County has strong showing at state track and field


COLUMBUS — Greene County schools had 20 athletes from six different schools compete on the final day of competition at the annual OHSAA boys and girls state track and field championships.

The two-day meet was held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University. Saturday saw local participants get 12 podium finishes in the 17 events in which they competed.

There were four combined runner-up finishes during the meet. While everything went on as scheduled Friday, there was a three-plus hour delay on Saturday afternoon as the Division I track events were minutes from getting underway. Lightning in the area was accompanied by rain and later hail before the meet restarted.

As the sun set and the lights turned on, a scenic image was created as Greene County high school athletics came to a close for the 2022-23 school year.

See full results from Friday here and Saturday here.


Three hours inside a school van doesn’t sound like the most appealing way to get in some relaxation. It’s what Beavercreek athletes had to endure while waiting out the long weather delay prior to the start of D-I competition as it was a better option than waiting out the rain and hail from inside the camp tent which was originally set up.

“A bus might have had a little bit more space because we could of laid down a little bit,” Liam Gluck said. “It worked out OK.”

The heat and humid conditions went away by the restart though and set up a eventful evening under the lights.

All six individuals and teams for Beavercreek made the podium and several set personal and school record times in the process that had head coach Howard Russ smiling and giving hugs to all of his athletes.

Both relay teams closed the night with the fastest times in school history for the 4 x 400 race.

A year ago the boys team of Kaden Ellerbe, Malachi Chapman, Gluck and Ben Watson missed out on state by just under a half second. This go around they were two-tenths of a second from being the state champions after leading through the first three laps but were caught down the closing stretch.

“We were disappointed because obviously we all wanted to win,” Gluck said. “We still have a chance next year and we all still ran really well.”

He and Ellerbe both had a short amount of time to get ready for the finale when the meet schedule was altered after the delay to be “ready-based” instead of specific times.

“It definitely made myself be a little bit more anxious,” Ellerbe said. “I was a little nervous, but really I was just ready to run.”

The girls relay team nearly had a mixup on a baton pass in its race, but recovered to get into the top-three. It meant a second top finishing spot during the meet for Kayleigh Keyes.

The defending champion in the 400 meters, Keyes was already feeling the expectations of trying to repeat and actually found the break to be refreshing.

“I got to breathe a little bit more and it gave me more time to think,” she said. “I also love that type of weather actually, I love thunderstorms and stuff so it gave me some peace of mind.”

She ended up finishing in second this year, but beat her time from a year ago and said she likes she’ll have a new time mark to try and beat next year.

Macie Roberts had one of the easier preparations with only a single event to focus on in the 800 meters. Removing the heat factor allowed her to just focus on which part of the tracks she wanted to use and it paid off as she pushed ahead from the back half to the top-eight on her final lap.

Most of all, the ease at which having so many teammates around her helped as well.

“It’s a really good community,” Roberts said. “I love talking to all these girls that I run with and I like to see them after races too to talk and work with them about it all.”

The delay may not have been ideal as the evening was set to begin, but it provided a memorable setting and ended with results everyone was proud to have accomplished.

“It just was like for awhile, are we gonna race or is it gonna be pushed back to a different day,” Alex Magoteaux said. “But not I’m glad to be here and kind of happy it rained because the setting was amazing.”


Cary Phillipson was able to get some second-hand experience from a close source in his lead up to competing in the boys pole vault.

On his path to making it consecutive years a vaulter for the Golden Eagles made it to the podium, he had Isaac Lefeld enlisted to help hone his skills.

Not a bad choice to have the guy from your school who finished in sixth place a year ago at your side.

“I got to jump with him the last couple weeks at our practices,” Phillipson said. “I’ve been able to push myself with Isaac and it’s been nice talking to him.”

Phillipson surpassed Lefeld’s best height from last year’s competition when he cleared 14-feet, six-inches on his second attempt to get him into a tie for eighth place.

“I was hoping to clear 15 and at least get in some attempts at the school record, but I didn’t end up making it as the running wasn’t as great as it could have been,” Phillipson said.

The crosswind conditions made things more difficult for everyone in the event as well, as eight of final 13 vaulters were eliminated at the 15-feet bar.

Phillipson was in his first year as a varsity vaulter and said he enjoyed the experience and tried to talk up his fellow competitors as much as possible to keep things loose in between his attempts.

Getting the rundown from a close supporter like Lefeld before he began had to help keep things at ease too.

“And I was happy he got to see all my attempts at the school record at regionals and was here to cheer me on today,” Phillipson said.


A growing legacy of Patriots runners keeps getting longer year-by-year. This year Carroll had a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior all qualify as individuals to keep the line moving.

While all reaching the same stage, the dynamics between the four individuals were different being at varying points of their high school careers. Seth Tivakaran, the group elder, finished his 12th year as a runner alongside many of his best friends with his first chance to run track at state.

He said he hopes his efforts will push those coming behind him to keep wanting to improve. If it didn’t, maybe a speech could work instead.

Tivakaran was one of two class valedictorians to speak during graduation this year, but didn’t find it to be as challenging as running two laps around a track.

“You actually have some time to prepare and you know your audience,” he said. “In a race, every one is different. Your competition changes, the weather change. You don’t get many chances to run at a state meet with audiences like this. That’s what makes it so much more exciting.”

Knowing someone close to you is preparing for the same challenge as you are can provide helpful encouragement in training.

