PIQUA – Versailles senior Jenna Frantz is back at the state pole vault — with a pole vault buddy and two sets of sisters will be among those making the trip to Columbus for the Lady Tigers.
And the Lady Tigers left Alexander Stadium/Purk Field Saturday with some hardware — and were just one point shy of even bigger hardware.
Cincinnati Indian Hills won the girls Division II track and field regionals with 55 points while Versailles was just one point back with 54.
And if you need to know what makes Coach Mike Goubeaux’s squad so successful, all you had to do was hear Ellen Peters talking after the 1,600 relay.
After narrowly missing advancing in the 300 hurdles, finishing fifth in 46.34; Peters anchored the 1,600 meter relay team (with Liz Watren, Camille Watren and Emily Langenkamp) to a third-place finish in 4:02.34.
“It was a little bitter Thursday that our 4×2 (800 relay) didn’t make the finals,” Ellen Peters said. “Honestly, I would rather go with my teammates (on a relay) than as an individual. Hopefully, we can make finals and get up on the podium.”
Frantz had a big day.
She won the pole vault, clearing 10 feet 10 inches; finished second in the long jump, jumping 18 feet 3 inches; and teamed with Lucy Prakel, Cassie Peters and Ava Moran for a third-place finish in the 400 relay in 50.92.
But, what probably had Frantz most excited was having Prakel, a freshman, finish second in the pole vault, also clearing 10 feet 10 inches.
“I have been wanting a pole vault buddy to go with me to Jesse Owens Stadium since I was a freshman,” Frantz said with a big smile. “I kept telling Lucy all year we were both going to be going to Jesse Owens (Stadium) to compete.”
Prakel never could have envisioned it at the start of the season.
“I have gained a foot and a half since the start of the season,” Prakel said. “I knew I had to get to 10-6 clean today (to get to state). I was feeling good and I was able to make 10-10.”
And while Frantz, might have liked to have gone higher, it didn’t matter.
“My goal for a while now has been 13 feet,” she said. “I really want to get that at state. I was just so pumped up today from doing well in the long jump and Lucy making it to state, I was blowing through my poles.
“What that means I had so much speed and adrenaline, I was getting to the bar before I could get up over it. I never expected to be going to state in three events. I am just excited to be going back to Jesse Owens as a senior.”
Versailles came in with the fastest time in 400 relay but finished third after a bad handoff in the last exchange.
“It doesn’t matter if we were first, third, or fourth,” Cassie Peters said, “as long as we are going to state. We just want to break the school record and get up on the podium.”
Moran, running the anchor, streaked down the backstretch to make sure Versailles had a top four finish.
“I knew I had to do it,” she said. “We had a little slip up (on the handoff). I was probably to blame for that. I had to make sure we made it to state.”
Camille Watren — after missing the postseason last year with a hamstring — is battling through another hamstring injury.
“It was really frustrating at the (Midwest Athletic Conference) meet when I went down with the hamstring,” she said.
But, she still pulled off a third place finish in the 400, 58.90, before running in the 1,600 relay.
“I knew it was going to be close (in the 400),” she said. “You just have to push yourself when you are coming down to the last 100 meters.”
Now, she will finish her career running with her sister on the 1,600 relay.
“It is so exciting to be going to state and running with my sister,” Liz Watren said. “We didn’t get to do much of that last year because of her injury.”
Camille Watren agreed.
“It is going to be great,” she said. “My final race of my high school career and I get to run with my sister.”
Langenkamp also was excited.
“I was really nervous before the race,” she said. “It is good to be going. Now, we want to make finals and get up on the podium. We were ninth last year and that is not where we want to be.”
Two Tiger boys win
In the boys Division II regional meet at Lexington, Josh Steinbrunner and Joe Spitzer both won regional titles to advance to state.
Steinbrunner won the 110 high hurdles in 14.66.
“That is a PR for Josh (Steinbrunner),” Goubeaux said. “That is where we want him to be. We just need to find a way to keep him running that fast and get into finals.”
Spitzer got some revenge on Mike Laughlin of Carroll in the 3,200, after electing to not run the 1,600.
Spitzer won the 3,200 in 9:25.26. Laughlin, who had beat Spitzer at district, finished second.
“Joe (Spitzer) was able to extract some revenge there,” Goubeaux said. “It is always a tough decision whether to run both races (1,600, 3,200). I feel like he could have qualified in both, but you are never sure what is going to happen.
“Joe (Spitzer) ran a great race. If he keeps running like that, he is going to come back with a medal next week (at state).”
The state meet is Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at 937-451-3334.