COLUMBUS — Beavercreek High School put athletes on the podium in seven of eight events, during Saturday’s final day of the OHSAA state track and field championships at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, and two of those podium placers stood on the very top step!
Distance runners Taylor Ewert and Riley Buchholz claimed first place in their respective events.
First, Buchholz wowed the crowd by winning the D-I boys 1,600-meter run in dominating fashion. The Beavercreek senior lingered around the leaders for the first couple laps, then charged to the front at the start of lap 3. Buchholz appeared to find another gear the rest of the way, and pulled away to a 1.6-second win over Andrew Schroff of Olentangy Orange. Buchholz blistered the pace on the final lap with a 57.06 split time, to win with a 4:14.11 time.
Buchholz was reduced to tears after his win. He went over to the trackside fence and hugged several members of his family, then found Beavercreek coach James Weckesser and bear hugged his coach.
“He ran a perfect race. That was his strategy: Sit. Sit. Sit. Go! He knew he could do a 56 or 57 (second) last lap to win it, and he did just that. It was awesome,” said Weckesser.
“I wanted to go out and shadow the lead pack, and let them block the wind, then hit a good pace and just stay with them. Then that last 600-700-meters, I had a good kick left in me, and that’s what I did. I ran it perfectly. I felt I had something left with about 500 meters left, and I knew I could hold the lead, so I just did all I could to hang on.
“I’m really happy with how I did. Going from last place last season to first today, I couldn’t ask for a better day.”
That’s right. Buchholz placed last, albeit in the 800-meter run, last season.
Moments later, Ewert’s finish in the 3,200-meter run was just as dominating, with teammate Savannah Roark finishing on the podium in sixth.
Ewert won the cross country state title earlier this year. She joked about wearing her school’s black shorts, rather than the team’s orange ones, for the two-mile final. Ewert outdistanced Medina Highland senior Kaylie Kenne by almost 11.2 seconds to finish in 10:23.14.
“I just felt that this would be one of my last races for Beavercreek before post season starts, and I saw that my teammate Riley (Buchholz) won his race in black shorts, so I said I was definitely going with the black shorts today.
“I knew it was going to be warm. It’s always warm for the state meet, but it was a little breezier than it’s been in the past. But everyone’s gotta run in it. I just concentrated on my pace. I had the state record on my mind, but at the same time I wanted to win. Once I got the lead, I just made sure that I would finish strong and enjoy the moment.”
‘Creek’s Eileen Yang placed third in the Division I girls pole vault competition. The Battlin’ Beaver junior completed a 1-2-3 sweep atop the podium by the Southwest Region representatives. A gusty tailwind made the timing of the competitors’ attempts just as important as the execution.
“I missed my first jump at 12 feet, because the winds were a little wonky and I got spooked. The wind wasn’t the most consistent, and so you had to really time when you would go,” Yang said. “… I think the key to my getting back here next year, is for me to remain calm and collected. I’ve done this before. I’ve no need to worry so much, as I do.”
Other Beavercreek athletes to finish on the awards stand were: Jodie Pierce (fifth in the D-I girls 800-meter run); Juliann Williams (seventh in the D-I girls mile); and the ‘Creek girls mile relay team of Pierce, Williams, Abigail Hobbs and Ashtyn Gluck who finished sixth in one of the final events of the day.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. Complete state track & field results are available at baumspage.com .