Last year at this time, Buckeye Valley’s Joey Verdes was getting ready for summer break.
This year, though — his first as a track and field athlete — he’s getting ready for the upcoming state championship at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Verdes punched his ticket Thursday afternoon, finishing third in the boys long jump at the Division II regional championship meet at Lexington High School.
The senior’s best effort came on his fourth attempt, when he sailed 21-05 — a mark four inches behind that of runner-up Angelo Ricci (Columbus DeSales) and a foot or so in back of champion Dorian Holida (Willard).
“Joey has a combination of athletic ability and being very receptive and quick to learn from his coaches,” BV coach Nate Ritz said. “This is his first year ever competing in track and field, so everything is new to him … he’s just learning as the season goes.
“He’s a great kid and our coaches do a great job with him.”
Verdes has a chance to qualify for states in the high jump Saturday. He enters the event with a seed mark of 6-0.
Thursday’s other finals involving BV athletes took place on the track. The Barons’ girls 3,200-meter relay team (Jia Radloff, Ashley Beatty, Chloe Dawson and Bailey Kreft) finished ninth with an effort of 10:06.55 while BV’s boys 3,200-meter relay team (Bill Daily, Charlie Daily, Gavin Shearer and Zach Kreft) finished seventh in 8:08.19.
DeSales 19, Buckeye Valley 3 (Division II, Region 7 championship),
New Albany 10, Olentangy Liberty 8 (Division I, Region 1 championship).