KNOX COUNTY – Eleven Knox County athletes will head to Columbus this weekend to compete in the OHSAA Track & Field Championships.
Mount Vernon’s Cory Berg has a realistic shot at two state titles, in the 300-meter hurdles and high jump. Sam Bethea will contend for Mount Vernon in the 110-meter hurdles. Both Centerburg and Fredericktown will send relay teams to Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
In total, 33 KMAC athletes from five schools will compete at this weekend’s state meet. Highland sprinter Jack Weaver will compete in three events within a two-hour span during Friday’s prelims, including the 100-meter dash, where he’ll run alongside teammate Brock Veley.
Mount Gilead will bring 13 athletes to this year’s state meet, the most of any area team. Sophomore Allison Johnson has a shot at winning four state titles – three on the track and one in pole vault. Hurdler Connor Page and shot put phenom Micah Tuggle will also have a tenable shot at podium glory this weekend.
The state meet will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Running prelims in certain events will take place Friday, with the finals on Saturday. Field prelims and finals will be held on Friday for Div. III, on Friday and Saturday for Div. II, and on Saturday for Div. I. To see the complete schedule for this weekend’s meet, click here.
Here’s a breakdown of who will represent the area in Columbus this weekend:
Mount Vernon (Div. I)
Mount Vernon junior Cory Berg will compete in the 300-meter hurdles (6:45 p.m. Friday) and the high jump (3 p.m. Saturday).
Berg placed second at regionals in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 37.06 seconds, less than a second behind Pickerington Central’s Evan Matthews. Matthews and Berg will come into the state meet with the top two times, respectively.
Berg currently holds the state’s third-best high jump mark, behind Rocky River’s Daishaun Hill and Olmsted Fall’s Austin Juergens.
Senior Sam Bethea will run in the 110-meter hurdles (5:25 p.m. Friday) and compete in the long jump (12 p.m. Saturday).
Bethea won the regional championship in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.25 seconds, and he’ll head to Columbus with the third-fastest time in the state. His long jump mark of 22-09.50 placed second at regionals and ranks 13th among state qualifiers.
Bethea was Mount Vernon’s lone state qualifier last year. He placed eighth in the high jump.
Highland (Div. II)
The Highland boys 4x100-meter relay team will carry the state's fourth-best time into this weekend’s meet. The team of Brock Veley, Landyn Albanese, Jack Weaver and Chase Carpenter placed second at last week’s regional meet with a time of 42.99, one-third of a second behind Bishop Hartley. Prelims for the 4x100-meter relay will be held at 2:55 p.m. Friday.
Veley and Weaver also qualified for state in individual events. Both will compete in the 100-meter dash (2:25 p.m. Friday), although in different prelim heats. Veley won regionals with a time of 10.81, while Weaver came in third at 10.91 seconds. Veley’s time is tied for third-best heading into state, while Weaver’s ranks fifth.
Weaver will also compete in the 200-meter dash (3:50 p.m. Friday), his third event in less than two hours. The junior will head to Columbus with the state’s 11th-fastest time, 22.30 seconds. He placed fourth in the event last weekend at regionals.
Centerburg (Div. III)
The Centerburg girls 4x800-meter relay team of Aeryn Walters, Elise Tucker, Abigail Dickof and Avery Tucker will compete at state this weekend (9:30 a.m. Friday). The team finished third at regionals last weekend with a time of 9:54.77, nine one-hundredths of a second behind first-place Peebles. The Trojans have the state’s 15th-fastest time heading into Friday’s title race.
Fredericktown (Div. III)
The Fredericktown boys 4x800-meter relay team of Connor Riley, Dakota Smith, Thomas Caputo and Paden Spencer enters this weekend’s state race (9:45 a.m. Friday) with the 15th-fastest time. The Freddies placed second at regionals last weekend with a time of 8:19.39, eight seconds behind KMAC nemesis Mount Gilead.
Spencer will also run in the mile (10:05 a.m. Saturday). The senior will head to Columbus with the state’s eighth-fastest time, 4:25.64, which earned fourth place at regionals.
Spencer is Fredericktown’s lone returning state qualifier. He was a part of the 4x400-meter relay team that finished third at last year’s meet. Spencer also finished 16th in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:59.53.
Steve Tumbleson will compete in pole vault (4 p.m. Friday) for Fredericktown as well. Tumbleson placed second at regionals with a vault of 12-06 – that mark ties him with three other competitors for 16th in the state.
Around the KMAC
KMAC powers Mount Gilead and Northmor will also be well-represented at this weekend’s state meet.
The Indians, who dominated this year’s conference meet on both the boys and girls sides, will send 13 athletes to the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Sophomore Allison Johnson, who won four KMAC titles last month, will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run and pole vault. She enters the state meet with the fourth-fastest time in the 100-meter hurdles, the third-fastest time in the 400-meter dash, the third-fastest time in the 800-meter run and the seventh-best pole vault mark.
Johnson finished sixth in the 100-meter hurdles at last year’s state meet, as a freshman. She finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Johnson will be joined this weekend by teammates Jessica Brewer and Isabela Schroeter, who will compete in the 100-meter dash and high jump, respectively.
On the boys side, Mount Gilead’s 4x400-meter relay team will look to take home a state title after winning regionals last weekend. The team, made up of Liam Dennis, Nathan Weaver, Connor Page and Brandon Stevens, currently holds the state’s fifth-fastest time (3:25.17).
The 4x400-meter relay team, which returned three of its four runners this season, placed seventh at last year’s state meet.
The 4x800-meter relay team, which also won regionals last weekend, holds the state’s 10th-fastest time. The 4x200 team enters this weekend’s meet with the state’s 17th-fastest time.
Page holds the state’s second-fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles and the sixth-fastest time in the 300-meter hurdles. Dennis will compete in the 800-meter run and the 110-meter hurdles; he currently holds the state’s 11th-fastest time in both events.
Brandon Stevens will compete in the 800-meter run (his time currently ranks 11th in the state), while Ethan Supplee will run the two-mile (his regional mark ranks 12th). Casey White will run the mile, entering with the state’s 18th-fastest time.
Micah Tuggle enters the state meet with the third-best shot put mark. Kyle White will compete in the pole vault, where his mark of 12-06 is tied for 16th statewide.
Northmor will send seven boys to the state meet. The 4x100-meter relay team, consisting of Drew Zoll, Aaron Berg, Adam Petulla and P.J. Lower, will take their talents to Columbus after placing third at last weekend’s regional meet. The same will go for the 4x400-meter team, including Zoll, Gavvin Keen, Petulla and Alec Moore, which also placed third. Northmor owns the 15th-fastest time in the state in both relay events.
The Golden Knights’ Tony Martinez will aim for a state title in the pole vault after winning regionals with a vault of 13-06. He’ll head to Columbus with the state’s 12th-best pole vault mark.
To see the complete list of state qualifiers, click here.