RICHMOND DALE — For a pair of Valley Indian track and field throwers, and in more ways than one, this week will be — or at least should be — two times the fun.
That’s because, following Friday’s finals in the Division III Region 11 boys shot put championship, Valley will have two representatives at the coveted state meet —with senior Ryan Benjamin becoming a double state qualifier.
The Indians, in amassing 19 team points at the regional meet at Southeastern High School’s R.L. Davisson Athletic Complex, are on to the state in both boys shot put AND discus —as Benjamin captured runner-up honors in the shot put, while sophomore teammate Justin Moore made it out in finishing third.
This will be the first state meet for both Benjamin and Moore, as Moore can make two more —although both were denied one opportunity after the Ohio High School Athletic Association unfortunately canceled the 2020 spring sports season because of the coronavirus threat.
In addition, Benjamin will throw at his first and final state meet in two events —having finished fourth in the discus throw as part of Wednesday’s field event regional finals.
The top four in each event at the regional meet move on to the state meet, as the top eight in each event at the regional meet earn team points.
For Benjamin, whose personal record in the shot put is 55 feet and seven and one-quarter inches, he was a mere half-inch away from tying that mark on Friday —amid rainy and dreadful weather conditions at Southeastern High School.
He hit 55 feet and six and three-quarter inches with his best throw —of which there are six total for the nine finalists, three preliminaries tosses and three more for the finals.
Moore, meanwhile, made it a third-place punching ticket — with his best heave of 53 feet four and one-half inches.
Benjamin — a signee with Walsh University — was in fact the Southeast District Division III champion from the meet at Northwest, where he hit his PR on a hot and humid afternoon at Roy Rogers Field.
Moore was third in the district shot put as well, with the top four from the district meets moving on to each regional meet.
“Ryan and Justin have worked really hard to make it this far and they deserve everything they have gotten up to this point,” said Valley track and field coach Jason Fell. “We kind of figured that Ryan was going to have a great senior season after the successful sophomore season he had. He has put in a ton of work at camps and in the weight room to prepare for his senior season and he has performed great all year. He expects going into every meet that he is going to win and he has just about accomplished all of his goals up to this point. Justin has been a pleasant surprise this year. The last time he threw in a meet was in the eighth grade. He has gotten so much stronger this winter and spring, and has improved throughout the spring with his throws. The next two years with Justin should be really fun. Hopefully, with another good week of practice, they can go to Westerville next weekend (June 4 and 5) and have a good showing and both make the podium.”
Joining the Valley tandem among others will be the other state shot put qualifiers from Region 11 — regional champion Ben Riegel of Centerburg and fourth-place finisher Ben Compliment of Coal Grove.
Riegel recorded a region-winning throw of exactly 58 feet, while Compliment’s qualifying for the state toss measured at an even 53.
In other Friday field events, Clay junior Gavin Cayton — who was actually fourth at the district meet — almost earned a point in the boys high jump, placing ninth and tying with two other jumpers at five feet and eight inches.
As Cayton, Jacob Campbell of North Adams, Jonathan McDowell of West Union and eighth-place Elijah Burke of Columbus Africentric all cleared 5-8, only Burke made that height without a miss.
Hence, he finished eighth — as Cayton, Campbell and McDowell all had one miss at 5-8, with all three missing along with Burke all three attempts at 5-10.
Chase Walker of Colonel Crawford, who was 12th, also cleared 5-8 — but he had two misses at that height, and then missed all three of his 5-10 attempts.
Unfortunately, senior Ethan Huffman of Green —the Southeast District boys high jump champion at Northwest —no heighted.
Another Southeast District champion, Clay senior Tabbi Whitt in the girls discus throw, was 16th in that event.
South Webster junior Caden Conley, in the boys 3,200m run, was 13th.
In fact, the only other team besides Valley —and the only other Scioto County regional qualifier besides Benjamin and Moore to score team points —was New Boston senior De’Von Jones.
That’s because Jones scored single points in both sprint events — finishing eighth in both the 100m (11.53 seconds) and 200m (23.26) dashes.
The Indians actually tied Coal Grove —the Southeast District Division III champion at Northwest —in 11th-place out of 43 squads which scored at least one point.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
Now, for both Benjamin and Moore — it’s up and at ‘em early throws in the Division III state meet at Westerville North.
The shot put takes place on Friday and Benjamin’s discus on Saturday — with both events set for first throws at 10 a.m.
Both Benjamin and Moore will throw in the first flight for their events as well.
Valley senior Ryan Benjamin (2nd) and sophomore Justin Moore (3rd) take their place on the awards podium after placing second and third respectively in the Division III Region 11 boys shot put championship at Southeastern High School.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved