Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Celina girls dominate
Western Buckeye League Track and Field Championships
By Gary R. Rasberry
Celina's Holli Brackman, center, leads Van Wert's Megan Braun and Bath's Kelsey. . .
ELIDA - Coaches tend to breathe a lot easier knowing that their team has clinched a title well before the end of the meet.
The Celina girls track and field team wrapped up a dominating week of action in cruising to a fifth straight Western Buckeye League title at the league meet in Elida.
The Bulldogs tallied 149 1/3 points. Wapakoneta was the next closest with 94 points. St. Marys finished fifth with 39.
"It felt good coming off an injury and finishing out my senior year," said senior Emily Jackson, who won the 300-meter hurdles on the day.
"It feels good," said classmate Holli Brackman, who won the 100 dash, ran legs of the winning 4x100 and 4x200 and placed second in the 200 dash. "All the hard work definitely paid off. So proud of my team."
On the boys' side, the battle for the team title came down to a three-way race between Wapakoneta, Van Wert and Celina. When the final points were tallied, Wapak won with 97 points. Van Wert edged Celina 91-87 for runner-up. St. Marys placed sixth with 41 1/2 points.
Paige Sutter picked up the first win of the day for Celina in the shot put. Sutter, who finished third in the discus on Wednesday, bettered her personal record in the shot with a top effort of 39-9 1/2, winning by a margin of 2 1/2 feet.
"I tried to go through my reps as quick as possible in warmups and got my pace," Sutter said, who was runner-up in the shot last year.
Brackman's win in the 100 was quickly followed by Celina victories the 4x200 and 4x100 relays. The 1,600 races were held in-between the relays, making it a quick turnaround for the athletes competing in the 4x200 and 4x100.
"It was tiring going back-to-back, but it was worth it," said Brackman with a smile.
Emily Jackson, who finished fifth in the 100 hurdles, bounced back with a big win in the 300 hurdles, beating Ottawa-Glandorf's Melissa Knott by just over half-a-second for the title.
The coup de grâce to clinch the title came in the 800 when Lauren Jackson and Sara Wenning finished 1-2 for 18 big points.
Also coming through with big contributions were Ashtyn Phlipot with a second-place effort in the 400, Lauren McDonough placing fourth in the 1,600 and second in the 3,200 and Kelly Moeder earning runner-up honors in the long jump.
Jacob Rasawehr capped off his WBL career by defending his discus title. The Valparaiso University-bound thrower dominated the prelims with a throw of 152-9, over 14 feet better than the next-best qualifier. Rasawehr saved the best for last, breaking his personal record with a top effort of 155-9 in his final throw.
"I haven't been having the best of seasons this year," said Rasawehr. "To finally come out and throw my (personal record) feels really good."
Celina's Adrian Hurley picked up a win in the 1,600, but Celina fell behind the leaders with some tough showings in other events.
In the 3,200, Roman Mitchell was hovering between second and third with Wapakoneta's Dylan Plaugher and Van Wert's Calahan Wolfrum in front. With just over 400 meters to the finish, Mitchell put together a sprint to get to the front and win the race in 9:57.82. He was the only runner to break 10 minutes.
"I told everyone they would take it out (the pace) fast," said Mitchell. "If I could get (near the front) with 400 to go, I know I can win. I know I could out-sprint them. I knew it was going to be hard. (Wolfrum) was seeded 20 seconds faster than me. I knew I could get it."
A second-place showing in the 4x400 ahead of Wapak got Celina closer, but not enough to snare the title.
Blake Germann added a third-place showing in the 400. Dussel Vondenhuevel placed third in both hurdle events.
St. Marys' highlight of the day came from Kelly Wilker in the very-competitive 1,600 and 3,200 runs. In the 1,600, Wilker battled Celina's Lauren McDonough and Wapak's Allie Zofkie every lap before finishing first in 5:15.95 with Zofkie second and McDonough third.
In the 3,200, it was Wilker and McDonough battling at the front, but Wilker once again came across with the victory in 11:30.41, six seconds ahead of McDonough.
"It was definitely a goal coming into (the league meet)," said Wilker, who was also the WBL cross country champion last fall. "Getting mentally prepared was important to me. ... Turned out good for me."
Celina travels to Tiffin next Wednesday for Division I district track. St. Marys will also compete on Wednesday, traveling to Defiance for Division II competition.