COLUMBUS — His event on Friday at the state track and field meet was the Division II boys long jump, but Minford senior Luke Rader found himself in early foul trouble.
That’s when he turned 21 to put himself into the finals, and ultimately leaping onto the awards podium.
By his own admission, it wasn’t his best-ever day of long jumping, but three leaps of 21-feet or more made Rader an all-Ohioan in his first and only state meet —as he placed sixth in the event inside a sunsoaked Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
Rader, the Division II Southeast District champion who then captured the Region 7 title with a best jump of 22 feet, recorded three consecutive jumps on Friday — between 21 feet and one-quarter inches and 21 feet and nine and one-half inches.
Minford’s Luke Rader was an all-Ohioan on Friday in the Division II boys long jump.
Paul Boggs | Daily Times
He fouled his first two preliminary jumps, but made the finals from his final of three prelim attempts —at 21 and 1/4.
Rader was eighth after the prelims, as the top nine jumping distances advance to the three-jump finals —with the top eight earning team points, securing all-Ohio accolades, and landing a spot on the medals stand.
He climbed to sixth with his first finals jump —at 21 feet, six and one-quarter inches, then went 21-9 and 1/2 in his second finals leap and fifth overall.
He then fouled on his sixth and final attempt — as he remained sixth throughout his final two tries.
Denied a state tournament ticket at a rainmaker of a regional meet as a junior, Rader redeemed himself with his 22-foot vault in winning the Region 7 championship at Muskingum University.
Although, in his own words, Rader didn’t meet his standard of excellence at the state meet.
That includes his personal record, and Minford High School boys record, of 22 feet and three inches.
Minford senior Luke Rader competes in the Division II boys long jump as part of Friday’s state track and field meet.
Paul Boggs | Daily Times
“The competition this year was pretty tough, but overall, I didn’t think my performance was to the standards that I hold myself to. I was about nine inches short of my PR (personal record of 22 feet and three inches). Even though my first and last jumps probably would have exceeded my PR, I just wasn’t on the board great today. Even on those three jumps in a row I got in, I still didn’t hit the board all the way. I was still about four inches short. If I would have hit the board good, they could have been 22-foot jumps,” he said. “But what we’ve been training for is just progression and endurance throughout the six jumps to be able to keep doing it.”
After opening with back-to-back fouls, Rader wanted to get that last jump of the prelims to merely count.
And he did.
“The third jump was just getting one in. Maybe backing up a foot or two and just trying your hardest not to hit that board,” said Rader.
Once he got one down, and by all accounts on the awards stand at that juncture, the finals jumps likely became easier in ascending the platform places.
He ended up sixth with that best jump of 21 feet and nine and one-half inches, as nobody was catching Keystone senior Ryne Shackelford.
With a wind-aided flight of 25 feet, six and one-half inches, the 2022 Division II state champion Shackleford shattered three records —the Division II boys state meet, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II, and the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium high school marks.
Shackleford broke the state meet and OHSAA marks of 24 feet, three and one-half inches —set by Sandy Valley’s Joe Crallie in 1994.
The “JO” high school record was set last year at one inch shy of 25 feet even —by D.J. Fillmore of Licking Heights.
Last year, Shackleford won the event at 24 feet and one-and-a-half inches, while this year he fouled twice —but still jumped 24-5, 24-1 and 23-5 and 1/2 before that 25-and-a-half foot blast.
At three full feet shorter than Shackelford’s 25-6 1/2, fellow senior Sammy Deep (22-6 1/2) of Carroll was the runner-up.
In fact, the top six placers in the Division II boys long jump were all seniors —as Grant Swider (21-11) of St. Clairsville was third, Blake Brumbaugh (21-10 3/4) of Milton-Union finished fourth, and C.J. Boothby (21-10 1/4) of Clermont Northeastern took fifth.
Then there was Rader, who has already signed to run and jump at the Division I collegiate level of Marshall University.
Rader, who lost his freshman season which was canceled because of the coronavirus threat, rapidly improved in the long jump over the past two years.
Speaking of two years ago, he wasn’t a long jumper but instead a pole vaulter — and originally believed by his senior season his state meet destiny was in the pole vault.
“Not going to lie, because as a sophomore, I didn’t see myself here for this event. I was originally thinking I would be here for pole vault. But I tore up my shoulder my sophomore year, which led me to doing long jump,” said Rader. “It’s been a great experience, and I truly didn’t think I would be as good at it as what I am. It’s turned out to be a great time, and I’ve met a lot of amazing people and future Marshall teammates here.”
Competing at the state meet, and sharing handshakes with other competitors on a heat-seeking Friday in Columbus, Rader revealed what it was like looking out at the capacity crowd — and standing on the awards podium.
“Honestly, it was shocking. You just don’t expect that many people to be at a track meet. You’re never ready for the amount of people that will show here at this meet,” he said.
But that they did, and what they saw was Rader reap the rewards of an all-Ohio long jumper.
Also competing on Friday in a jumping event was Wheelersburg sophomore Gracie Perkins, who was ninth in the Division II girls high jump.
Perkins, the Southeast District Division II champion who placed third in the Region 7 meet to qualify for the state, cleared the opening height of five feet even —and then cleared 5-2 on her second attempt at that height.
Wheelersburg sophomore Gracie Perkins competes in the Division II girls high jump as part of Friday’s state track and field meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Courtesy of Ruth Boll
Perkins had jumped 5-3 at the regional, but missed on all three of her attempts at 5-4.
There was actually a three-way tie for sixth place at 5-2, but that trio — including Region 7 champion and senior Camden Black of Meadowbrook — all edged Perkins on the fewest misses tiebreaker.
Black, Warren freshman and Region 7 runner-up Sydney Starcher, and Keystone junior Aubrey Cindia all cleared 5-0 AND 5-2 on their first attempts.
Joining Rader from the Minford boys was Falcon freshman Peyton Caudill, who was 14th in Friday’s semifinals of the Division II boys 200m dash.
Minford freshman Peyton Caudill competes in the Division II boys 200m dash semifinals as part of Friday’s state track and field meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Paul Boggs | Daily Times
Caudill ran a time of 22.33 seconds, as Oak Hill junior Garrett McKinniss was 14th in his Division III sprint race —the boys 400m dash in 51.84.