Beavercreek senior Riley Buchholz (left) won the 1,600 meters during the D-I regional track and field meet at Wayne High School on Friday, May 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Experience means everything for Beavercreek state 1,600 contender

Advancing to a state meet isn’t as daunting as it was for Beavercreek High School senior Riley Buchholz. Good thing.

“In both of my first two appearances I did really bad,” said Buchholz, who advanced to this week’s state track and field meet in the 1,600 meters. “I learned from my mistakes and I don’t get choked up. Coming back with experience and knowing what it’s like and not being overwhelmed and really being confident, I can be one of those top guys at state.”

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That’s the goal for nearly 2,000 other state-wide participants in the Divisions I, II and III girls and boys state track meets. The meets will be held at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday and Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. each day.

Friday’s only running final is the 3,200 relay. All the D-III field events are Friday and all the D-I field events on Saturday. The D-II field events will be split on both days. All other running finals are Saturday.

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Buchholz zoomed to the front of the 1,600 pack by winning last week’s D-I regional at Wayne in 4 minutes, 17.64 seconds. Only 2.5 seconds separates the four D-I regional winners and he hopes to go sub-4:15. That should put him in great position to place.

Last season Buchholz advanced to the D-I state meet in the 800 and was overwhelmed. Since then he cranked his training and speed work into overdrive. He burned a 1:53 split in the regional 3,200 relay.

“I definitely could have done it (800), but I feel stronger in the mile,” said Buchholz, who likely will join the Eastern Michigan program. “I really think making the podium at state is a good possibility and top three is my goal.”

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Beavercreek, boosted by junior Taylor Ewert, is a favorite in the girls 3,200 relay after coming within a half-second of breaking nine minutes in setting a regional record last week. Ewert, who led Beavercreek to the girls D-I cross country team title last fall, also is the 3,200 favorite.

Beavercreek qualified seven girls – all underclassmen – in six events.

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• The Centerville and Wayne boys should be D-I team contenders. The Elks advanced eight individuals in three relays. That includes senior Yariel Soto, the defending D-I pole vault and long jump state champ. There’s also senior Jason Sneed, who went 6-10 in the district high jump.

Wayne also advanced eight boys and will ride senior sprinter Zarik Brown, a top contender in the 100, 200 and 400. The Warriors also could land a winner in senior Lucas Houk (800).

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• Troy junior Lenea Browder won the D-I state discus last year and was second in the shot put, which makes her a favorite in both events again. Greenville junior vaulter Riley Hunt set an all-time girls record (13-6.50) in that event three weeks and is another area D-I favorite.

Another boys area D-I state favorite is Butler junior vaulter Dalton shapler, who won the regional at 16-10 and missed three times at 17-3, which would have been an all-time, all-divisions state record.

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• The state track meets annually draw a combined 30,000 spectators over the two days. It has been held at the Jesse Owens facility since 2004. Prior to that, the meets were at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium from 1999-2003 after a long run at OSU’s Ohio Stadium, which started in 1924.

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• This weekend’s state track, state softball at Akron, and boys and girls state lacrosse at Ohio Wesleyan all will be streamed live online. Cost is $9.99 to $14.99 per day, depending on the sport and is free to Spectrum subscribers. For more information see ohsaa.org.

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