The big show: Local thinclads competing in state track meet today

The Mid-Ohio Valley will be well-represented when the Ohio state track and field meet kicks off today at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.

Thinclads from Waterford, Warren, Belpre, Caldwell, Morgan, and Fort Frye have all qualified to compete on the big stage with hopes of placing near the top of the state in their respective events.

Belpre leads the way with six athletes making the trip to Columbus including long jumper Dakota Hoffman, distance runner Cray Sistrunk and the 4×200 relay team of Allison Gherke, Taryn Carr, Sierra Barker and Sarah Walker.

Waterford will be represented by Ali Rohrer, who will become the first athlete in school history to compete in three different events (200 meter dash, 300 meter hurdles, and 100 meter hurdles), while teammate Maddy Sury will compete in a pair of events of her own (800 meter run and long jump).

Fort Frye will also send a pair of thinclads to state as Natalie Hart has qualified for the 400 meter run and Kylynn Buchanan will participate in the pole vault event.

Sally Maddox, the girls head coach at Warren, will lead one girl to state for the fourth consecutive time and another who will be making her first trip.

Emma Ryan qualified for the fourth consecutive year in the discuss throw and Maddox believes this may be Ryan’s best chance to date at earning a state crown as her throws this year are very competitive with those in the top five in the state.

“We’re really excited for Emma and four years in a row to state is a huge accomplishment,” said Maddox. “She’s placed all three times so the expectations are high for her again this year.”

Junior Raelyn Gardner earned her first trip to state in the pole vault event as she placed runner up in the regionals with a height of 11- feet.

Maddox feels Gardner should be right in the mix to place at Columbus.

“Her competition is very close, anywhere from 10 feet nine inches to 12 feet,” said Maddox. “It’s just going to be a matter of who can have a big day on the big stage. I look for her to rise to the occasion.”

Caldwell will be represented once again by Jenna Furr who returns to compete in the 3200 meter run a year after placing 11th in the state.

“We’re hoping she can make it to the podium,” said long time Caldwell head coach Dugan Hill. “She is going to be up against some tough times, but she has worked hard and put in the miles and does a lot of things right. She will just run the best that she can and we’ll see where that places her.”

Morgan will send Clinton Campbell, who has already had a season to remember as he earned school records in both the 200 meter dash and the 300 meter hurdles.

Head coach John Robbins feels that Campbell will have as good a shot as anyone in those two events in Columbus.

“We’re really excited for Clinton. He’s a great kid and has a great work ethic,” said Robbins of Campbell. “He has a legitimate shot at doing very well.”