Finishing it in style
COLUMBUS Seasons and careers ended on the podium Saturday at the state track meet.
Seneca East senior Jason Willman wrapped up his high school career seventh in the 3,200 (9:42.56).
He ran as high as fifth in the first three laps before slipping to seventh. He inched his way up to sixth with a lap to go but was passed by Garaway’s Alex Shrock and finished seventh.
“Throughout the whole race I wanted to get in the top eight and I wanted to stay in the top eight. Whatever I had left in those last two laps I tried letting go,” Willman said. “I was able to stay about sixth or seventh the whole race. I tried getting up there with (the leaders), but I just couldn’t hold it. But I’m happy.”
The finish capped an injury-prone career and season.
He’s been plagued by stress fractures over the past few years and had to dial back his mileage to about half 25 miles of what others at his level normally run this year.
Willman also has compartment syndrome, which affects his muscles. The only cure is through surgery.
It flared up during the season and forced him to miss a few weeks of racing. He then contracted mono, but didn’t realize it until after the league meet.
Still, he was able to make his way through the district and regional meets to reach state.
Along with finishing on the podium, Willman said another highlight came from running the 3,200 with teammate Jared Stockmaster in the junior’s first trip to state.
“It was really great for him because it’s his first time at the state track meet. It’s a lot different than state cross; we don’t have our team with us (here), it was just me and Jared,” Willman said.
“It was really good for him to be able to run with me and get comfortable. It’s a big awakening when it’s your first time and you come down here all alone,” he said. “I think Jared did great. He ran right about where he was setting.”
In the Division II meet, Clyde’s 4×200 team of Thomas Davis, Kaleb Herrera, Alex Webber and Collin Rieman took fifth in 1:29.99
Rieman secured the finish by running a solid final leg.
“Our team got the baton to me, so I was just gonna do my best to get the best position we could and not give up any,” he said. “Try and gain on a few people and hold our ground.”
To a man, the Fliers were pleased with the finish.
“Fifth-place is awesome. We’ve come a long way,” Herrera said.
Weber said the team’s confidence picked up during the regular season.
“After winning a few good meets, we realized we’re gonna be good this year really good this year,” he said. “And we put it to the test and did it.”
The Fliers were seeded sixth coming in. Davis, a junior, said for him the race was about Herrera and Webber, who competed for the final time.
“Fifth place is unexpected. That was our goal coming into this,” Davis said. “I ran this all for the seniors, because this is their last year.”
“We put in so much work over the summer,” Webber said. “So much work lifting, every single day. We just put in so much work, and I just knew I had to bust out a good time, sprint hard.”
Bellevue’s Lauren Turner missed out on a trip the podium in the girls Division II 800, finishing 13th (2:21.17).
Several teams from area conferences also had athletes place at the meet.
The Division II boys meet included athletes from Northern Buckeye Conference and Northern Ohio League schools.
Eastwood’s Tim Hoodlebrink Joe Salinas, Brennan Seifert and Devin Snowden captured the 4×400 in 3:18.09.
That came one day after the 4×800 team of Gabe Fredericks, Logan Baugher, Noah Smith and Tim Hoodlebrink ran second (7:55.79).
The Eagles also had two thirds Saturday Tim Hoodlebrink in the boys 800 (1:53.88), and the 4×100 team of Grant Geiser, Devin Snowden, Brennan Seifert and Jake Hoodlebrink (43.15).
Snowden added a fourth Friday in the long jump (21-8 ), then ran sixth Saturday in the 300 hurdles (38.65).
Genoa’s Logan Bryer captured the shot Friday with a heave of 55-8, then claimed third Saturday in the discus (171-4).
Otsego’s Cole Gorksi won the pole vault Friday by clearing 16-2, then added a sixth Saturday in the 200 (22.35).
Teammate Brandon Avers of Otsego came in sixth in the 1,600 (4:22.16) Saturday.
Ontario’s Brett Cortelletti finished fourth in the 3,200 (9:43.61), Lenell Shelby ended seventh in the 300 hurdles (39.12) and eighth in the 110 hurdles (14.92), and Cameron Mack took eighth in the 200 (22.73).
Shelby’s Cody Stine took third in the Division II high jump (6-7).
The Division II girls meet included athletes from the NOL, NBC and NCC.
Galion’s Laura McElligott, Michaela Slone, Sydney Hunt and Clair Erlsten crossed the line first in the 4×100 in 48.71 seconds.
Brittany Parsell of Bucyrus came in fifth in the long jump (17-3 ), and eighth in the 100 (12.73) and 200 (25.8).
Rossford’s Regan Clay ran third in the 400 (56.03).
Brittany Brittain of Eastwood ended eighth in the discus (121-9) Friday.
Norwalk and Sandusky from the NOL competed in the Division I boys meet.
Norwalk’s Jared Lee, Caden Foos, Luke Landis and Quentin Howell captured second in the 4×800 (7:43.64) Friday.
Sandusky’s Davion Fisher ended eighth in the long jump (22-4 ) Saturday.
The Division III girls meet had athletes from North Central Conference schools Riverdale and Wynford.
Wynford’s Amber Gottfried wound up second Friday in the high jump (5-6) and teammate Callie Ruffener took fourth (11-4) the same day in the pole vault.
Riverdale’s Sara Hunter ended sixth in the girls 400 (58.22).
In the Division III boys meet, Riverdale’s Chad Pever finished eighth in the boys 800 (1:58.9).