Versailles’ Joe Spitzer wins state championship at OHSAA track and field meet


Versailles has multiple placers in Division II state meet

By Skip Weaver - sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com



Joe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race.

Joe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race.


Rob Kiser | AIM Media Midwest

Ava Moran runs the final 100 meters for Versailles in the girls 400-meter relay. The Tigers placed eighth in the state in 49.74 seconds.


Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Versailles sophomore Lindsey Winner takes the baton from senior Ellen Peters during the girls 800-meter relay race on Saturday at the Division II state track and field meet in Columbus. The Tigers placed sixth in the event in 1:44.77.


Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Josh Steinbrunner competes in the boys 110-meter hurdles during the finals race on Saturday in Columbus. The senior placed fourth in the state.


Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Kenia McEldowney runs the final leg of the girls 1,600-meter relay race, helping lead her team to a third-place finish in the event.


Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Sophomore Lucy Prakel has a conversation with her coach Adam Schwartz after missing her second attempt at 11 feet 6 inches in the girls pole vault. Prakel got over the height on her third attempt and finished third in the state at 12 feet.


Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Joe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race.


Rob Kiser | AIM Media Midwest

COLUMBUS — Joe Spitzer made it look easy.

The Versailles senior had qualified for the Division II state meet in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs this past weekend, but he gave up the 1,600 to put all his effort into the longer 3,200, and it paid off.

Spitzer crossed the finish line nearly eight seconds ahead of Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft to claim the state title in 9 minutes 14.97 seconds on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. He stayed with the front runners for most of the eight-lap race and made his move on the final few laps.

“I still can’t believe it,” Spitzer said. “This is such an amazing end to my career. In my whole high school career I had that dream of getting a state title, and the last race of my career I finally did it. It’s just amazing and such an honor.

“Running in the heat sucks,” he continued. “But we all had to run through it. You just have to run the best you can, and it all worked out for me today.”

Spitzer said he knew after last week’s regional meet that he was not going to run in the 1,600 even though he qualified in it. It was all part of his plan.

“Zach Kreft is an amazing miler, and I was hoping he’d run that and then would have that race on his legs,” Spitzer said. “I just wanted to stay with the lead pack in the 2 mile for about five or six laps and then begin to put some distance on them and then give whatever I had left on the final lap. This is just amazing. I can’t believe how good this feels.”

Fellow Versailles senior Josh Steinbrunner placed in one of the three events he qualified in for state. On Saturday, the defending state champion in the 110-meter hurdles finished fourth in the event this year with a time of 14.51 seconds.

“I ran my own PR so I can’t really complain,” Steinbrunner said. “I did hit some hurdles, and that slowed me down, but I’m just proud of everybody who beat me. Congratulations to them. They all raced their hearts out.

“I didn’t really feel any pressure coming in as the defending state champ in this event, but I think that false start kind of got to all of us.”

Steinbrunner also placed 11th in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, and he was 11th in the 300 hurdles (39.68). It was his first time to state in those two events.

Senior AJ Ahrens got the state meet started on the right foot for the Tigers when he earned a spot on the podium in boys shot put during Friday’s first day of competition. Ahrens’ best toss was 51 feet 9.25 inches, which earned sixth place in the Division II state event.

“I’ve never had this feeling before,” Ahrens said. “It’s a first time for me placing at state. I wish I had it more when I was younger, but it’s a great feeling.

“I feel like I could have done a little better. I was trying to go after our school record of 52-10, but I fell just short of that. I’m still happy I made podium,” he added.

Seniors Kyle Jones and Luke Shellhaas also competed at state for the Tigers. Jones placed 15th in the long jump (19-11.5), and Shellhaas finished with a no height in the pole vault.

On the girls side, sophomore Lucy Prakel was the highest-finishing individual for Versailles. She placed third in the pole vault with a height of 12 feet.

“My two goals were to place in the top three and to jump 12 feet,” Prakel said. “I achieved both of those so I am super happy about that.”

She also doubled PR’d with 11-8 and 12 feet, but it wasn’t looking god during warm-ups, her coach said.

“She started out rough having some trouble with her step, but she was able to power through that and got back on her big pole and finished with some really nice jumps,” Versailles coach Adam Schwartz said. “She definitely got some confidence from getting over 11-4 on her first attempt, but then she missed at 11-8 and then was clean over 12. Once she got passed 10-6 I think she started to settle into the meet. She started jumping like she knows she can.”

The girls also had three relay team competing in finals events on Saturday. The 1,600 relay foursome of seniors Kenia McEldowney and Ellen Peters, junior Liz Watren and sophomore Lindsey Winner had the best finish of the Tigers’ relays, placing third in 4:00.42 . They were in fifth after Friday’s qualifying race.

The 800 relay squad also moved up from its qualifying position. The foursome of seniors Cassie Peters and Ellen Peters, junior Liz Watren and freshman Ali Moran qualified eighth and moved up two spots to standing on the podium in sixth place with a time of 1:44.77.

The 400 relay team also made the podium in eight place. The Tigers had qualified for finals in ninth place. The foursome of senior Ellen Peters, junior Ava Moran, sophomore Lucy Prakel and freshman Ali Moran crossed the finish line in 49.74 seconds to earn the final spot on the podium.

Also for the girls, senior Kenia McEldowney placed 16th in the 800 run with a time of 2:22.22.

Joe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Joe-Spitzer-PRINT-1.jpgJoe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race. Rob Kiser | AIM Media Midwest

Ava Moran runs the final 100 meters for Versailles in the girls 400-meter relay. The Tigers placed eighth in the state in 49.74 seconds.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Ava-Moran-1.jpgAva Moran runs the final 100 meters for Versailles in the girls 400-meter relay. The Tigers placed eighth in the state in 49.74 seconds. Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Versailles sophomore Lindsey Winner takes the baton from senior Ellen Peters during the girls 800-meter relay race on Saturday at the Division II state track and field meet in Columbus. The Tigers placed sixth in the event in 1:44.77.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Ellen-Peters-1.jpgVersailles sophomore Lindsey Winner takes the baton from senior Ellen Peters during the girls 800-meter relay race on Saturday at the Division II state track and field meet in Columbus. The Tigers placed sixth in the event in 1:44.77. Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Josh Steinbrunner competes in the boys 110-meter hurdles during the finals race on Saturday in Columbus. The senior placed fourth in the state.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Josh-Steinbrunner-1.jpgJosh Steinbrunner competes in the boys 110-meter hurdles during the finals race on Saturday in Columbus. The senior placed fourth in the state. Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Kenia McEldowney runs the final leg of the girls 1,600-meter relay race, helping lead her team to a third-place finish in the event.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Kenia-McEldowney-1.jpgKenia McEldowney runs the final leg of the girls 1,600-meter relay race, helping lead her team to a third-place finish in the event. Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Sophomore Lucy Prakel has a conversation with her coach Adam Schwartz after missing her second attempt at 11 feet 6 inches in the girls pole vault. Prakel got over the height on her third attempt and finished third in the state at 12 feet.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Lucy-Prakel-1.jpgSophomore Lucy Prakel has a conversation with her coach Adam Schwartz after missing her second attempt at 11 feet 6 inches in the girls pole vault. Prakel got over the height on her third attempt and finished third in the state at 12 feet. Skip Weaver | The Daily Advocate

Joe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2018/06/web1_Joe-Spitzer-WEB-1.jpgJoe Spitzer comes down the final stretch toward the finish line to win the boys 3,200-meter run in his final high school race. Rob Kiser | AIM Media Midwest
Versailles has multiple placers in Division II state meet

By Skip Weaver

sweaver@aimmediamidwest.com