Prep track and field athletes will need to be in tip-top form when they compete in the Southeast Division I district meet at 3:30 p.m. today at Don Drumm Stadium on the campus of Marietta College.
At stake will be a berth in next week's regional meet at Pickerington North. Only the top four in each district event will advance and extend their season.
The district field at DDS will feature eight schools - host Marietta High, Warren, Logan, Chillicothe, Zanesville, New Philadelphia, Tri-Valley, and Dover.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Caleb Hall pole vaults successfully at the ECOL meet. The Tigers are scheduled to host the district meet at Don Drumm Stadium today.
"Logan will be the team to beat - absolutely," said Warren boys' coach Al Riffey.
Logan's boys are coming off a stellar performance last Saturday at the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) meet at Hadsell Track in Portsmouth. There, the Chieftains outscored runner-up Warren 198-128 to claim their fifth straight league crown and their 31st overall.
"You know, we had a great day, and we still finished second," Riffey said. "I'm far from being disappointed. We just didn't have any help from the other (SEOAL) schools."
Parker Blain led the Warriors with wins in the 3200 (10 minutes, 33.4 seconds) and 1600 (4:37.4). Blake Staley was first in the discus (150 feet, 9 inches) and second in the shot (45-06), with both throws a personal best.
"Parker was the class of the distance people," Riffey said. "And, Blake just had a great day."
Still, it was too much Logan as it won eight events, and placed 1-2 in five others. Senior Chieftains' Donnie Stevens (100 and 200) and Josh Fridley (high jump and long jump) each won two events. Stevens was also a leg on the winning 4x100 relay team.
Aaron Graham (300 hurdles), Justin Doyle (pole vault), and Billy Woltz (800) each added a victory.
Warren still should provide plenty of competition with people like Eli Duff (hurdles, long jump, and pole vault), Cole Wigal (pole vault and high jump), Sam Goodman (distance), Aaron Mazurkiewicz (800 and relays), Brent Ash (distance), Trevor Cochran (400), Austin Antill (distance), Chris Massey (throws), Dylan Leffingwell (throws), Colton Cantley (high jump), Mark McDermott (relays), Adrian Shields (dashes), Seth Hall (relays), Seth Balderson (relays and long jump), and Matt Neehouse (relays).
A couple of other schools that could give Logan a run for its money may be East Central Ohio League schools' New Philadlephia and Dover, which finished third and fourth, respectively, in the league meet.
Look for ECOL Runner of the Year Mitchell Grose of Marietta High to be the one to beat in the 1600 and 800, which he won in the league meet in times of 4:27.32 and 2:37, respectively.
The Tiger thinclads also look strong in the pole vault with Caleb Hall (13-6) and Will Cogswell (12-0).
On the girls' side at southeast district, it's pretty much wide open. SEOAL runner-up Chillicothe, with the return of sprinter Megan Osborne (100, 200 and 400), who was held out at the league meet due to a hamstring tweak, could be the frontrunner. But Warren and Logan are expected to be in the hunt.
Separated by just one point, the Lady Chiefs and Lady Warriors finished third and fourth, respectively, at the SEOAL meet.
"The whole team worked really hard and did their best," said Warren girls' coach Sally Maddox. "I'm very pleased."
Warren junior standout Raelyn Gardner was the high point individual at the SEOAL event with wins in the pole vault (11-1), 300 hurdles (48.6), and 100 hurdles (16.1). She was also a leg on the winning 4x100 team (52.0) which also included Danielle Church, Addie Barnes, and Josey Riffle.
The Lady Warrior thinclads should also earn points in the throws (discus and shot put) with three-time All-Ohio honoree and Ohio University recruit Emma Ryan.
At the SEOAL meet, the Lady Chiefs won both the 4x800 and meet-ending 4x400, which clinched the third place spot.
At district, Marietta High will be led by senior Julie Fobes, who was runner-up in the 800 (2:26.81) and 1600 (5:30.49) at the ECOL meet. She was also a leg on the 800 meter relay team (10:37.50) which also included Erica Dawson, Brittany Deskins, and Josie Miracle.
The Lady Tigers also have a pretty good pole vaulter in Lizzie Crum, who was first at the ECOL event in 9-6.
"The district meet will be just as competitive and maybe more so than the SEOAL meet," Maddox said. "We'll just do our best."