COLUMBUS — One student athlete from Fayette County earned a second medal at the Division II State track meet Saturday at The Ohio State University.
Two others, recent Miami Trace graduate Drake Litteral and Washington junior Maddy Garrison, also competed Saturday.
Garrison had a less than hoped for finishing result, while Litteral suffered an injury that cut short his tournament.
Miami Trace junior Katie Seyfang, for the second day in a row, placed sixth in a throwing event at State.
On Friday, Seyfang was sixth in the discus throw.
On Saturday, Seyfang placed sixth in the shot put.
The competition began in a similar fashion for Seyfang as the discus throw 24 hours previously.
Seyfang fouled on her first two attempts Saturday.
That left essentially no margin for error as she entered the circle for her third and final attempt to make a good throw and hope it was enough to advance her to the finals.
On her third attempt, Seyfang threw a 39’ 4 1/4” and that punched her ticket to the finals, where she would have three further attempts.
In the finals, Seyfang’s first throw was a 39’ 8 3/4”. She followed that with a throw of 39’ 4” and then a foul on her final attempt.
The 39’ 8 3/4” placed her sixth in the competition of the best 16 throwers in the State in Division II.
The Athens Regional champion, senior Lindsay Baker of East Liverpool, won the State title with a throw of 45’ 8 1/2”.
Junior Izzy Kline of Newton Falls was second at 43’ 9 1/4”.
Senior Lauren Jones of Garrittsville Garfield, who the day before had captured the Division II discus throw State title for the third year in a row, placed third in the shot at 42’ 8 1/4”.
Senior Christie Longo of Caledonia River Valley was fourth at 41’ 3 3/4” and senior Faith Lewis of Valley View was fifth at 40’ 4”.
Senior Angel Freeman of Toledo Central Catholic was seventh at 39’ 8 1/2”.
Unioto junior Autumn Mohan placed eighth for the final spot on the podium with a throw of 39’ 5 1/4”.
“To come up to the State track meet and compete in two events and finish on the podium in both events is fantastic,” Miami Trace head coach Brent Noes said. “She’s put a tremendous amount of work in this year. We couldn’t be happier for her. She came up here and competed and acted like she was supposed to be here.
“She still has the article from last year in the newspaper after the State meet,” Noes said. “She’s had that cut out and hanging on her refrigerator and she’s looked at it every day for the past year. She’s used that to kind of keep her focused and aligned with her goals.
“Her parents have done a tremendous job,” Noes said. “They spent all summer traveling around, going to different camps. She’s worked hard in the off-season and all through indoor season. Coach (Jeff) Bennett has put a lot of time in to help. Bill Beatty has done a fantastic job coming in to help, as well. As a coaching staff, we’re just extremely proud of her being a two-event placer at the State track meet.”
“I’m just blessed to be here, you know,” Seyfang said. “It was fun. It was rough, but I fought and I did what I could. I did all I could. I had everyone’s support. All my family was here; it was just great. I loved it.”
Seyfang was asked about her plans for the summer.
“I think I’m going to take a couple day break, not too long,” Seyfang said. “Then we’re just going to hit it harder than ever. I just want to train harder than I’ve ever trained before and get better and hope for the best.
“I’m going to be doing a summer league,” Seyfang said. “In July and August. Then, we’ll start training for indoor. It never stops; I love it.
“I’d like to thank everyone who came and supported me,” Seyfang said. “Definitely God for giving me the talent and the ability. The people who love me and work with me every day. I’d like to thank all of my coaches for their non-stop support. They work 24-7 tying to make me a better thrower. I can’t thank them enough for that.”
Litteral injured in 100-meter finals
In the afternoon Saturday, as the clock struck one, it was time for the finals of the Division II track portion of the State meet.
Before long, it was Drake Litteral’s turn to step onto the track for the finals of the 100-meter dash.
His new school-record time of 10.98 set him in sixth place out of the nine finalists.
His start appeared good.