Logan Arnold and Ruby Gross made the 1600-meter boys and girls races and took to the track one after the other.

Gross had run the 800 a year ago, while it was Arnold’s first qualification.

“It was really helpful running with a teammate and watching [Ruby] kill it before going there and going for it myself,” Arnold said.

And just hearing cheering no matter where you are on the track is always good, but especially when you’re a freshman such as Anna Thurman. As big of a deal she found it to be making it at a young age, she discovered having friends and teammates are every corner of the track brought down the nerves she had.

“I probably could have ran it better still, but I feel the only thing I wasn’t used to was running in this heat,” Thurman said. “I could hear someone yelling almost every turn and it’s very encouraging.”

Carroll keeps bringing more athletes to state each year and good results across the board are coming with them.

“There’s definitely a legacy that we have to keep going, but I don’t reall think there’s any pressure,” Gross said. “If you’re on this team, then there’s shows that you have to fill.”


Heading into a race knowing you are almost certainly going for second place, it’s difficult to mentally prepare for that task.

Caleb Sultan came into the 800 meters with the second fastest time of qualifiers out of regionals. Normally that would make someone be thought of as a contender to win.

When you are up against the runner with the nation’s fastest time this year that is more than five seconds ahead of your personal best, it complicates your chances in the best of conditions.

“It’s a tough situation,” Sultan said. “That can really push you the most though to have that kind of adversity. My sophomore year I had three or four guys on my team ahead of me and that always pushed me in practice to be better. I don’t think I’ve ever shied away from that kind of thing.”

Coming to terms with the situation, Sultan trained with that in mind and came through as he pushed through on his final lap to capture the runner-up spot in the race.

It wasn’t an empty feeling medal getting the silver spot. Sultan’s final time set was a personal best and also lowered his own school record.

“I’m definitely proud, but I also definitely want to give thanks to the people that deserve credit,” he said. “You only see me out there, but the people in the stands cheering me on, my coach pushing me every single day since last year’s state, it’s a lot of other people that go into it.”

Sure enough, the race favorite didn’t disappoint as Kaleb Nastari set a new fastest time in the country for the 800 meters this year and broke the all-divisions Ohio record.

Sultan didn’t let the imposing opposition get the best of him though and was rewarded for his perseverance.

“Coming out I’m not disappointed if I don’t win,” he said. “But with that adversity and knowing someone’s out there I can go chase, this was my goal coming in.”

Legacy Christian

Caroline Hamilton was out of breath and later ready to pass out in her camp tent following the 800 meters.

All of that was normal for her as she pushes through her runs despite having asthma. Mostly because she likes running enough that she’s happy to just deal with the after effects.

“I just wanted to make it to state this year and once I made it was about having fun and trying not to get last,” Hamilton said. “I’m only a sophomore, so I just wanted this year to be about experiencing it first-hand and then in future years I’ll try and place.”

Despite not having the podium on her mind, she nearly got there anyway after moving up four spots on the final lap to finish a few seconds off of the final medaling spot.

“I had no pressure honestly,” she said. “I know having thousands of people watch them can make it more nerve wracking, but for me I knew like no one really knows who I am. I kind of just can run and have fun.”

A teammate found herself at the other end of the spectrum.

Maddy Merritt was one of four athletes in Ohio to make state in three different events as an individual, qualifying in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. A runner-up in the 400 last year, she got a rematch against the only runner to beat her.

Merritt again wound up in second place as the only person to beat her in either year, Sydnee Sinn, crossed the line and set a D-III state record in the event.

No one may have been happier to finish second to Sinn though than Merritt.

“She’s been chasing the state record for awhile and last year she was so close,” Merritt said. “It was so unreal to see that and it’s something she’s worked so hard to finally get. I just gave her a huge hug and told her I was so proud of her and she’s just amazing at what she does.”

Even with similar results for herself, Merritt said getting to head to state along with Hamilton instead of on her own this time made the experience a more memorable one for her senior year.

“That was special for both of us to be able to practice together the week before state, warm up and cheer for each other at state,” Hamilton. “I’ll miss her. She pushes me so much.”

Yellow Springs

The only area athlete to compete both on the track and in a field event was Malcolm Blunt.

He already made the boys long jump final on Friday, but before doing so he first had to run his 200 meter semifinal heat to make sure he got to come back the next day too.

“I was really surprised that I made the finals,” he said. “As soon as I finished the race, my family and coaches were right on the side saying that I made it and I get to run another day. I was really, really excited and just a tad bit nervous. But I’m glad I made it this far.”

Like many others, it was his goal to get over the hump at regionals and just get to compete at the top stage. Anything from there would be just fine.

Not only did he finally get to Columbus, he nearly had to pull triple duty as he was close to qualifying in the 100 meters as well which had been a new event he only began running a few weeks ago.

“I could have definitely done some different things to prepare myself, but I did pretty good overall,” he said. “I still felt pretty good to be out there with a lot of other great athletes.”

Blunt said having his family at his side to remind him making it to state in any event is an accomplishment was a highlight of his week. Getting to see how he had grown as an athlete over four years was pretty good as well, he said.

“At almost every meet, I keep getting a little bit better,” Blunt said. “It’s not over until it’s over, which is what I learned today by making it to the finals.”


A full breakdown of results from both Friday and Saturday at the state track meet can be found on our website.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

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