High School Sports: 5 highlights from state championship weekend

Dunbar won its 10th boys state track and field outdoor title at Columbus this past Saturday. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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Dunbar won its 10th boys state track and field outdoor title at Columbus this past Saturday. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Here’s five highlights from the final weekend of high school spring sports:

Dunbar boys track: The Wolverines won just one event and didn't place higher than fourth in any other. But that added up to their 10th team title, 33-30 over runner-up Warrensville Heights in the Division II state track and field meet at OSU's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

Those 33 points also matched D-II winner St. Clairsville in 2016 as the fewest winning total in the last decade. In comparison, Dunbar tallied 64 points in winning the 2015 D-II title, 49 points in winning the 2012 championship and 47 in taking the 2014 title. Dunbar also amassed 44 points in placing runner-up in D-II in 2011.

If you’re reading this you’ve likely kept up with the trials and tribulations of Dunbar High School and the Dayton Public Schools athletics this just-completed school year.

HE’S GOT HOPS: Springfield Shawnee freshman wins D-II state high jump

“This victory and this trophy is redemption for our kids at Dunbar and for Dayton Public Schools,” veteran Dunbar coach and Wolverines graduate Sidney Booker said. “We’re resilient.”

Almost a sprint triple: Meadowdale senior sensation Wayne Lawrence Jr. missed a rare sprint triple by a stride in the 100 meters (10.79), but it took a D-II state record of 10.57 by Demetri Keaton of Warrensville Heights to do it.

At 6-feet-4 and maybe 160 pounds, Lawrence is the quintessential long strider who needs 100 meters just to unwind. He went a career low 46.67 to win the 400, just missing the D-II state record of 46.61 set by Stivers great Tyler Johnson in 2016.

That was a warm-up for what Lawrence did next, setting an all-time D-II record of 21.29 in the 200. That eclipsed one of the oldest records on the OHSAA books, a 21.39 Kevin McBroom of Columbus Wehrle spun in 1981.

Lawrence will take his game to the University of South Dakota this fall. His future could be the 400 hurdles or 800.

CJ baseball: The Eagles played for a D-II state championship, losing 4-0 to Tallmadge at Huntington Park in Columbus. The Eagles last played for a baseball state title in 1970, capping an exceptional school year by beating Garfield Heights 6-1 and winning a Class AA championship.

That was the second major state title Chaminade won that year. The boys basketball team – there were no girls sports sanctioned by the OHSAA at that time – completed a 27-0 season by defeating Rossford 69-47 and winning the Class AA state title.

Just a year later Fairmont East fell to Findlay 10-8 in the 1971 Class AAA state title baseball game. That was a rare consecutive-season, big schools baseball state finals for area teams. Cincinnati-area teams have dominated the Southwest state representation for baseball’s big schools, now Division I.

CJ also played in the state semifinals in 1975.

Hurts so bad: Lebanon was in great position to win its first state softball title, but fell 4-3 to Elyria in the D-I title game at Akron's Firestone Stadium. Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning and needing just one more out, Lebanon couldn't complete a force out at second base, then was charged with runner interference on the same play. That led to two unearned runs, which crushed Lebanon's almost championship season (30-4).

Friday is the ticket: Citing state-wide college football interest and dwindling Saturday crowds among other things, the OHSAA just said no to Saturday football playoff games and instead will lump all postseason games through the state semifinals on Fridays beginning this season.

That was enthusiastically embraced by most football coaches, including the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.

Fun fact: We knew you'd ask, and the answer is yes; Cincinnati Elder also accomplished the boys basketball and baseball state title sweep in 1973.

The standout of both those title teams was senior Steve Grote, the middle of the three Grote brothers (Bob and Mike) of Wright State basketball and baseball (Bob) fame. Also an All-Ohio linebacker, Steve was a shutdown defensive player at Michigan and was a starter on the 1975-76 Wolverines team that lost to Big Ten rival and undefeated Indiana in the national championship game.

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