded a
17-11.25 to earn the gold medal.

“I didn’t expect anything like this,” she said. “I wanted it
but I think I could have had a little more confidence. You just get so nervous.”

As for her finals performance, Kopp said, “I knew I needed
use my adrenaline. My legs were tired and all I knew was I need to run faster
and jump harder and farther. That was all that mattered.”

Kopp failed to place as a freshman and sophomore and missed
her junior season due to injury.

“I think God is finally rewarding me. I have been praying to
him a lot lately,” she laughed. “I worked really hard to finally get a medal
and I am glad it is gold.”

Kopp also qualified for Saturday’s 100-meter hurdles
(33-inch) event for another shot at a state title Saturday for the Bees.  

“I never hurdled my entire life until this year,” she said. “I
love hurdling and I am glad I qualified.”

Kopp clinched the gold with her second to last jump on the

“I didn’t use the board as much as I could have but I hit it
as hard as I could and I got really high,” she said. “I just knew by my whole
family’s reaction that it was a good jump and I was happy about that.”


Keeping The Tradition

Elmore Woodmore senior Erin Pendleton won the D-III discus
event last season with a toss of 168-10 but she only needed 160-00 Friday to
claim her second gold.

All told, between Pendleton and her older sister Emily, the
Woodmoore products have now notched six straight D-III discus titles.

“I am happy that I kept the tradition going. Six years is
awesome and I am really excited I won two times,” the younger Pendleton said.
“I am sad that high school is done and this is the last meet but I am looking
forward to college.”

Erin will join Emily, who was in attendance Friday, at Michigan this fall.

“We get along really well,” said Emily. “We’re good training
partners and we’ve been throwing with each other ever since we were little.”

Pendleton’s farthest throw this spring (167-6) is the second
farthest in the country by a high school girl.

She was the heavy favorite coming into Friday but Pendleton
didn’t think the title was automatic.

“You can never say that you are going to win something
because everyone has an opportunity to win,” she said. “I just wanted to come
in and try and do my best.”

Vaulting Onto The

In her first trip to Columbus,
North Baltimore freshman Amanda Hotaling
vaulted her way to a D-III pole vault state title with an 11-8 performance.

Although, she never expected winning the state championship
at the beginning of the season.

“I didn’t think (I would win) but it was one of my goals and
I am glad I accomplished it,” she said. “It was a rough start getting back into
the swing of things but I worked hard and it paid off.”

Hotaling tied her personal record with the winning jump
tallying the same height she recorded in the Midland Athletic League championship.

In the regionals, she vaulted 10-4.

“I was like, oh boy, what did I get myself into,” Hotaling said
about making it to Columbus.
“I just wanted to come in with an open mind and a fresh start and it was just
another meet.

“I just went out and vaulted.”


Rocky River Magnificat didn’t even make it to the podium in
the D-I girls 4×800 last season but the 9:09.42 time the Blue Steaks clocked
Friday would have won the gold.

More importantly, it won the gold this season.

“It is kind of sinking in. It is just really exciting right
now,” junior Madeline Chambers said after the race.

Chambers ran the anchor leg of the event.

“I am really proud of my teammates. I just tried to finish
it off and run as fast as I could to finish,” she said.

With all members of the relay team coming back next season,
could a repeat be possible?

“Hopefully,” Chambers said.

Making Up Ground

The Glenville 4×800 team found itself in fifth place halfway
through the D-I final but the Tarblooders turned on the jets to claim the gold

“I feel pretty good. I ran hard,” said senior Marvel Brooks,
who ran the anchor leg of the event.  

“We know our second leg is our weak leg so we were trying
not to be in that situation.”

A perennial favorite to win the D-I overall team title, the
Glenville reladyteam did not come into the event as the favorite.

“We had a lot of confidence and knew we were going to win,”
Brooks said. “We had a lot of people doubt us and saying we were a fluke. So,
our main goal was to prove everybody was wrong about us and that we are a good


Familiar Territory

Anna high-jumper Laura Gehret set the D-III state record
last season with a 5-8.25 jump and defended her state title Friday with a jump of

She is also a state champion in volleyball.

“It is totally different,” she said. “With volleyball, you
do it as a team. Everybody has to work together but with the high jump that is
totally individual. You can’t rely on anyone else to pull you through. You have
to do it all yourself. It is really cool because it is all you.”

Gehret felt added
pressure this season after standing atop the podium last year.

“I had a lot of confidence but I was still really nervous,”
she said. “I knew I was capable. It was just a matter of following through.”

Once she won Friday, she could breathe easier.

“There was so much pressure off. After getting the title
last year, you feel like you have to do it again,” she said. “There was just so
much pressure off.”

Green Tidal Wave

The D-III boys discus competition was green with envy thanks
to Newark Catholic junior Clay Harris and senior Luke Webster.

Harris won the gold with a 166-7 throw and Webster placed
fifth with a toss of 160-8.

“It started (to sink in) when they announced it,” said Harris
of his state title performance. “I was hoping (I would win). I thought if was
going to happen in either event it would be discus. I wasn’t 100 percent sure

Said Webster: “I was hoping for the podium but to call
something like that is bold. There were a lot of nice distances today. I came
in and wanted to throw well today and I did and got to the podium and it was

Harris felt good about Newark Catholic’s chances coming into
the meet.

“I thought if both of us threw how we were capable we would
both get to the podium,” he said. “I thought there was a real good chance.”

Personal Best

Mineral Ridge sophomore Dan Skiba also saved his best for

Skiba set a personal and school record with a 22-10.75 long
jump in D-III to claim the gold medal Friday.

“I (got a personal record) by a whole foot, which surprised
me,” he said.

Skiba tallied a 21-11 earlier in the season.

“I never thought I would get close to it again,” he said. “I
never thought I would go 22 feet. I don’t know if it was just the adrenaline
rush from being at state or what. I would have been happy with making the

With two more years of high school left, Skiba is now the
jumper to beat.

“It is kind of nerve-racking now because there will be a lot
of pressure and expectations for next year. But it hasn’t sunk in.”

Senior Salute

Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic senior Alex Slattery
finished second in the D-III pole vault last season.

This season, he is a gold medalist.

Slattery vaulted 15-0 to claim the state title.

“My goal was to get 15 and I finally got it,” he said. “My
main goal was to win state but those were my two main goals. To get the both
toady was amazing.”

Slattery also ran in the qualifying 4×100 earlier in the

“That was good warm-up,” he said. “I felt a little tight
coming in but I pulled through and stayed warmed up.”

Slattery felt he had a good chance of winning this year
after finishing second to state record holder Heath Nickles (Columbus Grove) last

“I felt confident but there were six or seven guys that were
right with me,” he said.

The 15-0 performance was a personal record for the Akron recruit.

Setting The Record(s) Straight

Several state records were set Friday in the preliminary
track events including Steubenville Catholic Central in the D-III girls
4×200 (1:42.79) for the state meet record one week after setting the state
record (1:42.77). Cincinnati Withrow clocked a 1:37.71 in the D-I 4×200 relay and also claimed the stadium record in the 4×100 (47.15).

Columbus Bishop Hartley notched the record in the girls 4×100 relay (47.20) for
the state and meet records in D-II.

Gahanna Lincoln junior Blake Heriot set the stadium record in the boys
200-meter clocking a 21.41.

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