Local athletes find success in Columbus

By John Bombatch Sports Editor jbombatch@civitasmedia.com

June 7, 2014

COLUMBUS — In Division I, Xenia miler Daniel Michalski, Bellbrook high jumper Tyler Everidge and Beavercreek 800-meter racer Jordan Grant are scheduled to run their respective championship finals today at the state track and field championships in Columbus.

Beavercreek’s boys 3,200-meter relay team of Ben Ewert, James MacPherson, Jayman Peterson and Mica Sullivan; the Beavers’ girls 400-meter relay team of Alexandra Applin, Alexus Kennedy, Alexandra Rankin and Nikki Stephens; and Fairborn’s 400-meter runner Aaliyah Patten all had preliminary runs on Friday.

Beavercreek’s girls 400 team claimed the ninth and final transfer spot to advance to today’s final. Their time of 48.88 seconds was nearly 0.4-second quicker than their regional time.

Fairborn’s Patten will be moving on as well. She placed fourth in her heat with a time of 57.06 seconds, then withstood an agonizing wait for the second heat to finish, in order to see whether her time would be quick enough to advance.

She did!

Patten will start in Lane 7 today.

“It feels good,” Patten said between gasps for breath and congratulations from a Troy runner. “I wished I would’ve had a little more kick in the end, but it was good. This is good, it’s what I wanted. So (today) I just have to try and get on the podium.”

Cedarville hurdler Jonah Young advanced to today’s Division III boys 110-meter hurdles final. He finished second in his heat, fourth overall. Young will start in lane 3.

“I’m glad. I just hoped to get in,” Young said. “(After running in the 300 prelims), I just plan on resting up, eating right and doing everything I can to be ready for the finals.”

Young failed to advance out of the 300 hurdles preliminaries, however. He finished sixth in his heat and 12th overall, just 0.53 seconds out of the ninth and final qualifying spot.

Earlier in the day, Greenon’s Dan Wallace competed in the D-II boys shot put competition. His coach, Joel Drake, said Wallace’s season has already been a huge success. Wallace required knee surgery earlier this season, and participated in just six weeks of the actual Spring season.

“That’s what everybody’s goal is, to make it to state,” Drake said. “He’s just a junior, so next year we know next year’s goal isn’t going to be to get to state, it’s going to be to place at state and go even further. It’s a great success story, considering that he’s had his second knee surgery in the past four years — he’s had the operation on both knees now. … So he’s already been successful. We hope to throw well today and see if we can win this thing next year.”

Wallace was hoping to set a new personal-best throw in Columbus. His previous best had been 50 feet, 4 inches. He threw 46-8 in the morning session and failed to advance on to the final flight.

“I expected to be nervous, but really I’m not doing that bad. I just wanted to go out there, do my best and not mess up!,” Wallace said. “It’s an honor to be here.”

Another area competitor who was happy to be in Columbus was Cedarville 400-meter runner Molly Bolender. The senior was making her first-ever appearance at the state meet, but her time of 1:00.95 didn’t get in among the nine fastest in the prelims. Even still, she wore a proud smile after her heat.

“It’s an amazing experience. I’m a senior, so it’s the last race of my high school career, but it’s been great to get the experience. It’s been a wonderful journey throughout my four years.

This is a good way to finish,” Bolender said.