There was no way Valley View senior Micah Matheson was going to fumble away another shot in the state track and field meet. Even if it meant overcoming a snapped tibia and fibula.
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“Everybody behind me — my therapist, my family, my school — everybody was behind me and I wanted to do something big.”
Matheson did just that, soaring a season-best 14 feet, 10 inches to place runner-up in the Division II pole vault on Friday’s first day of the state high school meets at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
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The 4x800-meter relay was the only running final Friday, along with half the D-II and D-III field events. All the other racing were semifinals to determine Saturday’s finals fields. All the D-I field events will be held Saturday.
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As a junior Matheson entered the state meet among the leaders, having cleared 15 feet. But he bombed, exiting after clearing 13-0. That fueled incentive for this season. So did recovering from a Week 8 football injury that still has him a bit gimpy.
“Last year we didn’t do very well,” said Matheson, who claimed the highest area state placing during Friday’s abbreviated finals. “Me and my coach, we were pretty upset about it. But we knew we had one more year to do it. … Halfway through the season I decided I wanted to be here and at least get a (season) PR and that’s what we did.”
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He appeared to match winner Austin Goolsby of Hillsboro by getting his hips over 15-2, “but I came down on it; died on it,” said Matheson.
• Celebrated Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas responded to being moved to the 4x100 relay anchor the best way possible, because the Wolverines posted the fastest D-II semifinal (42.20). The Dunbar girls matched that top-seed effort in the D-II 4x200 relay (1:41.93).
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The Dunbar boys also placed fourth in the 4x800 relay and should be in top-five contention for the boys team title. Less than 30 points could determine the girls D-II championship. Dunbar has a legitimate shot at that, too.
“We all wanted it this year,” said Thomas, who has football offers from OSU and Alabama among many others to play running back. “We all came together; boys and girls. We all talk about this is what we want. We’ve worked hard for it and we’re trying to finish it now.”
• Wayne Lawrence Jr. has some catching up to do to become the first sprinter since 2006 to win a 100-400-200 triple. He let up considerably and qualified for the D-II finals with the second-best 400 (48.80) and also is the No. 2 seed in the 200 (21.67).
It’s the 100 that is of concern. Warrensville Heights senior Demetri Keaton smoked a D-II meet record (10.59) in easily winning a semifinal matchup against Lawrence (10.79).
• Minster coach Jessie Magoto wouldn’t address it, but it’s a good bet the Wildcats have geared up for Youngstown St. Thomas Aquinas. That’s the team that has prevented Minster from winning the last two D-III girls state titles.
“We’re really happy,” said Magoto after Minster placed third in the 4x800 relay and had a fourth from junior long jumper Paige Thobe. “It sets the tone for the entire weekend.”
Minster advanced in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays and is loaded with high-end middle and long distance runners in Saturday’s individual events.
“It’s a solid start so I’m happy with that,” Magoto said. “It gives us something to work with (Saturday).”
• It took a 14.39 or better to make it to the finals in the D-I boys high hurdles. Springfield junior Dyier Smith unloaded a career-best 14.34 and finished fourth in his semifinal heat. No one went sub-14 seconds, but that’s what it’ll likely take to win that featured event.
• Four other area competitors placed third in D-III field events: Botkins senior Josh Miller in the shot put (57-6), Russia junior Emil Bohman in the pole vault (11-6), Franklin Monroe senior Nicole Berry in the shot put (47-3.75) and Covington junior Jett Murphy in the pole vault (14-10).
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