COLUMBUS — When Notre Dame’s Lexi Aughenbaugh flashed the No. 1 sign with both hands raised and index fingers pointed upward over her head for a split second while standing on the top step of the awards podium, it revealed just how good she felt at that moment.
The Eagles’ top distance runner was also all smiles — braces and all — moments after winning the 3200 meters at the Division I state track and field championship Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“To win feels awesome,” said Aughenbaugh, who crossed the finish line of the eight-lap race in a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 44.58 seconds — knocking eight seconds off her previous best effort.
Despite not having qualified for state in an individual event before this year, the Ohio State-bound distance runner approached the day thinking positively about winning a state title. She believed it was possible on a partly sunny, cool, and windy afternoon.
And it showed by her willingness to run at the front of the pack for most of the way before eventually pulling away with a lap remaining.
“This is probably the best my legs have ever felt,” Aughenbaugh said. “I felt great the entire race.”
Several other local athletes made strong showings at the final track meet of the season.
Notre Dame’s 800 relay team of Chantalia Young, Ashley Kynard, Jessika Matthews, and Lexis Williams just missed celebrating a first-place effort of their own after placing second with a time of 1:42.30. Dublin Scioto won the race in 1:42.06.
“This means a lot, especially since this is my senior year,” Matthews said.
Williams’ day also included placing fourth in the 200 with a time of 25.00.
“It was quick, and it was over a lot quicker than I thought,” Williams said of the 200, which was won for the fourth year in a row by Reynoldsburg’s Destinee Gause. “But I’m very happy with the race.”
Rogers senior Brianna Scott-Glover closed her high school career by placing third in the 300 hurdles (42.39) and seventh in the 100 hurdles (14.90).
“I feel pretty good,” Scott-Glover said. “I did pretty good. I’m No. 3 in Ohio [for the 300 hurdles].”
Bowling Green freshman Maria Horrigan made the most of her appearance at state by finishing third in the pole vault with a personal-best effort of 11-8.
“I was hoping Top 3, and I got it,” Horrigan said.
Clay’s Nicole Breeden was pleased about placing fourth in the discus with a throw traveling 138-10.
“It was pretty cool. This is pretty exciting being here,” Breeden said. “It was fun.”
Findlay’s Kyesha Neal earned fifth place with a throw measuring 137 feet, and Whitmer’s Allie Missler placed sixth with a personal-record toss of 136-8.
“I’ve been working for this since the eighth grade,” said Missler about making it to the state meet.
Neal also finished fourth in the shot put (43-5).
Northview’s Alysha Welch finished in a four-way tie for seventh in the high jump after clearing 5-2.
Clay’s Emily Popovitch finished 11th in the long jump with an effort of 16-2.75, and Bowsher’s Zana Oliver was 16th (14-11.25).
Northview’s Alison Work placed fifth in the 1600 (5:01.25) and 13th in the 800 (2:18.11). Perrysburg’s Emily Wyrick crossed the finish line 11th in the 800 (2:17.85), and teammate Taylor Monheim ran 11th in the 3200 (11:20.64).
Bowsher’s D’Angelo Wilkes-Sharpley led the 800 for more than three-quarters of the two-lap race before crossing the finish line third in a personal-record time of 1:53.48. Lancaster’s Brannon Kidder won in 1:51.09, which gave him his second victory of the day after winning the 1600 (4:14.03).
Maumee’s Willy Fink came away fourth in the 1600 (4:16.40) and 15th in the 3200 (9:54.10). Fink exerted most of his energy during the 1600, which resulted in him coming up shy of his goal to win the event.
“I came out slow, and it came down to a kick at the end, and I just didn’t have it in me,” Fink said.
St. Francis de Sales’ Kyle Lach placed 13th in the 1600 with a time of 4:24.76.
Whitmer’s Chris Wormley capped a stellar high school career by finishing third in the discus (186-2) and eighth in the shot put (56-10.5).
Fremont Ross’ Jared Ballenger was sixth in the discus with a throw of 173-6. Findlay’s Tyler Brown jumped 22-3.50 to place third in the long jump and was sixth in the high jump with an effort of 6-6. Southview’s Jernard Pinckney finished sixth in the long jump after jumping 22-.75 while Fremont Ross’ Shanquise Mills came through for seventh with a jump of 21-10.50.
St. John’s James O’Shea placed 10th in the high jump (6-4).
Findlay’s Cody Swisher cleared 15 feet to finish sixth in the pole vault, while Whitmer’s Patrick Siebenaller placed ninth after clearing 14-6.
Lakewood St. Edward won the boys championship with 48 points, while Lancaster and Pickerington North finished tied for second with 36 points apiece.
Reynoldsburg took the girls title with 56 points, followed by Lorain with 34.