His race was going fine, when, suddenly, with scant meters remaining to the finish, Litteral appeared to step wrong. He veered from lane seven into lane eight and crossed the line unfortunately in ninth, the only position that does not earn a spot on the medals podium.
His time registered at 11.70.
He exited the track and sought assistance from the training staff on hand near the finish line.
Senior Demetri Keaton won the State Division II 100-meter dash championship in a new State meet record time of 10.57. The record was only one day old as Keaton ran a 10.59 in the prelims on Friday. The State Division II 100-meter dash record for now still belongs to Eric Barrison of Willard (10.55).
“We were disappointed,” Noes said. “We thought that Drake had a great day (Friday) in the one and the two. We were excited to see what he was going to do today. For him to get a sub-11 yesterday was outstanding. We looked for him to continue that today and shave some more (time) in the 100.
“We felt he ran a good race in the 200 yesterday,” Noes said. “We felt that he could have attacked the curve a little more. We talked to him about it and that was our game plan for today. We were excited to see what he was going to be able to do.
“He’s always been a strong finisher,” Noes said. “We thought that the key to his race was at the beginning. Unfortunately, we never got to see that happen. Sometimes those freak things happen and we hate it for him. But, no matter what, he had a great season. To be able to get to the State meet in two events and make the finals in both events was a testament to his hard work.
“Our staff is very proud of him,” Noes said. “I know that our sprints coach, Jeff Creamer, did a nice job with him this year. Tim Walters did a nice job training him all winter and spring. We were disappointed in the way his season ended, but, sometimes, that’s out of our control. In the grand scheme of things, later in life he’ll be a stronger man because of this.
“He is the current school record-holder in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and as a member of the 4 x 200-meter relay (along with Noah Wiseman, Brady Wallace and Elijah Sauceda),” Noes said. “He’s a program kid. One of the first things he said, before we left was, ‘Coach, I want to be able to come back next year and help out when I can. I want to help out the rest of the team and make this a better program.’ That just tells you what kind of a young man he is. He was thinking about everyone else instead of himself.”
“I had a good warm-up,” Litteral said. “I got some 50-meter sprints in before the race. I felt fine. I didn’t feel anything.
“I took off and probably around 50 meters or so I started feeling it,” Litteral said. “I didn’t really think anything of it. I guess my first instinct was to just keep running. I said in my mind, just keep going. I think I was in fourth or fifth at the time and then it popped and I completely lost control of my body. I swerved into lane eight and nine.
“Coach Noes said he thought he saw me roll my ankle,” Litteral said. “I didn’t feel it. That’s what he said he thought. It was my left hamstring. I would have been (on the podium) in the one and the two, probably. It is what it is.
“I’d like to thank my family for all the support,” Litteral said. “I’d like to thank Coach Noes for pushing me in practice and Coach Creamer for pushing me in practice. And Michelle Teis and Jenna Persinger and Jeff Smallwood. And, a special shout-out to Tim Walters, because he’s pushed me beyond my limits and he’s a great coach. He’s my neighbor.”
Asked what the future holds, Litteral replied:
“I think I’m going to run track in college,” Litteral said. “That’s the beauty of track. When Caleb (Wilt) won State (in the 110-meter hurdles), he didn’t even look at a college until after he won. Coaches are still looking for guys at this point.”
Garrison makes State debut in 1600-meters
Maddy Garrison was making her first solo appearance at State in the 1600-meter run.
She qualified to the State meet in 2016 as a member of Washington’s 4 x 400-meter relay.
A little past 1:30 p.m., the sun was shining down on the Jesse Owens Memorial Track as the temperature rose into the mid-80s.
Garrison had a good start to her race, but, unfortunately, it was not to be her day.
She placed 16th in a time of 5:37.59.
Athens Regional champion Maddie Dunlap of Carrollton won the State 1600-meter title in a time of 4:57.13.
She was the only runner to finish in under five minutes.
The second place through eighth place finishers ran times ranging from 5:01.24 to 5:07.24.
“Maddy’s effort was great,” Washington head coach Louis Reid said. “I was happy with the way she went out. She got boxed in a little bit. She gave it her all. When you get here, it can be an intimidating place.
