Grandstaff, Tow top locals headed to Columbus
Saturday, May 31, 2014 12:17 AM
By JIM METCALFE
Lincolnview’s Bayley Tow leads the boys’ 1600-meter race at regionals on Friday. Tow would eventually finish second and qualify for next week’s state championships. (dhi MEDIA/Jim Metcalfe)
dhi MEDIA Sports Editor
TROY — Top four.
That is the goal for every track and field athlete at district or regional.
That guarantees you move on to the next level, which in Friday’s case at Troy Memorial Stadium, meant the Division III State Track and Field Championships starting next Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Leading the Tri-County pack was Crestview junior Mycah Grandstaff, who ran a blistering 9:36.38 to take the 3,200-meter title.
“I had to run fast; the competition pushed me hard. I kind of like that better; it makes you run better and more focused,” Grandstaff explained. “I wanted to set the pace today and it felt really smooth. That was my personal record, so I like that.
“I do get tired, but I try not to show it and give my opponents a good feeling that it’s affecting me. This warmer weather has been tougher on us distance guys because we use up more water; it’s better for sprinters. I really worked hard on hydration the last two weeks because of the warmer weather.”
Crestview also had a 4x100-meter relay — sophomores Sage Schaffner and Malcolm Oliver, junior Zach Jellison and sophomore Isaiah Kline — also take first.
Later on, Jellison and Kline combined with senior Michael Hansard and junior Alex Cunningham to take third in the 4x400.
“We are blessed to be here and have such great teammates. Our coaches really push us hard in practice and get us prepared for moments like these; that’s how I explain it,” Kline said.
“This has been such a great sports year for us at Crestview,” Oliver added. “We went farther in football that we ever had before and most of us were part of it, we won state in boys basketball and now we have this for the track season. We work so well together; we click and the great thing is we’re getting better every week.”
St. John’s junior Tyler Conley secured a third place in the boys 800-meter run but his later try at the boys 4x400 — along with junior Brian Pohlman and sophomores Tyler Ledyard and Curtis Pohlman — ended up seventh in the finals.
“It’s a mixed feeling for me. It’s nice I advanced as an individual in the 800 but it would have been better to get my three teammates with me down there,” Conley explained. “We didn’t set a personal record in the relay, nor did I in the 800, but it was close. I didn’t run as well as I’d hoped, but I ran as well as I could today. Hopefully, that run my best is next week.”
Ottoville’s girls 4x400 quartet of seniors Taylor Mangas and Karin Wendeberg and freshmen Madison Knodell and Brooke Mangas grabbed third in that event.
“We were fourth coming in with our time today, so to move up a spot was nice. I’m so excited for this,” Mangas asserted. “When you consider we only had eight girls on our roster this year and half are going to state, that’s pretty nice. The two freshmen push us, especially since Brooke is my younger sister, and Karin is an exchange student who stays with us.”
For Wendeberg, it’s a different experience.
“I am a soccer player, and I’m used to playing one or two big games in front of crowds like this,” she added. “This is fun. I’m only here for a year and it’s nice to go through experiences like this.”
Taylor earlier had clinched fourth in the girls 300-meter hurdles.
“I made it to state as a freshman, but I had hip injuries my sophomore and junior years. I didn’t run the 100s this year and we had a different workout that helped my hip flexors stay healthy,” Mangas added. “We were in the 4x1 relay earlier and I could tell I was a little tired from that; my legs weren’t quite as strong in the hurdles or the 4x4 but overall, I felt pretty good.”
A second-place finisher among the locals was Lincolnview junior Bayley Tow, who did so in the boys 1,600-meter run.
“I felt strong all the way. I think I could have done a better job of conserving energy in the last two laps but I didn’t,” Tow said. “I feel like I’m peaking at the right time. Coach (Matt Langdon) talks to us all the time about trusting our training and it works. He has a great track record on that, of getting us in our peak form at this time of year.”
However, Tow later pulled out of the 3,200-meter run.
“We decided that it would be better to pull out and be better prepared for the 1,600 at state. That is my best event and I want to have my full rest and recovery to do as best I can,” he added.
The final competitor that clinched third was Spencerville junior Shania Johnson in the girls discus.
“I threw 106 feet. My (personal record)) is 118 feet,” she said. “I think everybody was really nervous going in. I’m not sure anyone really threw their best but it was good enough.
“I know for me, I was the last one to throw and that can be both good and bad. Bad for waiting around and seeing if anyone pops a big one. The good thing is I had a great idea of who was doing what, so I don’t think I was as nervous as I expected. The good thing now is that I know I can throw better. My goal was to advance to state and I did that and now I can focus on my form this week and see how well I can do.”
The final local competitor that moved on from the regionals was Lincolnview junior Hunter Blankemeyer, who nipped Spencerville’s Anthony Schuh at the very end of their 110-meter battle.
“I ran 15.1 and was pretty close to my PR of 15.03. I ran a pretty good race; my coaches tell me I have picture-perfect form,” Blankemeyer added. “The one thing I know I can improve on is my starts; I struggled getting out of the blocks quick enough and I usually am trailing right off the bat. I’m fast enough to catch up at the end but if I can get better with those, I have a chance at state.”