COLUMBUS – Athletes from Ansonia, Arcanum, Franklin Monroe, Greenville and Versailles competed at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet on Friday at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Versailles turned in Darke County’s best performance of day one of the state track and field meet Friday as the Lady Tigers finished sixth with a time of 4:03.80 in the Division II girls 4×400 meter relay. The sixth place finish for the quartet of junior Haley Winner, freshman Kayley Ruschau, senior Taylor Winner and sophomore Camille Watren earned them one of nine spots in Saturday’s state championship race.
In other results, Greenville’s quartet of seniors Bailey Hartle, Sam Harper, Jacob Butsch and Aaron Balsbaugh finished 14th in the Division I boys 4×800 meter relay with a time of 8:08.24.
“I think it was pretty awesome that we made it here,” Harper said. “It was pretty disappointing how it ended, but at least we made it to the end.”
The Green Wave faced adversity early in the race as their lead runner, Hartle, was bumped and stepped on the inside rail of the track, causing him to fall.
“Can’t do much about getting pushed, stepping on that center riser, falling,” Balsbaugh said. “Can’t do much about that. I thought we raced real well besides that.”
While the result was disappointing, the Greenville runners enjoyed getting to run at the state meet.
“It’s pretty cool,” Hartle said. “I wouldn’t imagine myself here two years ago even.”
And with all four Greenville runners being seniors, they had the opportunity to end their high school careers on the biggest stage in Ohio.
“There’s not many athletes that get this opportunity,” Balsbaugh said. “So to be one of the few athletes that do, it feels really good.”
Franklin Monroe sophomore Nicole Berry placed 11th with a throw of 37 feet 1.5 inches and Arcanum junior Erica Zimmer placed 13th with a throw of 36 feet 8 inches in the Division III girls shot put.
Ansonia sophomore Lydia Sink placed 12th in the Division III girls high jump with a jump of 5 feet 2 inches, tying her personal best mark.
Ansonia sophomore Heath Barga placed 15th in the Division III boys discus with a throw of 138 feet 8 inches.
Versailles freshman Josh Steinbrunner finished 10th in the preliminaries of the Division III boys 110 meter hurdles. In his first trip to the state meet, his time of 15.39 was just 0.05 off qualifying for finals.
“I feel like I did pretty good,” the Versailles freshman said. “My start, though, was a little slow I thought. I feel like I might have been able to go faster, but I feel like I did pretty good overall.”
Versailles’ squad of Haley Winner, freshman Cassie Peters, Taylor Winner and Watren finished 10th in the preliminaries of the Division girls II 4×200 meter relay in a time of 1:45.39.
Versailles’ Watren finished 11th in the preliminaries of the Division II girls 400 meter dash with a time of 59.91.
Versailles’ team of Peters, Taylor Winner, senior Valerie Francis and Haley Winner finished 12th in the preliminaries of the Division II girls 4×100 meter relay with a time of 50.34.
It was really fun and exciting to compete at state, Peters said.
“It just really gets you pumped up because there’s like everybody in the crowd and when you’re running on the home stretch they’re really cheering,” Peters said. “There’s lots of motivation.”
Versailles’ quartet of freshman Trevor Noggle, sophomore Noah Pleiman, sophomore Mitchell Paulus and senior Richie Ware finished 13th in the Division III boys 4×800 meter relay.
“I wish we could have placed a little higher,” Ware said. “I’m really happy with the relay team. It’s a great accomplishment to make it this far.”
The Versailles boys finished the 4×800 meter race with a time of 8:19.01.
“It was sweet,” Noggle said. “It was an experience like no other honestly. I came out here expecting a lot of tough competition. I got what I expected here. There were some tough runners the first leg.”
It was a goal all season for the Tigers to make it to state in the relay, Pleiman said, and he was thankful the coaches had them peaking last week so they could run well at the regionals and advance to the state meet.
“It was pretty cool,” Pleiman said of running in Columbus. “The energy was just really high. And right before our race it just got really super nervous because the girls started running and the giant Jumbotron was showing the race, and it really set in. Man, we’re running at state. It was a really awesome experience.”
With three of the relay members being underclassmen and experiencing the state meet for the first time, they were happy to gain the experience and think it will help them later on in their careers.
“This place is just crazy,” Paulus said. “Compared to every other level in track I’ve ran at, it’s just a whole different ballgame. You just try to keep up with guys, and today wasn’t our day, but hopefully we can get it next time.”
Versailles’ team of Taylor Winner, sophomore Emily Langenkamp, senior Murphy Grow and junior Madison Grilliot finished 16th in the Division II girls 4×800 meter relay.
“It was really incredible,” Grilliot said of running at state. “I’m really thankful for my teammates at regionals. We really took off a lot of time to get us here. It’s just an incredible way to finish the season.”
The Versailles girls finished the race in 9:59.95.
“It felt great to run here in Columbus,” Langenkamp said. “It’s a great experience to come and run for the 4×8 team. You don’t usually get this chance so I liked it. It was fun.”
For Grow, the 4×800 meter relay race marked the end of her high school career. She was proud to represent Versailles at state in her final meet, she said.
“It’s amazing,” Grow said. “I guess it’s surreal being able to have my last race here.”