COLUMBUS — Maddy Merritt of Legacy Christian and Caleb Sultan of Cedarville both ran to runner-up finishes during day two of the Division III state track and field championships.
Merritt got second place in the girls 400 meters with a time of 56.41 seconds. It set a new school and Metro Buckeye Conference record. She finished behind Sydnee Sinn of Wayne Trace for the second straight year, who set the new state record in this year’s race.
“I came in here running the 100, 200 and 400 and I was wanting to make the finals in the 200, but it’s okay,” Merritt said. “I was happy with my event. It was really cool to get back here and not go down as I got the same place I did last year, so I’m good with that.”
Sultan ran to second in the boys 800 meters in 1:52.26. The champion, United’s Kaleb Nastari, also was a repeat winner in the event and set the fastest high school time in the nation this year.
“Obviously I came in wanting to win and I always want to win,” Sultan said. “Knowing he was at the top in the nation, I just had to go out there and hope to run a 1:52. That makes it a PR and brings the school record down a little bit more. Second place was a good finish for me.”
Also making the podium was Yellow Springs’ Malcolm Blunt. He ran to seventh in the boys 200 meters with a time of 22.47 after competing in the long jump on Friday.
“My family has been telling me it’s such an accomplishment making it to state, so I’m really glad I’m here and I got to see so many other great athletes,” Blunt said.
Carroll’s boys side had two podium placers as the heat and bright sunshine of the afternoon began to take affect on the competitors.
Logan Arnold had a seventh place finish in the boys 1600 meters. He raced to a time of 4:22.37 while maintaining a podium spot throughout his run.
“It was really hot but I was pretty happy overall,” Arnold said. “It’ll give me better goals for next season to keep going for it.”
Shortly after his finish, Seth Tivakaran completed his high school career with a fourth place run of 1:54.79 in the boys 800 meters. He was near the front of the pack for almost the entirety of the race.
He said just making it to state checked off a box on his goals.
“I had my eyes on our school record,” Tivakaran said. “I missed it by a little less than a second. Hopefully my efforts will push the guys behind me to do a little better next year.”
Cary Phillipson of Bellbrook made it back-to-back years with a member of the Golden Eagles on the podium in the boys pole vault.
Clearing 14 feet and six inches, Phillipson was hoping to vault over one more bar to approach the school record. He still ended up with a medal after tying for eighth place.
“I didn’t do as good as I wanted to but it was nice to spend the day here,” he said. “To be my first year on varsity and got to make it to state, it was a nice day.”
A lightning delay stopped the action for nearly two hours. The 6 p.m. restart, which saw hail begin to fall minutes prior, meant a rolling schedule was needed to finish all the events before sunset. Only two events were able to run before lightning was spotted again to cause another delay.
Competition began shortly after 7:30 p.m., causing all athletes to be on the ready.
Kayleigh Keyes of Beavercreek, the defending state champ in the girls 400 meters, had to wait three hours past her scheduled start time to try and defend her crown. She finished in second place with a time of 55.17.
“But I’m proud of myself because I ran faster this year than I did last year,” she said. “The girl that won, Claire, she ran a 54 and that pushed me to want to run faster. I didn’t PR, but it was close.”
Kaden Ellerbe followed with a sixth place run in the boys event doing the race in 48.45 seconds.
“I always like to watch Kayleigh run before me,” Ellerbe said. “She sets the expectations and she knows how I proud I am of her.”
As the sun began to hide behind the grandstands, Liam Gluck ran and jumped his way to fourth place in the boys 300 meter hurdles.
“I’m very happy since last year I got seventh place at districts,” he said. “Moving up to fourth at state, I’m very happy with that. I just ran as hard as I could and hope that I did the best I could.”
Macie Roberts closed out the the individual runs with a time of 2:14.14 in the girls 800 meters, moving up through the pack on her last lap to sneak onto the podium in eighth place.
“I just wanted to go on the outside and not have to cut through the middle,” Roberts said. “I was hoping that let me get out so I could get into my spot on the track to finish.”
Beavercreek had its boys and girls teams compete in the 4 x 400 relay to close the meet as the stadium lights came on.
Both sides set new school records in the event, with the girls team running in third at a time of 3:52.27 and the boys team getting second in 3:14.14.
Alex Magoteaux helped save the day in the girls race during the second baton pass. She was nearly cut off by another competitor from teammate Malaiya Lisch and had to reach around to complete the hand off.
“Someone was behind me and it kind of like tripped our third runner a little bit when I was passing off the baton, but I’m glad I was able to recover,” Magoteaux said.
The boys side held a small lead through the first three runners of their race, but were clipped at the finish line by .2 seconds.
“We definitely wanted to win the 4 x 4,” Ellerbe said. “All of us tried our best and I couldn’t be more proud of anybody on the team.”
Friday event results can be seen here. Also be sure to check out Tuesday’s print edition for feature stories and photos from the meet.
D-III — Maddy Merrit (LCA) — 200m G — 2nd 56.41
D-III — Caroline Hamilton (LCA) — 800m G — 12th 2:22.36
D-III — Caleb Sultan (Cedarville) — 800m B — 2nd 1:52.26
D-III — Malcolm Blunt (Yellow Springs) — 200m B — 7th 22.47
D-I — Cary Phillipson (Bellbrook) — Pole Vault B — t8th 14’ 6”
D-I — Joseph Hill (Beavercreek) — Pole Vault B — t14th 14’ 0”
D-I — Sahijah Alston (Beavercreek) — Discus G — 12th 121’ 6”
D-II — Ruby Gross (Carroll) — 1600m G — 12th 5:17.36
D-II — Logan Arnold (Carroll) — 1600m B — 7th 4:22.37
D-II — Seth Tivakaran (Carroll) — 800m B — 4th 1:54.79
D-II — Anna Thurman (Carroll) — 3200m G — 12th 11:14.14
D-I — Sahijah Alston (Beavercreek) — Shot Put G — 16th 35’ 5”
D-I — Kayleigh Keyes (Beavercreek) — 400m G — 2nd 55.17
D-I — Kaden Ellerbe (Beavercreek) — 400m B — 6th 48.45
D-I — Liam Gluck (Beavercreek) — 300mH G — 4th 38.06
D-I — Macie Roberts (Beavercreek) — 800m G — 8th 2:14.14
D-I — Kayleigh Keyes, Alex Magoteaux, Malaiya Lisch, Elinor Shuttleworth (Beavercreek) — 4 x 400 G — 3rd 3:52.27
D-I — Malachi Chapman, Kaden Ellerbe, Liam Gluck, Ben Watson (Beavercreek) — 4 x 400 G — 2nd 3:14.14
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.