COLUMBUS — Wheelersburg’s Ellie Ruby is a Division III State Champion, and a state champion for the second time in the long jump.
Portsmouth’s Lynsey Shipley qualified for four finals, and pulled off a fourth-place finish in the long jump to begin an excellent week.
Then, there’s Minford’s Breydan Tilley, who added two additional final qualifications on his own accord, and finished in sixth place overall in the high jump, and Wheelersburg’s Paige Emnett, who also reached the podium with a sixth-place finish in the shot put.
Yes, the Scioto County party is alive and well at the Division III OHSAA Track and Field State Championships — and in the most impressive of manners for three of the best student-athletes to ever compete in the track realm in Ohio’s southern tip.
However, the placement of the trio at the biggest of stages is simply par for the course for a group of athletes who expect and accept nothing less than the best out of themselves.
Ellie Ruby, Wheelersburg — Won Division III State Championship in Long Jump, qualified for state finals in 100 and 300 meter hurdles
Behind a jump of 18 feet, six-and-a-half inches, Wheelersburg’s Ellie Ruby took home the Division III State Championship in long jump by five and one-quarter inches over second-place finishing hand Alexis Prater of West Lafayette Ridgewood en route to claiming her second state championship in the event across two different divisions. Her father, Todd, got to present Ruby with her championship-winning medal at the podium on Friday afternoon.
“It feels amazing,” Ruby said. “I’m just beyond blessed. I just want to say thanks to my Lord and Savior first. He has blessed me so much. Secondly, my parents have always pushed me and supported me throughout everything during my high school career here at Wheelersburg. It just feels amazing. I’m super blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be a two-time state champion in the long jump.”
However, the state title didn’t come without a bit of adversity.
After fouling on her first two jumps in the Flight 1 prelims, Ruby had to stick the third jump — or settle with the decision of not making it to the finals in the long jump. But Ruby handled the pressure by trusting in her faith, and on the third jump, notched a jump of 17 feet, nine inches to not only qualify, but qualify in resounding fashion as Ruby finished with the top jump across both flights.
“I was super anxious and nervous after fouling on my first two jumps, but I knew that it was all in God’s hands, and whatever he had in store for me, that was the way it would be done,” Ruby said. “I was super excited to be able to relax and pull off a good jump to make it to the final.”
When the final stage began approximately a half-hour later, Ruby wasted no time striking gold by matching her prelim jump of 17 feet, nine inches on her third attempts, then obtained a mark of 18 feet, three inches on her fourth attempt, which would’ve sealed the championship by two full inches even without the senior’s sixth and final jump included into the mix.
In the 100 and 300 meter hurdle preliminaries, Ruby will be seeded second and third, respectively, as the senior’s marks of 14.64 and 44.93 put her comfortably into the state finals. The multi-sport athlete will compete in the final track events of her high school career at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Saturday morning, respectively.
Lynsey Shipley, Portsmouth — Finished fourth in Division III Long Jump, qualified for state finals in 100, 200, 400 meter dash
In the girls long jump, Shipley again set an outstanding pace, as the senior jumped 17 feet, eight inches in preliminaries to put herself right on Ruby’s heels heading into the Division III Long Jump Finals. The senior cleared 17 feet-plus on four of her six jumps before settling for a mark of 17 feet, seven inches to finish behind Ruby, Prater, and Tri-County North’s Hailey Thies.
“It’s awesome,” Ruby said of competing alongside Shipley. “It’s been super cool being with Lynsey throughout districts and regionals, and now state. I’ve always been in Division II and she’s always been in Division III, so being able to be around her and compete against her this year has been enjoyable. We get to compete for one last time and do it together. She’s a great competitor, and it’s been a super fun ride with her.”
While Shipley didn’t take home top honors in the long jump, her running ability was, once again, exceptional. The senior standout finished in the top-five overall in each of her preliminary dash races, finishing fourth in the 100 meter dash (12.55), fourth in the 200 meter dash (25.97), and fifth in the 400 meter dash (58.38). In each event, Shipley finished second in her specific heat, and will race in each event at 9:40 a.m. (100 meters), 10:35 a.m. (200 meters) and 11:25 a.m. (400 meters) as the senior looks to claim state championships in all three events — which would also mean claiming her second consecutive Division III State Championship in the 400 meters.
“We’ll get back at it again tomorrow,” Ruby said. “She has three and I have two, so it’s super exciting.”
Breydan Tilley, Minford — Finished sixth in Division III High Jump, qualified for state finals in 110 meter hurdles
Tilley, an exceptional all-purpose standout on the football field and a solid, steady guard on the hardwood, cleared six feet, five inches to claim sixth place and reach the podium.
The senior, however, has a real shot to obtain an even better finish than that, as his 14.86 mark in the 110 meter hurdles would suggest. That mark was good enough for a runner-up finish in the second heat of the 110 meter hurdles and a fourth place finish overall, exactly five tenths and five one-hundredths back of Smithville’s Cole Smith (14.31). Tilley also finished 17th with a 41.81 in the 300 meter hurdles.
Tilley will compete in the 110 meter hurdles at 9:35 a.m. on Saturday.
Paige Emnett, Wheelersburg — Finished sixth in Division III Shot Put
Emnett, who has starred on the basketball court for the Lady Pirates, used her throw of 40 feet, two inches to claim a sixth-place showing in the Division III Shot Put — becoming the last person in the event to throw more than 40 feet — en route to a podium showing. Emnett collected a mark of 38 feet, 10-and-three-quarter inches in the event en route to qualifying for said event.
Emnett, who also competed in the discus on Friday afternoon, collected a mark of 105 feet, six inches in the discus. She’ll have another year to improve even further from her state meet performances in both events.
Wheelersburg girls, Division III 4-by-100 Meter Relay (Gabby Deacon, Lauren Jolly, Lani Irwin, Libby Miller)
In addition to all of the efforts that Emnett, Ruby, Shipley, and Tilley put together, the Wheelersburg 4-by-800 meter relay unit of Gabby Deacon, Lauren Jolly, Lani Irwin, and Libby Miller put together an outstanding effort that will have the quartet competing for a state title, as their second heat-winning time of 51.09 would suggest. The quartet will compete at 10:20 a.m. on Saturday morning. The 4-by-400 unit failed to mark the state finals, but will return Deacon, Jolly, Irwin, Kylan Canary, and Alyssa Dingus, who are all more than capable of running the 4-by-400.
Northwest boys, Division II 4-by-800 Meter Relay (Billy Crabtree, Josh Shope, Gabe Morrell, Landen Smith)
In Division II, the quartet of Billy Crabtree, Josh Shope, Gabe Morrell, and Landen Smith all took part in the Division II 4-by-800 unit, and clicked off a time of 4:21.56 to finish in 18th. While the time was not good enough for state final qualification, Crabtree, Morrell, Shope, and Smith will all be back as Crabtree will just be entering his junior year while Morrell, Smith, and Shope will all be sophomores. The efforts of Smith and Shope in the distance events, with an added year of improvement, could give Northwest a chance to qualify as a team in 2019.