Nathan Alexander said that once he knew he was state-bound, the pressure was off.
The Old Fort senior had the trip to Columbus assured when he cleared 14-4 in the pole vault. After that, he could relax.
Two of the other competitors, Carey's Cory Larick and Columbus Grove's Collin Grothaus couldn't get beyond 14-4.
When Alexander cleared 15 feet, only one competitor remained - Columbus Grove's defending state champion, Tyler Wolfe.
Neither could clear beyond 15 feet. Alexander won the event on jumps.
"Last year, I kind of choked here, so I wanted to make sure I stayed consistent and not have any early misses," Alexander said. "I just kept going and just (vaulted), didn't pay attention to anyone else."
at Frost-Kalnow Stadium
Shot - 1. Rebecca Leppelmeir (McComb); 4. Ashton Phillips (Seneca East) 39-6 1/4.
High jump - 1. Riley Eversole (Columbus Grove) 5-5; 3. Dana Newell (Carey) 5-3.
4x800 - 1. Toledo Christian (Darian Westmeyer, Michelle Wright,Delainey Phelps, Krista Wood) 9:39.24; 5. Mohawk (Julia Daniel, Ashley Parker, Kayla Risner, Lynsey Trusty) 10:04.73; 6. Calvert (Marisa Horn, Lauren Reineke,Abby Sullivan, Olivia Smith) 10:14.14.
Pole vault - 1. Nathan Alexander (Old Fort) 15-0; 4. Cory Larick (Carey) 14-0.
Discus - 1. Zach Garber (Vanlue) 159-11.
Long jump - 1.MyKale Rogers (Lima Central Catholic) 24-1.
4x800 - 1. Van Buren (Ted Simmons, Eric Wymer, Brian Davidson, Dean Rodabaugh) 8:11.31; 2. Calvert (Jared Thompson, Ren Boehler, Joe Brodman, Steve Smith) 8:14.3; 4. Old Fort (Marcus Meyers, Luke Edgar, Zack Alexander, Brad Bannister) 8:21.04
Old Fort coach Tony Miller said it was good to see Alexander enjoying himself.
"That is the big thing," Miller said. "With pretty much any athlete there, once you know you're qualified, you're out and the pressure's off. He was just having fun."
Larick advanced to state by taking fourth on jumps. The Blue Devil said he had to make some adjustments due to the warm conditions at Frost-Kalnow Stadium Wednesday.
"It's been getting hotter, and the weather really affects your poles," Larick said. "I got new new poles that I only used, like, twice at practice. I just used those, and they didn't give out on me."
In the boys 4x800, Calvert finished second in 8:14.3, while Old Fort took fourth in 8:21.03.
Calvert's team of Jared Thompson, Ren Boehler, Joe Brodman and Steve Smith were about three seconds off winner Van Buren.
"We knew coming in we were doing pretty good," Boehler said. "We knew if we ran a good race that we'd probably finish top four."
Thompson said the team's experience - three of the four were part of the school's squad that qualified for state a year ago - played a role in the success.
"We were here last year, we went to state last year, we knew what to do," Thompson said. "All we had to do was run our best time."
Calvert coach Stewart Behm said Calvert did what it needed to.
"Definitely a good performance," he said. "They ran real close to their best time.
"This is something they knew all season," Behm said. "Step one is getting down there. Now they have step two, (which is) getting back to the podium."
Smith said Calvert will look to get better next week in Columbus.
"We just have that mindset of continuing to improve every meet," he said.
As for Brodman, advancing in the 4x800 means that he has now made state competition in five consecutive seasons. He made the state wrestling meet in 2011, made the track meet last year, the cross country meet this fall, and again made the wrestling meet this March.
"It's a different experience every time," he said, "I'm just glad I get one more (trip to state) to end out the career."
Miller said the Stockaders switched up their lineup a little bit going into the 4x8, and it worked. Marcus Meyers led off, Luke Edgar went second, Zack Alexander went third and Brad Bannister anchored. The team set a personal record, shaving almost nine seconds off its district time.
"Marcus put them in good position, put Luke right where we needed to be," Miller said. "Zack had a tremendous leg, brought us from seventh to second and third."
On the girls' side, Seneca East's Ashton Daniel will be returning to the state meet for the second-consecutive season. Daniel placed fourth in the shot in 39-6 1/4. She finished one spot ahead of St. Wendelin's Ali Mowrey, who threw 37-11 1/2.
"I was really nervous all day," Daniel said. "You just come in and do what you have to do, and then you throw your best and if it's not good enough it's not good enough. But today it was, and it feels good."
Carey's Dana Newell also qualified for next week, placing third in the high jump. She cleared 5-3 to advance.
"She took a lot of jumps tonight and got (5-3) when she needed to," said Carey coach John Knickel. "She's starting to jump really well the last two weeks."