By Joe Ostrica
Bay sophomore Olivia Bechtel will have opponents looking over their shoulders at the high school track and field events for the next two years. The Lady Rockets sophomore placed second overall in the girls 400 meter dash and fourth in the girls long jump at the Division I state championships held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University. Bechtel was also part of the girls 4×800 relay team that placed 10th.
Bechtel took second in the 400 with a time of 55.40, just beating out third-place finisher Frances Bull of Lake Catholic (55.45). State champion Tyler Williams of Pickerington Central won with a time of 54.49. Bechtel finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 18-0.5. Ursuline Academy’s Cayla Carey won the long jump with a leap of 18-7.25. Canton McKinley’s Korrin Taylor (18-7), Berea-Midpark’s Kyla Paster (18-4.50) rounded out the top three.
Bechtel joined freshman Amanda Cusimano, senior Sarah Christel and senior Hallie Bechtel to form Bay’s 4×8000 meter relay team, which finished 10th-place with a time of 9:17.95. Perrysburg’s relay squad won the race with a time of 9:04.63.
Bechtel’s strong performances and her Lady Rocket teammates helped give Bay a 16th-overall place finish with 13 total points.
Avon Lake senior Max Seipel was a state-qualifer in both throwing events. Seipel finished second in the boys discus throw with a distance of 179-6. Fremont Ross senior Jared Ballenger won the discus event with a throw of 182-10.
Seipel also competed in the shot put, placing eighth overall with a throw of 55-6.75. Robert Landers of Wayne won the shot put competition with a throw of 61-4.75. Mentor’s John Maurins (61-3), Ballenger (59-4.5), Euclid’s Jeremiah Peters (58-11.75), St. Edward’s Jonathan Zedella (58-2.25), Harvey’s Reggie Browley (57-1.25) and Zanesville’s Leo Crosby (56-6) rounded out the top seven finishers.
Rocky River freshman Laura DeVito placed 11th in the girls 800 meter run with a time of 2:15.77. Westlake senior Daniel Squeri placed 15th in the preliminaries of the boys 400 meter dash.
At the Division II level, Brookside’s Tyller Holley placed 16th in the girls 100 meter dash with a time of 12.72.
Lutheran West track and field results
The Lutheran West track and field team made history last past weekend, qualifying six athletes to the Division II state championship meet. The athletes included senior Peter Koza (200, 400, 4×200, 4×400), senior Josh Sekola (100, 4×200, 4×400), junior Nick Knudsen (4×200, 4×400), sophomore Hunter Ross (4×200, 4×400), junior Johanna Ragland (shot put, discus) and freshmen MaQuila Norman (400).
Ragland made it to the podium after a sixth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 39-7.
“Johanna is the only thrower in recent history to not only qualify to the state meet for Luthran West, but also to place,” Longhorns track and field head coach Anjanette Whitman said. “MaQuila Norman was one of two freshmen to qualify to the finals of the 400 at the Division II meet. Her time of 58.95 placed her ninth overall and with an invaluable experience.”
Whitman said the boys track athletes did their best to improve upon their record breaking performances at the regional meet but were unable to qualify to the finals.
“Overall, the team walked away with an experience that cannot be taught by a coach but must be experienced to appreciate truly,” she said. “Four of the six competitors are underclassmen and will set their sights on returning with even more of their teammates in 2015.”
Whitman said this year’s Lutheran West track and field team was one which entered the season to participate in the healthy activity of track and field but ended up leaving the season “owning it as their sport with more success to come.”
“As MaQuila smiled and said as we walked out of the stadium after the finals of the 400, ‘Coach, I had fun.’ Putting all the technical aspects of training together with the youthful smile of a kid who who got the most of out her State meet experience is priceless and allows for endless possibilities.”