“Going into the second lap, we kind of fell behind the pack a little bit,” Reid said. “That kind of threw our pacing off there. Overall, she ran really well. She had a good week of practice. I’m happy that she made it here. This was her first time here, individually, and that’s different than when you come up here as part of a relay.
“I thought she did well,” Reid said. “I’m pleased with it. She’s got a chance to come back here next year and we’ll be ready for it.”
“I think I got out a little too fast,” Garrison said. “I may have panicked a bit with the big group of girls. I’ve never really been in a pack that large. It was like a lap and a half and then I kind of tightened up and I shouldn’t have. My nerves kind of got to me. I’ve never been up here by myself before. Last year I was with a group of seniors. Those seniors were great to fall back on when I needed someone.
“This is a great learning experience for next year,” Garrison said. “Knowing I have to keep my head straight.”
What about the summer ahead?
“I’ll be training this summer, but I think I’m going to take a few weeks off,” Garrison said. “Do other cardios, like swimming and stuff; give my legs a rest for a bit. I’ve been running since last summer in July. I haven’t stopped running, because I did cross country and basketball and indoor (track). I made it to State in indoor this year in the two mile. I focused on the two mile a lot this winter.
“I want to thank all of my coaches,” Garrison said. “Ray Anderson, Corey Dye, Colt Harrington and Coach Reid; they’ve all been great supporters throughout this whole year. They’ve always got my back and they’re always giving me great advice. I also want to thank all of my teammates; everyone’s so supportive. And, my family, it’s always great to have them.”
Hurley brings home 4 gold medals
McClain’s Kaylee Hurley had a banner day at the State meet Saturday.
After winning the gold medal in the shot put on Friday, Hurley won the 100, 400 and 800-meter events in the seated competition Saturday, setting two new State records in the process.
She won the 100-meter dash in a time of 20.64.
She set a new record of 1:10.87 winning the 400-meter dash.
In the 800-meters, Hurley turned in a time of 2:29.80, good enough for first place and another new seated record, a State meet record and a Jesse Owens Stadium record.
Hurley was on the cover of this year’s State tournament program. It was the second year in a row she was honored in this way. It came as a surprise.
“I saw it when I got there,” Hurley said. “I was like, ‘oh, sweet.’
“Adaptive track just became a thing, this is it’s fifth year,” Hurley said. “I’ve participated in it for four years.
“I think this is my most successful season,” Hurley said. “My times came down the most, so, this is the best season for me.”
Hurley has now won a total of seven State meet titles.
“I have a lot of athletes come up to me after meets,” Hurley said. “They say, it was really awesome to race against you; they ask me questions about it. It is kind of foreign to everyone right now because it’s not really spread around Ohio. It is kind of a smaller program, but it is growing. It’s awesome to see it grow.”
Now that her high school career is over, what’s next for Hurley?
“This fall, I’ll be attending State University of New York, Cortland, majoring in early childhood education and child services,” Hurley said. “There is a paralympic club about an hour from me that I’ll be training and competing with.”
“It’s been quite an honor and quite a learning experience to have Kaylee for all four years,” McClain coach Bob Bergstrom said. “We’ve learned so much together. I’ve learned a lot about her as such a person of great character and hard work and determination. You just wish all of your athletes were that determined and as dedicated as she was.
“It was a kind of a happy and a sad day at the same time Saturday,” Bergstrom said. “In that we know that that was it and she’s not coming back. It was great for her to win all four events. It’s quite an honor to be a State champion in four events. In the meantime, she even set two State and meet records on the same day, which is quite outstanding.”
McClain junior Chayden Pitzer was ninth in the finals of the 200-meter dash in a time of 25.25.
Sophomore Anna Podojil of Indian Hill won the State title in 24.44.
Hillsboro senior Jeremy Hayton placed third in the high jump, clearing 6’ 5”.
Freshman Robie Glass of Springfield Shawnee won the State high jump title, clearing 6’ 8”.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1