Saturday, April 10th, 2021
Celina take team titles at own Relays
By Tom Haines
Celina's Kira Dirksen stretches as she hands off the baton to Cora Langenkamp in. . .
CELINA - The Celina track team earned a sweep of the team titles at their own Celina Relays meet on Friday night at the Varsity Track in Celina.
The Bulldog boys beat out runner-up Coldwater by 45 points and the Celina girls edged the Cavaliers 99-96.
The girls' title came down to the final event of the day: the 4x400-meter relay. Coldwater's Maria Clune took the lead in the third leg and Ava Giere secured a five-second win, but it only narrowed the overall deficit. Freshman Ellie Hitchcock ran the anchor leg for the Bulldogs and earned a third-place finish with 2.5 seconds to spare, and that was enough to keep the lead and hold off the Cavaliers.
"With a relay meet, you can be a little more experimental, throwing some people in things they're not used to running," Celina coach Eric Wagner said. "Our distance people did very well, very pleased on both the guys' and the girls' side."
The Celina boys in particular excelled in the distance events, with Adam Faber, Conor Krogman, Matthias Drexler and Cole Hitchcock leading the Bulldogs to a win in the 4x1,600 and Faber, Krogman, Hitchcock and Brayden Shaw earning another in the 4x800. Hitchcock, Shaw and Faber also teamed up with Logan Seitz for a second-place finish in the distance medley later in the day.
Celina's boys also took both shuttle hurdle events, the discus and the triple jump to cruise to the win.
"The hurdlers ran really well, and we had some people hurdling for the first time today," Wagner said. "We had a triple jump relay, we usually don't have triple jump. We had some triple jumpers, they hadn't even practiced it until today."
The Cavalier girls were able to get closer with successes in the 4x200, the 4x400 and the 4x800, as well as strong showings in the field events, which took the best effort of the participants with the best combined total winning. Jenna Leugers and Beth Honigford earned the two top scores in the pole vault, while Ava Giere, Allison Hamberg and Megan Sigler all eclipsed 27 feet in the triple jump to pick up another win.
The boys won the 4x200 and came away with second-place finishes in the high jump, pole vault and shot put with Jesse Meyer posting the second-best throw of the meet at 44-9 1/2.
"Our boys throwers really responded, I was proud of that," Coldwater coach Mark Bruns said. "But we had a lot of people really spaced out for the boys. Our boys have kind of relied on just a few guys, but I'm very happy with just how the team as a whole responded, and that was the heart and the push that they got."
The Bulldogs and Cavaliers were joined by two other Mercer County schools. Fort Recovery's girls scored 58 points and the boys finished with 36, while Parkway's boys scored 50 and the girls mustered 26.
For Fort Recovery, the boys picked up wins in the 4x100 and long jump relays while the girls opened the running portion of the meet by winning the 4x1,600 relay.
Fort Recovery junior Whitley Rammel broke a school record in the shot put with a throw of 40-1, four feet further than the rest of the field to help the Indians finish second in the event.
"She had a little bit of a disappointment in the high jump, and then she turned it around, and she actually threw over school record on two throws," Fort Recovery coach Christy Diller said. "Gosh, she just went beast mode."
Parkway didn't win any relays, but placed second in the boys 4x100 and third in the 4x400 and 4x800. Junior Caden Slusher had the second-best long jump of the day at 20-feet, 0.5-inch, and classmate Blake Strickler put up the best split in the 4x1,600.
"I think our 4x400 did great," Parkway boys coach Nathan Rupp said. "They PR'd by seven seconds, which is great in a relay race that short."
As much as any of the events on the field, the day was defined by the absence of longtime Celina coach Dan Otten, who also handled the meet management every year. Before the final event, a moment of silence was held for Otten, who died of cancer in January.
"We did have a couple screw-ups," Wagner said. "We had a mistake on the 300-hurdle relay, we had the start a little screwed up. I'm sure he was looking down on us going, 'Wagner, what are you doing?'
"But everything turned out okay, and it's just one of those things. He was a great guy, great guy to the program, and such a wonderful friend."