TIFFIN - Of any high school sport, track and field might be the easiest to predict. With few exceptions, the top seeds in each event finish high on the podium.
That's why Colin Shannon's regional high jump championship is so intriguing.
Archbold's Shannon entered yesterday's Division III meet in Tiffin ranked No. 11, seven spots below what was necessary to qualify for the state meet. But the lone senior in the field took the title with a leap of 6-foot-3, five inches higher than he jumped at districts.
"At districts I think I was really nervous and didn't try to have fun," Shannon said. "I just tried to loosen up a bit."
Archbold finished third in the boys meet with 40 points. Liberty-Benton edged Bluffton 67-66 to capture top honors. The Liberty-Benton girls finished second with 45 points, three fewer than Seneca East. The top four finishers in each event advance to the state championships next weekend in Columbus.
Shannon, who did not compete last year because of injury, plans to employ his laid back demeanor once more next weekend.
"I'm just going to do what I did this week and try to have fun with it," he said. "It's my last meet so I'm going to have fun."
Shannon will be accompanied by Archbold's 400 and 800 relay squads, which are comprised of the same four guys. Jacob Fidler, Nate Hammersmith, Breon Price and Garrett Waidelich won the 400 in 44.05 and finished second in the 800 even though they broke the previous regional record.
"We're pretty pumped because we've been working at it all year," said Fidler, who ran the first leg in both races. "It was a team effort. We've been working on our passes day in and day out and it's finally paying off."
Elmwood sophomore Katie Reiser finished second in the 100 and 200, falling to Bluffton's Bonnie Stratton in both. Reiser narrowly missed qualifying in both events last year, which made yesterday that much sweeter.
"I was hoping for it a lot," Reiser said. "I felt good after [winning districts]. Katherine and I are so close, so I wasn't sure."
Reiser was referring to Ottawa Hills sophomore Katherine Jamieson, who finished third in the 100 and 200, and was second in the 400. Jamieson will be making her first state appearance in the 400 after qualifying in the 100 and 200 a year ago.
"I definitely want to try to qualify for the finals in all three," Jamieson said. "I just want to do my best and have fun."
Woodmore freshman Lacy Nagy will kick off her career with a berth in the state meet after finishing fourth in the 3200 in 11:55.92. Despite being unacquainted with such a stressful environment, Nagy said she didn't have to battle nerves during the race.
"The only time I get nervous is when you get to the line and the gun goes off," Nagy said. "All of your adrenaline is pumping and you just want to go."
With that attitude, Nagy is not likely to be overwhelmed in Columbus.
"I have no expectations, but it would be great to make the podium," she said.
Elmwood's Curtis Smithey would like a similar result when he wraps up his career next week. Smithey qualified in the 400 (second), 200 (third) and as a member of the Royals' third place 1600 relay team.
"It's not as fun going by yourself," Smithey said. "You have to help other people out too."
The battle for first in the boys meet between Bluffton and Liberty-Benton came down to the 1600 relay.
Bluffton won the race in 3:23.25, but Liberty-Benton's runner-up finish secured enough points for the team title.
L-B's Seth Butler won titles in the 800 and 1600, and also qualified as part of the 3200 relay team.
Other area champions were: Woodmore's 3200 relay of Drew Holbrook, Chris Jacobson, Tyler Schroeder and William Wegert; Liberty-Benton's Brynn Chaskel in the 3200; Woodmore's Erin Pendleton in the discus and shot put; Woodmore's Tatijana Jacobson in the high jump; and Lakota's Cami Wasserman in the pole vault.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org