The Marietta Middle School track and field team wrapped up a very successful 2013 campaign as eight thin clads made the trip to Dublin Scioto High School to compete in the Ohio state meet on May 25.
Aaron Elliott led the way for MMS as he defeated 21 competitors to claim the top spot in the high jump competition.
Elliott's jump of 5-foot-10 inches was just two inches shy of a state record.
The Marietta Middle School track and field team and friends pose after state meet.
Second-year MMS head coach Heather Stalter had high praise for Elliott, who eclipsed no less than four Marietta Middle School boys' records in his very first year of track and field.
"He showed up everyday and just got better and better," said Stalter, whose girls and boys teams finished second and third, respectively in the East Central Ohio League Championships on May 10. "He is just a great all-around athlete and was a great addition to our boys' team."
Elliott is now the Middle School record holder in not only the high jump, but also the 400 meter dash (55.01) as well as the 110 meter hurdles (16.5) and the 200 meter hurdles (27.06).
Garrett Lehman also had an outstanding year for Stalter's squad as he is now the record holder in five categories.
"Garrett is strong and fast and we could put him in any sprint and he would do a great job," said Stalter of Lehman, who holds records in the vault (8 feet), the long jump (16-9.75), the shot put (36-3.75) and the 100m (11.58) and 200m (26.1) dashes. "He is just another great athlete."
Other members of this year's squad who made a mark for themselves in the record books include Michael Crawford, whose time of 2:19.65 in the 800 meter run is now the top mark and Lexi Lincoln, whose throw of 33-9.5 in the shot put is now the girls record toss.
"Michael (Crawford) kept working and improved just about every time he ran," said Stalter. "He is one of our hardest workers."
Lincoln, who was joined by Abby Robinson at the state meet, had her mind set on the record and actually placed 11th out of 32 at Dublin for a personal best and a team record.
"She realized she was close to the record," said Stalter of Lincoln. "She just kept working hard and was able to claim the record at the state meet."
The relay teams for MMS excelled as well in Dublin as the 4x200 team of Travis Moore, Nate Ritzman, Crawford, and Lehman placed seventh with a respectable time of 1:47.62.
The 4x400 team of Moore, Crawford, Ritzman and Elliott placed ninth with a 4:01.3, while the distance relay team of Moore, Ritzman, Elliott and Crawford placed a very solid third in the 4x800 in what was their inaugural run (9:20.22).
Stalter was quite pleased with the progress her squad made throughout the season and gave credit to assistant coach Brian Ketelsen, who joined the team midway through the year and made a positive impact on the team.
"We started off kind of slow and then Brian (Ketelsen) stepped in and the kids just kind of gravitated towards him," said Stalter, a 2006 graduate of Marietta High School. "Every single kid worked hard, they were excited to practice, and gave their best at each meet."
Stalter has no doubt that if the kids continue with the work ethic they displayed this year, that MHS head coaches B.J. Mayer and Mollie Schramm will be quite pleased with the influx of talent heading their way.
"If everyone comes out again next year, they (Mayer and Schramm) will have a great base for the next four years," said Stalter. "We had a tremendously successful season, not just with the top athletes, but with our entire team. The athletes were determined throughout the season to excel, succeed, and continually set personal and team records."