Area athletes sprint into state showcase


Thanks to solid regional showings, Welcome Stadium will welcome more than a few area standouts for the OHSAA state track and field championship meet, set to get underway Thursday afternoon in Dayton.

The OHSAA announced the move last October, citing construction at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The meet will return to Columbus in 2025 and 2026, but, for now, it’s off to Dayton for the likes of Olentangy Liberty’s Sophia Sampson and Delaware Hayes’ Malaya Sowell.

Both punched tickets thanks to top-four showings in the 100-meter dash at Friday’s Division I regional championship meet in Pickerington. Sampson nabbed runner-up honors in 12.25 seconds while Sowell finished fourth in 12.35 seconds. Sampson also advanced in the 200, finishing fourth in 25.26 seconds.

Other individual state qualifiers on the track included Olentangy Orange’s Brooke Chapman, who won a regional title in the 1,600 (4:57.22) and finished fourth in the 800 (2:13.42); the Pioneers’ Mairin O’Brien, who was fourth in the 1,600 (5:05.95); and Olentangy Liberty’s Elena Aldrink, who won the 3,200 (10:50.23).

The Patriots’ 4×100 (Kennedy Elfers, Natalie Nichols, Alexis Mitchem and Sampson) and 4×800 (Aldrink, Hannah Spires, Julia Bockenstette and Bridget Snider) relay teams finished fourth in respective efforts of 47.85 seconds and 9:31.76 to keep their seasons alive, Delaware Hayes’ 4×200 team (Tania Miles, Madie Gladden, Samantha Schomer and Sowell) closed third in 1:40.66 and Orange’s 4×800 quartet (O’Brien, Maddie Sharp, Clea Case and Chapman) finished second in 9:22.50.

In the field, Big Walnut’s Autumn Newman finished second in the shot put (38-7), Delaware Hayes’ Kara Glesenkamp was second in the high jump (5-5), Olentangy’s Chayla Rankin was third in the high jump (5-4) and Liberty’s Lila Bendick was third in the long jump (17-9.75).

On the boys’ side, state qualifiers included Orange’s Saketh Rudraraju, who won a regional title in the 3,200 (9:15.02); Hayes’ Chaz Sakala, who was fourth in the 100 (10.90 seconds); Orange’s Nick Robinson, who was third in the 200 (21.88 seconds); Olentangy’s Zach Griffith, who was fourth in the 400 (48.19 seconds); the Braves’ Hugh Jacobsmeyer, who was second in the 800 (1:52.54); Olentangy Berlin’s Miles King, who was second in the 300 hurdles (37.60 seconds); the Pioneers’ Matthew Schroff, who was fourth in the 1,600 (4:12.86); and Big Walnut’s Justin Gneiting, who finished fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.73 seconds).

Orange won a regional title in the 4×100 relay as Kaiden Kraus, Kobe Sharpe, Tom Leskovich and Robinson joined forces to cross the line first in 41.56 seconds. Olentangy did the same in the 4×400 relay as Jason Rettinger, Parker Reed, Jacobsmeyer and Griffith teamed up to finish in 3:19.19.

The Pioneers’ 4×400 relay team (Nick Herubin, Schroff, Ricky Tonelli-Floyd and Robinson) also kept its season alive, finishing fourth in 3:20.19.

Area teams had a lot of success in the 4×800 relay, too. Olentangy won the regional crown as Rettinger, Roman Corbett, Ty Munroe and Jacobsmeyer combined to finish in 7:44.49 while Orange finished fourth thanks to the 7:51.01 Rudraraju, Sahil Kandhari, Dylan Willis and Schroff combined to post.

In the field, Olentangy’s CJ Sanna won both throwing events. The sophomore took top honors in the shot put with a heave of 54-11.5 and picked up first-place points in the discus with a toss of 171-10.

In other action, Liberty’s Nate Hollingsworth won the high jump with an effort of 6-8 while Orange’s Levi Davis was fourth with a mark of 6-5.

At the Division II showcase in Lexington, Buckeye Valley’s girls 4×100 relay team finished third in 49.32 seconds to advance to the state meet. They’ll run again in the state prelims Friday at 10:30 a.m.

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