COLUMBUS – Swanton once again sent a pair of high jumpers to the state track and field meet and they were rewarded with two placements on the podium from Julia Smith and Gunnar Oakes.
Smith placed third in the Division III girls competition Friday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, while Oakes took seventh in the Division II boys event Saturday morning.
For Smith, she finished tied with Lyssi Snouffer of Delaware Christian as each cleared 5 feet, 7 inches.
She came through in the clutch at both 5-6 and 5-7, clearing each on her third and final attempt.
“I kind of just cleared my mind,” said Smith on her thoughts during those jumps. “Like I sat back, took a couple deep breaths, and I was like this is it. You’re either getting barely on the podium or you’re gonna be on the top. And you want to be on the top. I placed fourth the last two years and I didn’t want to get fourth again.
“It all worked out in the end. Not where I wanted to place, but definitely better than where I’ve placed in the past.”
Smith was encouraged by her ability to improve her placement at state from the past two years. She hopes that it will only get better should she make it as a senior in 2018.
“I guess it is on the road to where I want to be. Where I want to get next year,” she explained. “Looking to win this next year, hopefully. And nationals are in a couple of weeks. This is really setting me up for a good shot at nationals. Being an All-American.”
Winning the event was training partner and friend of Smith’s, Emma Daugherty of Maumee Valley Country Day (5-9). Worthington Christian’s Bridgette Rettstatt took second at 5 feet, 8 inches.
In the D-II boys high jump, Oakes cleared as high as 6 feet, 3 inches but went out at 6-4 to finish seventh. However, it was still his best finish in three trips to the state meet.
“I was hoping (to jump) a little bit higher. But I beat last year so that is good,” commented Oakes after.
The area was also represented in the Division III boys high jump as Peyton Phillips of Delta cleared 6 feet, 6 inches to take third.
“Coming in (after) last year (placing) 13th, jumping 6-2, and then this year becoming third. So it’s a lot of improvement,” he said of his performance.
Maverick Wright of Delta competed in the 1600 and took 11th (4:31.88).
Swanton girls 10th at regional
The Swanton girls track and field team placed 10th with 24 points behind a bevy of fifth place finishes at the Division III Tiffin Regional the week before.
The Pettisville Blackbirds and Archbold Blue Streaks tied for the title with 53 points each.
Leading the Bulldog girls was Haley Nelson who placed fifth in both the 100 and 200. She recorded a time of 12.72 in the 100, and 26.14 in the 200.
Swanton also nearly advanced with fifth place finishes in the 4×100 and 4×200. Bobbie Oberle, Nelson, Ally Hendricks and Bridget Harlett made up both of those relays.
Sidney Taylor placed eighth in the discus (115-7).
Those placements, along with Julia Smith taking third in the high jump, helped the Bulldogs finish 10th in the team standings.
Evergreen’s best finish came from Bailie Sutter who took fifth in the 300 hurdles (47.97). The Vikings’ 4×400 relay team of Sutter, Savannah VanOstrand, Amelia Kennedy and Asia Gensch placed sixth with a time of 4:15.66.
Alyssa Noe of Evergreen finished seventh in the 400 (1:00.79) and eighth in the 200 (27.06).
In the boys meet, Delta’s Peyton Phillips was the regional champion in the high jump for the second straight year as he cleared 6 feet, 5 inches to do it. Qualifying for the Panthers in the 1600 was Maverick Wright who placed fourth with a time of 4:27.69.
Hunter Van Wert of Evergreen took fourth to advance in the 100 (11.06).
Swanton’s boys were at the Division II Piqua Regional as once again Gunnar Oakes punched a ticket to state in the high jump. He placed third in this event after clearing 6 feet, 3 inches.
Also for the Bulldogs, Tanner Prentice placed seventh in the 400 (51.57), while Anthony Howard took 13th in the 800 (2:01.25).
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010