Every track and field event has its magic mark. That’s the time, height or distance that separates champions. Greenville sophomore vaulter Riley Hunt has taken that challenge.
“I’m looking to break the 13 (foot) mark,” she said after winning her specialty at the loaded Wayne track and field invitational on Friday. “It’s amazing. All the people and the energy is great.”
A spring season constantly disrupted by inclement weather finally turned during the colossal two-day meet that drew 67 mostly Central (Columbus) and Southwest district teams and more than 1,500 competitors.
Host Wayne won the boys team title, overwhelming runner-up Centerville, 75-48.5. Dunbar (48) was third. Gahanna Lincoln (60.5) won the girls team title, edging Mason (58). Centerville (54) was third.
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Hunt had three mostly close misses at 12 feet, 8 inches and won the vault with a best 12-2. It was one of the few days this spring winter-like weather didn’t impact the field event.
“The ups and the downs, you’ve just got to get through them and take what you can get,” she said. “It’s one big family and there’s a lot of help from all the coaches. We’re all thankful for them.”
Troy senior Christine Moser was second (11-8).
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• Wayne won the 400 shuttle hurdles (1.00:00) and leaned on sprinter Zarik Brown to win the boys team title. A junior, Brown won the 100 (11.27), was second in the 200 (21.97) and ran on the runner-up 4x100 (42.58) and 4x400 (3:26.65) relays.
It’s the strongest Warriors’ boys team in more than a decade.
“My vision for this meet has always been to bring the best competition,” Wayne coach and meet director Mike Fernandez said. “The whole purpose is to expose us to the competition that we need to get to (state). This is what happens when you finally get good weather. This is what I like to see.”
• Greenon sophomore Delaney Benedict has been on a mission ever since a meet official stepped in her path last season. The speedster appeared destined to join the state’s best last season in her specialty, the 400. But that all changed in an instant during a 4x200 relay.
Nearing an exchange, a meet official stepped in her way. She dodged a sudden impact, but crumbled to the track with a twisted ankle. He season was done.
“I was mad,” she recalled.
She made up for that lingering disappointment in the best possible way. Her 56.47 set a 400 meet record.
“It means so much,” said Benedict among teammates. “I’ve worked so hard for this. It feels amazing. God gave me this talent and I’m so glad I can share it with everyone. I’m so ready.”
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• The boys pole vault was was separated by just one inch and several misses among the top four. Centerville junior Yariel Soto won (14-9). Ansonia sophomore Brock Shellhaas was second in less misses and Centerville senior and Greenville senior Ryan Trick tied for third, all at 14-8.
An outstanding age-group decathlete, Soto also was second in the 400 meters (49.65) and fourth in the long jump (22-0).
• Troy’s Lenea Browder was a shot put and discus sensation as a freshman and has upped that considerable game. The Trojans’ sophomore won the girls discus in a meet-record 156-3. She also won the shot put (44-3).
“I’m so ready and I’m ready to do more,” she gushed. “This is only the beginning.”
Last weekend at Centerville she went 49 feet in the shot put. Both those field event marks put her among the state’s best.
• Lakota East senior Dustin Horter established himself as a top half-miler with an uncontested 1:50.73, winning by an astonishing six seconds. The defending Division I state 1,600 champ, Horter will be a favorite in those two grueling middle distance events at state.