Here’s five things to know about this weekend’s high school state track and field meets. Competition begins Friday and concludes on Saturday at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
D-I BOYS: Area state track and field qualifiers
Best bet: There’s no beating the Dayton City League for boys sprinters, hurdlers or long jumpers, although Wayne might have something to say about that in special years. The scaled-down City League – six programs – remains a major player on the grandest Division II stage.
The brightest star is Meadowdale senior flash Wayne Lawrence Jr. He could be the first sprinter to sweep the 100-400-200 sprints since Waynesfield-Goshen’s Joe Horn last did that in 2006 (D-III). No one is close to Lawrence in the 400 (47.15). Besides, he’s a two-time D-II state runner-up in the one-lapper because he never could beat the since-graduated City League rival and Stivers sensation and state record holder Tyler Johnson.
D-I GIRLS: Area state track and field qualifiers
Lawrence also is the top 200 seed (21.50) and is second in the 100 (10.75). All those season bests could go much lower at state: he has yet to be pushed. The only area sprinter to pull that triple off at state was Chris Nelloms of Dunbar in 1988.
Team title: It’s on Dunbar’s boys to make a run at the D-II championship. That’s been the norm, having won three D-II team titles since 2012. The Wolverines advanced three of the four relays and feature three quality hurdlers in Jalani Allen, Nigel Beal and Zamir Youngblood.
D-II BOYS: Area state track and field qualifiers
Minster mystique: Only Youngstown St. Thomas Aquinas should stay up with mighty Minster among D-III girls. The Midwest Athletic Conference power advanced an astonishing 11 athletes, is again loaded in the middle distance and has reps in all the field events except the shot put.
Minster has won 12 girls state track titles but Aquinas has swept the last two, relegating Minster to second both seasons.
D-II GIRLS: Area state track and field qualifiers
Taking flight: Equipment upgrades, new indoor facilities and a strong camaraderie among athletes has contributed for a spike in boys and girls area pole vaulting the last decade. Greenville’s A.J. Frens has regularly been over 15 feet and went 15-8 to win the D-I regional last week. It’ll probably take another foot to win on Saturday.
Ansonia’s Brock Shellhaas also has been over 15 feet and is nationally ranked as a freshman. That makes him a D-III boys contender.
Springfield sensations: Juniors Dyier Smith (110 high hurdles) and Quincy Scott (long jump) are championship caliber Springfield contenders. Both are the defending state indoor champs in their specialties and both should be in contention for outdoor titles, too.
D-III BOYS: Area state track and field qualifiers
Bonus fun facts: Like baseball, track and field is obsessed with record-keeping. The Jefferson 4x100 relay of 1981 (41.79) is the oldest boys track record according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
• Nelloms still holds the all-time D-I records in the 200 (20.47), 400 (45.59) and high hurdles (13.30), all set in 1990.
D-III GIRLS: Area state track and field qualifiers
• There are six state meets; boys and girls in three divisions. The OHSAA estimates the two days of competition will draw 28,000 spectators and 1,900-plus competitors.
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