COLUMBUS - Northview senior Lisa Johnson won the Division I state high jump championship yesterday with a personal-best height of 5 feet, 9 inches at the state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
She also ensured herself a place among the Wildcats' wall of fame.
"The most exciting thing about all of this is, I get my picture put up on the wall at school," Johnson said.
Johnson's winning leap, also a school record, gave her a state title she contended for a year earlier when Maumee graduate Michelle Sutherland walked away with the first-place medal after clearing 5-8. Johnson, who will join Sutherland at the University of Toledo in the fall, placed third a year ago after clearing 5-7.
"Last year just wasn't my year," Johnson said. "It was Michelle's year to win. She'd been there four years and it was her time to win it.
"I really thought this year was my year to win."
Just as it was a year ago, it came down to Johnson and two other contenders. This time it was Johnson who came through when it counted. She was the only one to scale 5-9.
"I did everything my coach told me to do," Johnson said. "He said make sure to make those last two steps before jumping very powerful and very fast."
Northview coach Steve Pierzchala, who works primarily with the high jump and long jump competitors, commended Johnson for becoming the Wildcats' first state girls long jump champion.
"She was tremendous," he said. "Everything worked out like we wanted it to work out.
"I just told her to go out and have fun. There was no pressure on her; she already has a scholarship."
The Bowsher girls 800 relay team of Alisha Jones, Marrisa Harrison, Tasha Banks and Meshawn Graham brought back northwest Ohio's only other D-I title. They Rebels streaked to a season-best 1:40.84. The foursome also ran fourth in the 400 relay at of 48.35.
"It's probably the greatest feeling I've ever had in track and field," said Jones, who also placed seventh (45.97) in the 300 hurdles.
Graham, who missed a couple of weeks of competition with a hamstring injury, ran a strong anchor leg for the second day in a row while wearing a brace.
"It was a nice day and we came out here and proved a lot of people wrong," Graham said. "We finished fourth at regionals, but we came here and wanted to do well to represent the city of Toledo."
Bowsher sprinter Aeric Clay had predicted a day earlier he would defeat Piqua's Brandon Saine - the defending state 100-meter champ. Clay gave Saine a run for the 100 title for the second year in a row, but Saine, a junior, crossed the finish line in a meet-record time of 10.50. Clay, also a junior, came in a close second with a season-best 10.61.
"I'm coming back stronger next year," Clay said. "I almost got him again at the tape. I'll have it next year. I have good turnover and he has good turnover, but I have to get faster."
"I know he's wanted to beat me for a long time, so I knew I had to come ready," said Saine, who has already committed to Ohio State to play football.
Southview's Bahiyjaui Allen closed out her career with a runner-up finish and personal best in the shot put at 42-1.
"I had a lot more confidence than in the past," Allen said. "I really felt like I had more in me. I wanted to come here and do my best and I did my best on paper."
Bowling Green's Christy Titus finished third in the 3200 in 11:02.33. Whitmer's Courtney Siebenaller placed fourth (44.55) in the 300 hurdles. Start's Erik Kynard tied for fourth (6-6) in the high jump and Central's Dane Sanzenbacher produced a fourth-place effort (48.60) in the 400 despite running in lane 8. St. Francis de Sales' Derrick Canales claimed fourth (22-4 1/4) in the long jump.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com or 419-724-6302.
CORRECTION: In yesterday's editions the names for the fifth-place 3200 relay team from St. Francis were incorrect. They team was made up of Justin Turner, Chris Douglas, Colin Pettiford and Nick Zychowicz.39.96196 -83.00298