Three of the members of Archbold’s state champion 800-meter relay team return this season with, from left, Noah Keefer, Danny Young, and Desmond Sleigh. They also qualified to state in other events.Both the Liberty-Benton boys and girls track teams proved to be the elite Division III teams in the area last spring when both captured regional titles.
But it was the Archbold boys team, which was regional runner-up, that experienced the greatest amount of success at the state meet in Columbus. The Blue Streaks finished fourth at state on the strength of its relay teams.
The Blue Streaks’ 800-meter relay team nearly established a state record when it won the title with a convincing time of 1:28.49. That was just .02 seconds off the state record.
Three of the four members return — seniors Desmond Sleigh and Noah Keefer, and junior Danny Young. Nathaniel Hammersmith, the anchor, graduated.
“We have a lot of returning boys, and they’re coming together,” first-year Archbold coach Dina Gladieux said. “As a team we’ve progressed, and I’m very thrilled. I think it will be a strong team as planned.”
Young also joined Keefer and junior Hayden Stamm to finish fifth in the 1600 relay (3:22.54) at state. Young took fourth in the 300 hurdles (39.49).
“Right now Danny is very consistent in the 300,” Gladieux said. “Danny is very strong. He is valuable on the relay teams.”
Sleigh placed third in the long jump at state with a leap of 22 feet-1/4 inch.
“He has had good days, and we’re thrilled with how he is doing,” Gladieux said.
At the regional, Sleigh took sixth in the 200, while Keefer was seventh in the 400.
“We’re keeping an eye on Noah. We might like his chances better in the 800,” Gladieux said.
Archbold may have finished higher at state if its unbeaten 400 relay had not been disqualified at the district for dropping the baton.
“We have to have someone to step up there [in the relays],” Gladieux said.
She said Stamm and freshman Jacob Reyes are the leading candidates.
Liberty-Benton finished seventh in the state as a team.
“This has the potential to be one of our better teams,” longtime Eagles coach Jack Quisno said. “We have four guys that the team is based around.”
Liberty-Benton junior Dakota Conkle captured a regional championship in the 110 hurdles, then took third at state (14.74). He also qualified to state in the 300 hurdles.
“He’s doing a great job, although he injured his hip recently,” Quisno said. “But he is quicker. He is talented enough to make it back to Columbus with minimal conditioning.”
L-B senior Brad Keller finished fourth in the state in the long jump with a leap of 14-6. He was third as a sophomore.
“He is looking strong. He sure wants to get back down there,” Quisno said.
Three members of the Eagles’ 1600 relay team, senior Hunter Rosenberger, junior Joseph Sherrieb, and Conkle return after placing second at the regional. Sherrieb also was a member of the 3200 relay team, along with junior Jacob Clagg, that took second at the regional.
“Hunter is a solid sprinter. Joe is a middle distance runner who can help in a big way. Jacob is a solid middle distant runner for us,” Quisno said.
He also said senior Seth Davis, who missed last year with an injury, could play a big role for the Eagles, who won their sixth regional title in the last seven years. The program has won three state titles (1995, 2000, and 2005).
“I think we can contend and be one of top four or five teams in the state,” Quisno said.
Fremont St. Joseph senior Brant Reardon is aiming to defend his state title in the high jump (6-7), while senior Isaac Bowling was second at the regional in discus and 11th at state.
Delta senior Colin Fisher won a regional title in the 3200, then placed sixth (9:40.48) at state. He also qualified in the 1600.
Woodmore senior Grant Weirich is the lone returning member of a state-qualifying 1600 relay team and regional champion 3200 relay team (sixth at state).
Liberty Center returns three runners from its 3200 team that qualified for state. Seniors Steven Hoke, Kyle Stacey, and Josh Seedorf took fourth at the regional.
Liberty-Benton returns (from left) Caitlyn Mathias, Adrienne Ford, Taylor Allen, and Samantha Rhodes, who placed sixth at the state meet in two relay events (400 and 800).Liberty-Benton girls state contenders
In the girls’ competition, Liberty-Benton won the regional title last season, the eighth crown under longtime coach Pat Wagner.
The Eagles swept three of four relay events at the regional meet and all members of those winning teams return. L-B’s closest finish to a state title came in 1996 when it was runner-up.
“This team has a lot of balance,” Wagner said. “In my 29 years, this is the best team we’ve ever had. All the girls [that reached state] are back, and we added a freshman. I would be lying if contending for a state title wasn’t in the back of my mind.”
Liberty-Benton placed 11th at the state meet last year.
The Eagles 1600 relay of senior Adrienne Ford, senior Taylor Allen, junior Laura Fish, and junior Samantha Rhodes placed fifth in Columbus with a time of 4:06.15.
L-B’s other relay teams, the 400 and 800, took sixth at the state meet. Senior Caitlyn Mathias, Ford, Allen, and Rhodes ran a 50.48 in the 400. The same four had a 1:46:05 in the 800.
Wagner said freshman Sydney Waltz is an outstanding sprinter who will be added to relay teams.
“That will be a big boost,” he said. “All those girls will still be involved in different set ups in relays. Some may just be in two. Everything is falling into place.”
L-B junior Alyssa Gary is the defending regional champ in the discus and placed third in the shot put.
McComb senior Jackie Leppelmeier won a state title in the shot put. at 45 feet and 1/4 inch. She also was fifth in the discus.
Woodmore senior Carly Pendleton placed second in the state in the discus with a throw of 147-6.
Patrick Henry senior Tori Meyer looks to defend her regional title in the pole vault (11-8). She took third at state at 11-9. and was second in the 100 hurdles at the regional.
Archbold senior Trisha King won a regional title in the 800 before finishing sixth in the state.
Patrick Henry senior Krystin Reiser reached state in the 800 after taking second at the regional.
Toledo Christian’s 1600 relay team of junior Krista Wood, junior Michelle Wright, sophomore Delainey Phelps, and senior Katie Roose finished second at the regional last year.
The four Eagle runners also teamed up in the 3200 to finish 14th at state.
In the 1600, Pettisville sophomore Samantha Shinhearl placed 13th in Columbus. She also anchored a state-qualifying 1600 relay team.
All four members return for Pettisville’s regional champion 3200 relay team — senior Brady Avina, junior Tanner Hostetler, senior Tessa Yoder, and Shinhearl.
McComb junior Jena Kryling took eighth in the 300 hurdles at state.
Fremont St. Joseph junior Kelsey Burkin qualified for state in the 100 and 200 with fourth-place finishes in both events at regionals.
The Streaks’ 400 relay team of junior Maddi Filliater, junior Kelsey Burkin, senior Whitney Drown, and senior Lindsay Weickert, also reached state.
Liberty Center had its runners finish one-two in the 3200 at the regional. Junior Chelsea Knapp won the title (11:55.90), while sophomore Kelly Haubert was runner up (11:56.50).
North Baltimore junior Amanda Hotaling and Pettisville senior Stephanie Yoder finished second and third, respectively, at state in the pole vault.
Contact Mark Monroe at: