DAYTON — Northmont saw four individual athletes and two relay teams qualify for the state meet during the Division I Regional held at Welcome Stadium last Wednesday and Friday.
Rain shortened the meet on Wednesday with qualifying flights condensed to Friday’s competition.
The boys team saw Christian Wilson qualify in the high jump by clearing 6-feet, 7-inches to take 2nd place. Only the top four in each event advanced to state. Albert Kalala of Cincinnati Withrow took 1st place, also at 6-feet, 7-inches. Kalala cleared 6-feet, 4-inches and 6-feet, 5-inches on his first attempt while Wilson took two attempts at each height resulting in Kalala coming out ahead. Both have the 2nd highest jump in the state out of all the regional competitors.
“Christian has won every meet in the high jump all season,” said Northmont Boys Track Coach Tony Broering. “The bigger the meet, the better he does. For example, at the Dayton Relays against the Greater Miami Conference competitors, he just rises to the level of the competition. The high jump was very hotly contested at the regional so we knew it was going to be tough and he knew he would have to do his best, and he jumped 6-feet, 7-inches, which he hasn’t done all season. If he performs like that this weekend he has a shot to win at state.”
Drake Hickman also qualified for state by placing 4th in the 300 hurdles in 39.17 seconds. Andrew Whitaker of Lakota West took 1st place at 38.69, Tyler Johnson of Miamisburg was 2nd in 39.11 and Joshua Byers-Mason of Trotwood-Madison was 3rd at 39.15.
“Drake was the most surprising state qualifier,” Broering noted. “As far as work ethic he has the highest one of any kid maybe that I have ever coached. The 300 hurdles was tough in this region and he had not run a sub-40 all year and he was in a tough field so we thought it would be hard for him to get out, but he ran his best race and beat his arch enemy Colin Dillon of Miamisburg (6th place, 39.71) who he hasn’t beat all season. Dillon beat Hickman all last season and he beat him in 8th grade in the GWOC Championship and then Drake finally beat him Friday to qualify for state, so we were very, very happy to see him do that.”
Xavier Marable placed 2nd in the 400 meter dash with a personal best time of 48.90 seconds to earn a state berth. Zion Wynn of Loveland took 1st place at 48.56 in the closely contested race.
“Xavier was really our MVP all season long as far as how fantastic he did in every meet in the 400,” Broering said. “We had a feeling going in that he would be the one guy to get out because of how great he was and how fast he is and how hard he works. He hadn’t run under 49 seconds all year. He has had great practices this week preparing for state. He really ran a great race the other night. We have high expectations for how well he is going to do at the state level.”
Broering praised all three of his state qualifiers for being fine young men.
“We are so happy to see Xavier, Drake and Christian make it to state,” Broering added. “You couldn’t ask for better kids and that makes it special to see them all go to state and for me to be able to go along for the ride and be called their coach. They are such outstanding young men for sure.”
For the girls Melissa Barrett turned in a dominant performance to win the 800 meter run with a time of 2:14.94. Barrett came out of the gate fast and ran a 62.4 second first lap.
Northmont Girls Coach Joe Barnes is extremely happy to have so many athletes qualify for state.
“I am extremely happy. I have a couple of freshman girls going (Lauren Daniel and Ashley Hoke) and obviously Melissa is going in the 800 and then you’ve got Jayla Tarver, a senior that I am very proud that she gets the opportunity to compete at the state meet,” Barnes said.
Three other girls will be going to state as alternates: Marissa Anderson, Leila Hill and Katie McCrary.
“I have five girls going either because of the 4×200 relay or the 4×400, which Barrett is also a member of,” Barnes noted. “She anchored the 4×400 at regional.”
Ashley Hoke was just recovering from being sick and Barnes feels she will be 100 percent for state.
“I was shocked that we went from 4:03 and some change at district to 3:57 and some change at the regional meet,” Barnes said of his 4×400 relay. “I told the girls that I would not be surprised if you cut another two or three seconds just because of the competition.”
The 4×400 meter relay of Parker, Hoke, Daniel and Barrett also qualified by placing 4th in 3:57.42. The Withrow team of J’Alyiea Smith, Niyah Carpenter, Hodgkin and Pennington took 1st in 3:54.12. Mason’s team of Ullom, Connors, Reagan Snyder and Ellie Brush placed 2nd in 3:56.61. Cincinnati Anderson’s team of Maria Brophy, Kiae Marshall, Alaina Sullivan and Megan Sullivan placed 3rd in 3:57.04.
“I am really hoping that they go 3:53 or 3:54 at state, which wouldn’t be out of their reach,” Barnes commented. “I think that is a reasonable expectation.”
The girls 4×200 meter relay team of Lauren Daniel, Mattea Parker, Jayla Tarver and Ashley Hoke placed 3rd to qualify for state in a time of 1:43.75. The Withrow team of Destiny Pennington, Zariah Hodgkin, Markeita Beckum and Simone Mason took 1st place at 1:41.73. Mason’s quartet of Jordan Dawson, Kaylie Connors, Maddie Ullom and Mariah Green placed 2nd in 1:43.36. Troy took the 4th qualifying spot with Annah Stanley, Celina Courts, Camryn Moeller and Ashley Barr finishing in 1:45.12.
“I think that our 4×200 relay, with the competition they will face, could run a 1:41 at state,” Barnes said. “They went from a 1:45 to a 1:43 just with the added competition at regional. It wasn’t just because we added Ashley Hoke to the team. All of the girls’ splits were so much faster.”
Northmont placed 10th overall in the boys team standings and 13th overall in the girls standings.
The state track and field championships for Division I teams will be held Friday starting at 4:45 p.m. and resumes Saturday at noon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind