Home Notice Box Sports State Track and Field: ‘Creek’s redemption; Carroll, LCA athletes featured, final results

State Track and Field: ‘Creek’s redemption; Carroll, LCA athletes featured, final results


DAYTON — “Motivation from last year for sure,” Liam Gluck said.

“Motivation all year,” Lance Caswell said.

“We weren’t going to let it happen again,” Kaden Ellerbe added.

Redemption never felt so good for the Beavercreek 4 x 400 boys relay team.

Teamming with Aaden Hildbrand for the 2024 OHSAA Division I State Track and Field meet finals, the Beavers won the state championship. Three minutes and 15 and one-fourth seconds after the race began, Ellerbe dashed across the finish line with his teammates standing in wait next to it so they could all together celebrate a long awaited title win.

“Lance, we needed him to have a great first leg,” Ellerbe said. “Liam, he’s been our leader all year. Aaden has the most heart out here. And they all made it easy for me.”

At the 2023 state meet, it appeared Beavercreek had a title win in its grasp. Leading for nearing the entirety of the race and the finish line seemingly less than 100 feet away, the team was caught from behind and ended up finishing in second place by 0.2 seconds.

It was clear they believed 2024 would be a different story. And even though they made it happen, they were nearly derailed without getting the opportunity.

Hildebrand said an injury took him off the track for four weeks during the season, and Gluck believed he pulled a hamstring during the GWOC Championships three weeks before state.

“It was going downhill for a lot of us,” Gluck said.

“But it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Ellerbe added.

Contributions from teammates, including Gio Louprasong at regionals, got the team through each stage of qualifying. Everyone made sure to recognize his efforts in helping get the team to state.

The team had the top time in from the three preliminary heats on Friday and were slotted in lane four for the final.

Caswell ran the first leg of Saturday’s finals and Gluck went second. The duo kept pace with runners from Lexington and didn’t let the competition get away from them early.

“I just wanted to keep the swagger up,” Caswell said. “Get out hard and be able to cruise in to get it to Liam and let my team do the rest of the work.”

“I knew I had to gave Aaden a good spot,” Gluck said. “I probably came in third or fourth, I don’t even know, but I stayed right behind the whole time. I knew we were good from then.”

Hildebrand made the pass on the back stretch to get to the front of the pack. As he made his run, Gluck turned to Ellerbe on the track and gave him a final bit of encouragement knowing the win was within reach. When Hildebrand made the final hand off to Ellerbe, he was roughly a second behind the team from Moeller at the line.

“I just tried to get out and I knew the way that they set me up, Liam and Lance, it was over once I gave the baton to Kaden,” Hildebrand said.

Ellerbe chased down the only runner left in front of him with ease. As he entered the front straight, his teammates made their way over to the finish line directly next to the timing board to get the best view possible in cheering him to the finish. A track official attempted to run over and force the three of them away, but he couldn’t convey the level of excitement the team was experiencing.

The win was a year in the making and the team was going to enjoy every second of the moment.

“[Last year] was all the motivation that we needed. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for those people behind us so shout out to them,” Ellerbe said referring to his coaches.

Janson proved his confidence in title win

When the time to make his move came, Andrew Janson knew he had the ability to power to the front of the pack. He made it look easy.

Janson won the second state title of the weekend for Carroll as he finished first in the D-II boys 800 meters.

Getting caught up in a tight grouping and running in sixth place after the first lap, he began to make his push toward the front as the field began to spread and he turned onto the back stretch of the final lap. Flying by his opponents, Janson had made the pass to get into the lead before getting through the final turn and comfortably remained ahead down the final straight.

“I was a little nervous because I knew I had to make up some ground,” Janson said. “I knew I had a lot left and I was confident I could catch those guys during that second lap and that’s what I did.”

Janson came into the event from regionals with the best qualifying time of the finalists, and the time was the fastest set by a D-II runner this season. He backed up his prowess at Welcome Stadium in running the race in 1:52.61 to win by a full second over Nathan Strahm of Otsego.

“I wanted to try and go into the ones today, but winning was all that really matters,” Janson said.

Even though he needed to close the race strong he clearly had more energy left in the tank. Janson anchored the 4 x 400 relay less than 40 minutes after his win.

Keyes takes loss in stride

After winning the state title in the girls 400 meters as a freshman, Kayleigh Keyes thought her sophomore season was rougher as she attempted to work on other aspects of her abilities.

She still went on to finish as the state runner-up last year. Getting another chance in 2024 and feeling like she ran a good race, the title again slipped just out of reach.

Keyes got another second place run at state on Saturday, but this time it was by as narrow of a margin as you could get. Keyes’ 55.57 seconds was beaten by Cloverleaf’s Riley Evans, who barely stretched across the finish line in the lane next to her to finish only .01 seconds ahead.

“Everything was shocking to me,” Keyes said about watching the final times be posted after the race. “I got out though and even though my goal was really to PR as well, I have next season to do that. I’m still really proud of my race today.”

One change this year was getting to train for the same competition as her teammate, as Ellerbe also made it in the 400 meters on the boys side. Ellerbe said getting to watch Keyes run first provides plenty of motivation to try and match her accomplishments.

“Our energy really bounces off of each other getting to race back-to-back,” Keyes said.

Three top-two finishes at state is a tremendous accomplishment. Keyes will have one more chance next year to see how far she can get again and if she can match her victory from year one.

“I definitely want to try to win again,” Keyes said. “But I also want to get my time down and just work on mental as well. Coming out this season and placing again was still really good.”

Carroll relay group soaking in memorable weekend

The two days of state and the weeks leading up to it were busy for Carroll’s boys relay runners. Trying to qualify for the finals in multiple events meant there wasn’t a lot of time for rest during meets.

A state championship in the 4 x 800 relay and a fourth place run in the 4 x 400 were the outcomes of those labors.

The payoff proved to be worth it not just for the results, but the memories gained from the process.

“You really become brothers over this year,” Neil Tivakaran said. “Being able to share that with all these people, it’s one of the proudest accomplishments I could possibly have.”

Tivakaran was joined by Logan Arnold, Becket Nash, and Janson on the 800 relay that won with a time of 7:49.65 to finish just under two seconds ahead of the runner-up. Zach Van Meter substituted with Nash on the 400 relay team that finished in 3:23.28.

“The team did really good training all season and we really got to showcase that with our performances,” Arnold said, who also got fourth place in the boys 1600 meter finals. “It’s just really a great privilege.”

In figuring out what their favorite parts of the weekend were, the unsurprising consensus between the team members saw them choose the relay race competitions over individual opportunities.

“We’ve been really trying to work for those this whole time,” Tivakaran said. “Last year we did our best but I think we really managed to pull it together, put on all the work for the year and I think it really showed off. I think we all had great races.”

“It’s a great way to end a great year for track and I ran my hardest today and I know my boys did too,” Van Meter said.

Hamilton overjoyed with podium

Believing she was in 12th place for most of the race, Caroline Hamilton didn’t expect to be finishing on the podium in the D-III girls 1600 meters.

She wasn’t wrong about where she stood in the field, but her finish proved better than she thought was going to happen as she made her way up to eighth on the final lap to place at state for the first time.

“I did not expect to place, I felt it was a stretch goal for me,” she said. “I’m so grateful to be able to have done it.”

Hamilton made it to state in the 800 meters last year. She got into regionals in both events this season, but began the year still believing her way to get to state was going to be through the same event as before.

“I never thought I would do the mile” Hamilton said. “But I loved cross country this year and I got really close with some of our distance guys who also made it to state and that ended up moving me more toward the mile.”

While she said she was upset at first that she didn’t qualify for both races, she realized during her pre-race preparation that having to only focus on one event made it easier to figure out how to train and be ready for her opportunity.

“I wasn’t too stressed now for it,” Hamilton said. “I think that allowed me to know how to run, so on the first lap I was feeling it out and the second lap I tried to work on what I could do on each straight. Then at the end I just gave it all that I had and I guess I placed.”

LCA relay squad saves best for last

The Legacy Christian boys 4 x 800 relay team competed in one of the first events of the weekend and got local results off to a good start in placing seventh to get onto the podium on Thursday.

The team of Ben Rodriguez, Levi Thompson, Wyatt Jackson and Tommy Michael ran a time of 8:08.38 in the race. It was a case of saving their best race of the season for last as the time set a school record for the third consecutive race it ran.

“The thing about state is that everybody’s fast,” Michael said. “Everybody running here has a top time in the state, so making a podium even if it’s seventh place is a huge accomplishment.”

LCA’s time eclipsed the school record time by .16 seconds. The previous mark had been set by the group at the regional meet the week prior. That time had bested the original record the team broke during the district meet.

“We were shooting for it,” Rodriguez said of making the podium. “Nothing’s guaranteed, right? But we were pretty confident it could be one of our goals for the season and we thought we could hit it.”

It was the first time competing at state for all of the runners, with Thompson achieving the mark in his first year of running track. Rodriguez has also previously qualified for the state cross country championships.

Rodriguez and Thompson ran the initial two legs of the race starting from the inside lane and nearly had issues making the hand off of the baton amongst the conglomerate of competitors with 15 others standing at the start-finish line trying to make the same move.

“With how chaotic the line was and never having been at state, it was a whole new experience but it was awesome,” Rodriguez said.

Jackson ran the third leg and made the biggest move of any runner as he pushed up to third place at one point near the end of his first lap. Fatigue began to set in before he made the final hand off to Michael, who mostly ran with no competitors near him during the final two laps of the race to get his team into the top-8 by just under five seconds.

Jackson needed some medical attention after the race to help cool himself, but he had his teammates by his side the entire time and they also helped him get over to the podium to receive their medals.

“I’ve always stood by that he runs the best third leg of anybody out there,” Michael said. “We put him in that spot because we know he’s fasted than the other people who are going to be runner there and he knows that too. He can make a move and keep those guys behind him after he passes them because he’s just got that speed.”

Thurman feels support all around her run

Carroll High School is a 10-minute drive from Welcome Stadium. Getting to compete so close to home is a comforting feeling, one that is improved even more when everywhere you look you may see someone you know cheering you on.

That was one of the biggest takeaways Anna Thurman said she experienced during her seventh place run in the girls 3200 meters.

“It’s very encouraging to know that my team is here cheering me on,” Thurman said. “I always love having them here with me, I had my teammate to warm up with me. I just love having them here to support me and it’s like why I love this sport so much.”

Many students of Carroll worked the state track and field meet as volunteers, helping direct athletes and other personnel on the infield and around the stadium. As Thurman and her teammates made their way around the track, it was difficult not to hear someone in a neon green shirt yelling their names as they cheered them on.

She used that support to find success. Her time of 11:17.93 in the race improved on her 12th place run as a freshman last year.

“It’s really exciting,” Thurman said. “It was just my goal to get on the podium after last year. Especially because I got one of the at-large spots, so I really wanted to show that I wanted to be here.”

Brown exceeds own beliefs

Conditions changed in between the end the D-II finals and the start of D-I on Saturday.

The bright and sunny weather changed to overcast skies with a stronger wind that brought more of a chill to the temperature that competitors got to warm up and prepare to perform over the next few hours.

Not only was it the first time at state for Faith Brown of Beavercreek, but also doing it as a freshman was already enough to create nerves as she went through the weekend. The sudden change in conditions just created more on her plate she didn’t want to have to worry about as she began to get ready for the girls 100 meter hurdles.

“I just had to keep reminding myself to trust my training and to just get out of the blocks and focus on my form,” Brown said. “It was a lot.”

Brown said she already wasn’t sure how the finals race would go after she finished third in her qualifying heat on Friday, but advanced from having one of the two next fastest times. Her time was separated from ninth by only .02 seconds.

When the starting gun sounded, it would have been difficult to tell she had any nerves at all.

Brown got third place in the finals with a time of 14.98 seconds. Adjusted for wind, her time would have been one of the three fastest of the weekend.

“Honestly I was aiming for fifth place because I came in seventh out of prelims,” she said. “I’m really happy with my performance.”



D-III — Boys 4×800 relay — Ben Rodriguez, Levi Thompson, Wyatt Jackson, Tommy Michael, Legacy Christian — 7th place, 8:08.38


D-II — Girls 4x800m relay — Anna Thurman, Melanie Hoffmann, Maggie Poor, Ruby Gross, Carroll — 9th place, 9:41.90

D-II — Boys 4x800m relay — Neil Tivakaran, Logan Arnold, Becket Nash, Andrew Janson, Carroll — 1st place, 7:49.65

D-II — Boys High Jump — Kyle Heilmann, Carroll — 17th place, 6’0”

D-I — Girls seated Shot Put — Zoe Roll, Beavercreek — 6th place, 13’ 0”

D-III — Girls 1600m — Caroline Hamilton, Legacy Christian — 8th place, 5:06.21

D-III — Girls 3200m — Ellie Mark, Cedarville — 16th place, 11:50.75

D-III — Boys 3200m — Isaac Wallis, Cedarville — 17th place, 9:52.45


D-I — Girls seated 100m — Zoe Roll, Beavercreek — 6th place, 31.25

D-II — Boys 1600m — Logan Arnold, Carroll — 4th place, 4:19.40

D-II — Boys 800m — Andrew Janson, Carroll — 1st place, 1:52.61

D-II — Girls 3200m — Anna Thurman, Carroll — 7th place, 11:17.93

D-II — Boys 4x400m relay — Logan Arnold, Zach Van Meter, Neil Tivakaran, Andrew Janson, Carroll — 4th place, 3:23.28

D-I — Girls 100m hurdles — Faith Brown, Beavercreek — 3rd place, 14.98

D-I — Boys 1600m — Jackson Brown, Beavercreek — 15th place, 4:25.62

D-I — Girls 400m — Kayleigh Keyes, Beavercreek — 2nd place, 55.57

D-I — Boys 400m — Kaden Ellerbe, Beavercreek — 6th place, 47.45

D-I — Girls seated 400m — Zoe Roll, Beavercreek — 8th place, 3:04.32

D-I — Boys 4x400m relay — Lance Caswell, Liam Gluck, Aaden Hildebrand, Kaden Ellerbe, Beavercreek — 1st place, 3:15.25


Check out Friday’s edition for more photos from the state track and field meet.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @Steven_Wright_.