What a difference a year makes.
Last spring, Olentangy Orange’s Jaeschel Acheampong missed out on a spot on the podium by a quarter of an inch — a quarter of an inch — finishing ninth in the state in the Division I boys long jump.
This year, though, thanks to a leap of 24-02.75 at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships Saturday at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the junior earned a spot on top of it.
“It feels good,” Acheampong said of winning the title. “I’m not gonna lie … it feels unreal.
“This year I was more focused on staying within my own jump and not worrying about anyone else. Usually I will let other people’s jumps get into my head, but this time I stayed relaxed and went and did my thing.”
He didn’t have much time to let other people’s jumps mess with his head anyway, as his best came on his first attempt.
“It felt normal,” he said of the winning jump. “I felt relaxed throughout it. I expected it to be a 23-mid, but I popped a 24 … it felt good and got it done.”
He got it done with relative ease, too. Lake Catholic senior DelMario Hairston finished second with an effort of 23-08.50 — a full half a foot behind — while Mansfield Senior’s Angelo Grose smoothed out the top three with a mark of 23-07.25.
Acheampong was the only Delaware County athlete to reach the top of the podium, but certainly wasn’t the only one to earn a spot.
A couple of his teammates came close to nabbing state bragging rights as the Pioneers’ Grace Frye finished second in the girls discus, closing with a throw of 145-10; and Andrew Schroff nabbed runner-up honors in the boys 1,600 thanks to a time of 4:15.71.
Other state placers included Olentangy Liberty’s Luke Bendick, who was third in the boys pole vault with a mark of 15-10; Orange’s Alex Kenish, who was fifth in the boys 800 in 1:53.47; Big Walnut’s Kaley Rammelsberg, who cleared 5-04 to finish tied for seventh in the girls high jump; Orange’s Sara Borton, who closed seventh in the girls pole vault after clearing 12-0; the Pioneers’ Jonathan Petersen, who tied for eighth in the boys pole vault with an effort of 14-06; and Olentangy’s Alexis Brookshire, who was eighth in the girls 3,200 in 10:49.93.
Other area standouts in action included Olentangy Liberty’s Gavin Smith, who finished 11th in the D-I boys long jump (21-01.75); Orange’s Anna Grabau and Allison Guagenti, who finished 16th in the D-I girls discus (115-11) and 10th in the D-I girls 1,600 (5:06.38), respectively; and Olentangy’s Cade Carter, who finished 11th in the D-I boys pole vault (14-06).
And that’s just Division I.
In Division II action, Buckeye Valley’s Chloe Dawson made the most noise, earning a place on the podium with a sixth-place performance in the girls 3,200 (11:12.32). Also, Olentangy Berlin’s Olivia Neidhardt finished 14th in the girls 1,600 (5:24.75) and Buckeye Valley’s Chloe Gibson closed 13th in the girls long jump (15-07.50) Saturday afternoon.
Finally, in D-III, Village Academy’s Amelia Cameron finished 11th in the girls 3,200 (11:58.13).