COLUMBUS — Liberty-Benton hurdler Dakota Conkle was sidelined from track and field competition a year ago with a hip injury.
Frankly, idleness as a junior made the Eagles senior even more motivated to compete this spring.
Conkle showed his readiness to compete on Saturday when he helped open the Division III state track meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium by winning the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.80.
“I’ve had a great senior year,” said Conkle, who placed third at state as a sophomore and suffered only two losses this season in his best event.
Conkle, who spent most of last summer rehabbing his injury, plans to attend Ohio University in the fall to focus on his studies (business communications) after receiving little interest from colleges to continue running track or play football after high school.
However, winning a state championship before a big crowd and college coaches could possibly change those plans.
“I may keep my options open,” Conkle said.
A day after sharing the top step of the awards stand as teammates after winning the 3200 relay, Toledo Christian’s Krista Wood and Delainey Phelps attempted to find their way to the awards stand as individuals.
Wood, a senior, chose to run in only one of two individual events she qualified in for state. She wanted to give it her all in the 3200, which led to a personal-record time of 11:07.24, shaving 14 seconds off her previous best and earning her a third-place finish. Gilmour Academy’s Alexandra Markovic won with a time of 11:04.53, followed by Shadyside’s Tara Tollett (11:06.63).
“I’m really happy I got a PR,” Wood said. “I tried to win, but these girls are amazing.”
Phelps, a junior, claimed third place in the 1600 with a personal-best time of 5:04.55 before returning to the track and running seventh in the 3200 with a time of 11:23.91.
“My main race was the mile, and I was a little tired [for the 3200] after running the mile,” Phelps said.
Elmwood’s Kyle Smithey said windy conditions made it difficult running the 400, but he still figured out how to place second with a time of 39.04. Gahanna Columbus Academy’s Jack Lint held off Smithey down the stretch to win with a time of 38.91.
“I’m happy,” Smithey said. “I can’t complain about second place. That was decent with the wind coming right at you.
“I saw [Lint] on my hip around the [final] curve. He finished strong, and I just couldn’t catch him.”
The Eagles’ 1600 relay team (Chase Conkle, Jacob Clagg, Dakota Conkle, Joseph Sherrieb) ran third with a time of 3:25.32.
Montpelier senior Kristopher Shoup placed fifth in the 800 (1:55.94).
Woodmore junior Andrew Shrewsbury placed fifth in the 200 (22.91) and sixth in the 100 (11.47).
Shrewsbury, a regional champion, was not completely satisfied with his results.
“I came out of the blocks fast, but I just couldn’t finish how I wanted to with the wind in your face,” Shrewsbury said.
Gahanna Columbus Academy dominated the D-III boys competition to win the championship with 64 points.
Versailles finished with 39 points to win the D-III girls championship. Toledo Christian and Bluffton tied for fourth with 24 points each.
Archbold’s Angelica Reyes, Kassidy Garrow, Tressa Parsley, and Jensyn Garrow finished fourth in the 1600 relay with a time of 4:02.14.
Patrick Henry’s Morgan Imbrock finished eighth in the 100 hurdles (16.16).
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.