Blaine Brokschmidt of Miami East won the D-II state pole vault, going 15-6 at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday, May 31, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Miami East state champion pole vaulter glad he made the switch

It was toward the end of his seventh-grade track and field season. Having hit his limit on oval training, he begged his coach if he could switch to the vault instead. “They never had to run in workouts,” Brokschmidt recalled. “It was definitely a process. You’ve got to work out all the kinks and I finally got it to where I needed it to be at exactly the right time. It just happened.”

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What happened was Vikings program history.

A heavy favorite – and quick learner – Brokschmidt soared over 15 feet, 6 inches to win a Division II high school track state individual championship on Friday at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Miami East senior Blaine Brokschmidt won the D-II state track and field pole vault (15-6) at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday, May 31, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It was the first of two days for the girls and boys state meets. The only running final was the 3,200-meter relay. All the other running events were semifinals, the nine fastest advancing to Saturday’s finals. Half the field events were scheduled to be contested. All the D-I field events will be held on Saturday.

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The event was delayed for more than two hours in mid-Friday due to repeated lightning sightings. The Ohio High School Athletic Association then indefinitely suspended the meet.

Brokschmidt wobbled midway through Friday’s vault. He started jumping at 14-2, then missed his first attempts at 14-6 and 14-10. He sailed over 15-2 clean and followed with the winner on that first attempt, too. That’s what he was expected to do after going 15-9 at the regional.

Greenon junior Cameron Algren was third in the D-II state pole vault. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“I thought, there’s no way,” he said. “Then I popped that big one and it just kept rolling from there.”

Greenon junior vaulter Cameron Algren was third (14-10).

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• Also winning was Northwestern senior Adam Riedinger in the D-II shot put. It must have felt like home to the senior, who signed with the OSU track program. All six of his throws surpassed 58 feet, including a winning launch of 59-7.50.

Northwestern senior Adam Riedinger won the D-II state shot put. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“It’s surreal,” said Riedinger, who finished second at the regional. “It’s crazy. I’ve worked so hard for it.”

Dunbar’s Zamir Youngblood (right) hands off to 400 relay anchor Durron Harris during the D-II state track and field meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday, May 31, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

• Count on Zamir Youngblood as a difference-make for Dunbar’s quest to add another boys D-II state team title. The senior scratched out of the 200 and instead anchored the 800 relay to the best qualifying time (1:27.28). He also ran on the 400 relay that advanced to the finals (43.00) and was ticketed to anchor the 1,600 relay.

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He also advanced in the 100 (10.89). The Wolverines have won 10 outdoor state titles in their storied program history, including four since 2012. The last was in 2017.

“We’ve got to get our (state) title back,” he said. “I knew we were going to make this comeback.”

Oakwood’s Elizabeth Vaughn (right) passes a Carroll runner in the 3,200 relay during the D-II state track and field meet at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday, May 31, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

• The Oakwood 3,200 relay of senior Mary Kidwell, juniors Elizabeth Vaughn and Lily Eifert and freshman Grace Hartman burned a season-best 9:28.08 to place fifth in D-II. Hartman, an emerging distance ace, also will double in the 1,600 and 3,200 on Saturday and Vaughn will join her in the 3,200.

“It was really incredible,” Hartman said. “It’s really exciting. It means a lot that all of us could push really hard in a meet that counts.”

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• West Liberty-Salem is in great position to contend for a D-III girls team title. The Tigers won the 3,200 relay (9:19.08). WL-Salem also had the fastest 800 relay qualifier (1:44.53) and advanced in the 400 and 1,600 relays. The Tigers also should place high in several individual running and field events.

Minster was second (9:30.63) and Fort Loramie fifth (9:41.76) in the 3,200 relay. Minster is the girls D-III defending team champion.

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• Other D-III field event placers were Grace Homan of Botkins, fourth in the discus (133-7), Macy Puthoff of New Bremen, fourth in the long jump (17-2.25), Shelby Ayers of Houston, fifth in the discus (130-3), Dawson Hildebrand of Newton, fifth in the shot put (53-9.75) and Newton’s Cameron Stine, sixth in the high jump (6-4).

• Two more area athletes were crowned state champions following a nearly four-hour weather delay. Ansonia junior Brock Shellhaas won the D-III pole vault (15-5) and Springfield Catholic Central freshman Mallory Mullen bested the D-III high jump field (5-7).

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Shellhaas led throughout after clearing 14-0 to begin jumping. He leaped 14-8, then had the event to himself after clearing 15-0, then 15-8. He missed three tries at 15-10. Last season he was fifth at state.

Mullen and Lyssi Snouffer of Delaware Christian both cleared 5-7 in the high jump, but Mullen had no misses through that height and Snouffer, an All-Ohioan in volleyball and basketball, had two misses. 

Both missed three times at 5-8. Mullen went out first. That left Snouffer a final jump. When she missed, Mullen and Irish coach Mark Klopfenstein celebrated a rare Catholic Central state title.

That also puts her in contention to be a rare four-time state champ. Any chance she has considered that? “No,” she said. “I’m just caught up in the moment.”

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