Carey athletes Larick, Newell place in top 4 of their events
TIFFIN — Carey qualified two athletes to state and still has a chance to advance several others after a strong start to competition at the Division III regional track and field meet at Tiffin Columbian on Wednesday.
Dana Newell took third place in the girls high jump and Cory Larick was fourth in the boys pole vault to each qualify for return trips to the state meet. A number of other athletes also are in position to move on by qualifying high in the preliminaries held on the first day.
Larick, who placed sixth in the state meet last year, cleared 14-4 to take the final state spot from a tough regional. He did finish a foot ahead of fifth place while the winner, Old Fort’s Nathan Alexander, topped out at 15-0.
“It’s nice to have Cory go back another year,” Carey assistant coach Stan Stombaugh said. “He’s more relaxed this year and I think he can go pretty well this year, I hope. … Our region is pretty tough and to get out of our region is a pretty good accomplishment itself. His goal all year has been to get down to state a second time.”
Newell, who qualified for the state meet in the high jump as a freshman but missed last year, cleared 5-3. Columbus Grove’s Riley Eversole went 5-5 to earn the win in the event. Newell easily made it into the state field by 3 inches.
Carey’s Taylor Decker reached the finals in the shot put, but in a tough regional, her personal-best throw of 36-9.5 was not even good enough to place. In two of the other three regionals, that distance actually would have been good enough to qualify for state.
The Blue Devils also reached the finals in all three sprint relays and two of them appear to be in the mix for state qualifying. The 800 relay team of Oriana Billock, Lauren Wenner, Gwen Wentling and Amber Spurlock had the fourth-best preliminary time of 1:48.09, while the same girls were fifth in the 400 relay in 50.86.
The 1600 relay team of Wentling, Jenna Jesko, Joanna Worst and Spurlock qualified seventh in 4:15.00.
“Taylor’s thrown the best she’s ever thrown,” Carey coach John Knickel said. “What more can you ask? … My 4-by-4 ran their best time. We didn’t feel bad about anything we did. It’s just an incredible regional. … We got the best out of everybody, so we’re very pleased with our girls.”
Carey’s 3200 relay team of Bo Underwood, Jaclyn Troiano, Worst and Jesko was 11th in 10:33.97.
For Wynford, Corri Ruffener was in top form, winning her heat in both the 100 and 300 hurdles.
She was more than six-tenths of a second faster than anyone else from either heat in the 100 hurdles, posting a time of 15.40. Her 46.50 time in the 300 hurdles was bettered only slightly by Edon’s Sydney Stoll, but Ruffener had a commanding lead in her heat and did not have to push, especially with the 1600 relay still to run.
“She was excited to run,” Wynford coach Julie Crall said. “She just hasn’t had a whole lot of people right with her to push her. She knew the Horn girls (Ivy and Morgan from Waynesfield-Goshen) would be here and that would be somebody pushing her and she ran very well.”
Unfortunately for Wynford, the 1600 relay team of Kristin Schiefer, Amber Gottfried, Ruffener and Ellie Richmond came up just short of qualifying for the finals, finishing with the ninth-best time of 4:16.10.
The Royals’ 400 relay team of Brooke Miller, Sarah Brown, Lydie Miller and Gottfried also missed the finals, finishing 15th in 53.26.
Gottfried, a sophomore, cleared 4-10 in the high jump to take seventh place.
Mohawk’s girls had just two events on the first day and the Warriors came up just shy of state qualifying in the 3200 relay, placing fifth. Julia Daniel, Ashley Parker, Kayla Risner and Lynsey Trusty finished in 10:04.73, but fourth-place Liberty Center pulled away on the final laps to get the final state spot in 9:52.26.
Even though the Warriors entered with the fourth-best time, coach Brock Cleveland knew his team would have to run really well to qualify for state because last year’s state champion Archbold posted a time well above its norm in district competition.
“I was kind of putting us fifth,” he said. “I figured if we could just hang around we could maybe move ourselves out. The kids ran well. We were right there. We were fifth and they finished and we didn’t, but I can’t fault the girls. We PR’d by about 10 seconds, so there’s not much you can do about that.”
Mohawk’s 1600 relay team of Erika Coldiron, Parker, Aubrie Flood and Risner placed 14th in 4:20.2.
Riverdale competed in only one event, with Sarah Hunter, Kristen Evans, Kelsey Pope and Karen Wise placing 13th in the preliminary of the 800 relay in 1:51.09.
Newell qualified for the regional in the shot put and Larick in the long jump, but both skipped those events to concentrate on their other events.
Preliminaries in the distance runs are not held and a number of athletes will have their chances in those finals Friday, including Mohawk’s Julia Daniel and Heather Daniel and Riverdale’s Hannah Frey in the 3200 run, Wynford’s Ellie Richmond in 1600 run and Mohawk’s Lynsey Trusty and Carey’s Brandon Distel in the 800 run.
Taking part in field events will be Decker and Wynford’s Samantha Lambert in the discus and Carey’s Tommy Arredondo in the high jump.
Field events are set to start at 4 p.m. Friday. The finals in running events begin at 5 p.m. with the girls 100 hurdles.
3200 relay: 13. Carey (B. Distel, Leist, Kromer, A. Distel), 9:00.36.
Pole vault: 4. Larick (C), 14-4.
400 relay: 13. Carey (Cusac, Larick, Arredondo, Saenthavisouk), 45.39.
3200 relay: 5. Mohawk (J. Daniel, A. Parker, Risner, Trusty), 10:04.73; 11. Carey (Underwood, Troiano, Worst, Jesko), 10:33.97.
Shot put: 9. Decker (C), 36-9.5.
High jump: 3. Newell (C), 5-3; 7. Gottfried (W), 4-10.
100 hurdles: 1. Ruffener (W), 15.40.
300 hurdles: 2. Ruffener (W), 46.50.
400 relay: 5. Carey (Spurlock, Billock, Wentling, Wenner), 50.86; 15. Wynford (B. Miller, Brown, L. Miller, Gottfried), 53.26.
800 relay: 4. Carey (Billock, Wenner, Wentling, Spurlock), 1:48.09; 13. Riverdale (Hunter, Evans, Pope, Kar. Wise), 1:51.61.
1600 relay: 7. Carey (Wentling, Jesko, Worst, Spurlock), 4:15.0; 9. Wynford (Schiefer, Gottfried, Ruffener, E. Richmond), 4:16.1; 14. Mohawk (Coldiron, A. Parker, Aub. Flood, Risner), 4:20.2.
By LONNIE McMILLAN