SCIOTO COUNTY — For Scioto County competitors as part of this season’s annual state track and field meet, the contingent consists of a field-event five — and a Portsmouth High School sophomore miler making it at-large.
Indeed, it’s definitely more field —and even distance — than track itself, as six Scioto athletes will compete at this weekend’s state meet, which returns for the first time in three years to spectacular Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Only one of the six is a return state qualifier —but he is a returning all-Ohioan in the Division III boys shot put.
The others are three senior high jumpers, a senior discus girl, and PHS sophomore Charles Putnam running the four laps in the 1,600m run.
Of course, always remember the coronavirus threat of 2020 —which canceled that Ohio High School Athletic Association spring season.
The annual, and quite coveted, state meet takes place over two days at Ohio State University —with our pertinent Division III field event times set for 1 p.m., and the Division II times at 9:30 a.m.
Valley junior Justin Moore makes his return to the D-III shot put, as he was the eighth-place performer in this same state event a year ago.
His Indian throwing teammate, Ryan Benjamin, placed sixth with a 55-feet, two and three-quarters inch heave —as Moore made the medals platform by posting a 51-feet three and one-quarters inch toss.
The top eight placers in each event at the state meet earn team points, and individually amass all-Ohio accolades.
But the six-foot four-inch Moore, in an interview following Friday’s Region 11 shot put championship, said last season was all about upper-body strength and muscling throws for scores —whereas this campaign has been all about actual form.
Moore made good with the Southeast District championship and a toss of 54 feet and one inch, then captured the regional title — with a Valley school record and a personal-best throw of 58-3.
Entering Friday’s state competition, Moore’s winning regional throw is fourth-best —trailing at the top a pair of 62-1s, which are Norwayne senior Colby Morlock and Rittman junior Tyler Thompson.
Immediately ahead of Moore is Norwayne sophomore Dillon Morlock at 60-8, and just behind him is McDonald’s Dante Mediati (58-2 1-2).
Moore is the second-to-final thrower in the first flight of two —as both flights consist of nine competitors, with each receiving three preliminary throws.
Individuals with the top nine throws by distance then advance to the finals, where all nine receive three more throws with the prelim scores carrying over —with the top eight distances in fact punching a ticket to the awards stand.
Moore seeks to make it back there, and even higher than eighth, on Friday.
He hopes to be joined in the scoring column by fellow Valley teammate Bryce Stuart, as the 6-4 senior will compete in the Division III boys high jump.
Stuart’s personal-best is a height of six feet and three inches, although he only needed 6-1 to tie for regional runner-up, following 5-11 to win the Southeast District crown.
Stuart — who will also compete on Friday at 1 p.m. along with Moore — is the second-to-last of 18 jumpers, with Layne Sarver of Tri-Village jumping 6-5 to lead the regional heights.
For Friday morning, Scioto County — and the Southern Ohio Conference — is represented by two senior ladies, Karley Kouns of Wheelersburg and Ava Jenkins of Northwest.
Both will compete at 9:30 a.m., as Jenkins jumped a personal-best 5-2 to place fourth at the water-logged Division II Region 7 meet —and landing the fourth and final state qualifying spot in the high jump.
Kouns, conversely, was third in the regional discus throw —with a best Saturday toss of 110 feet and one inch.
Kouns finished fourth at the Southeast District meet and Jenkins third, as the top four placers from those district meets move on to the regionals —and subsequently the top four in the region go on to the state.
Furthermore, for field events especially, it’s all about how you throw, jump or even pole vault on that particular day.
Jenkins is the second-to-last jumper for the Division II girls, while Kouns is the sixth of nine throwers for that second D-II discus flight.
There are three gals which jumped 5-6 at their respective regionals, as Norton sophomore Morgan Hallett had a regional discus throw of 157 feet.
In addition, Izzy George of Liberty-Benton boasted a 148 for the second-best regional toss.
Like the shot put, all discus competitions follow the same preliminary and finals formats.
On Saturday, two Trojan men seize the Division II stage —including senior Dariyonne Bryant in the boys high jump, bright and early at 9:30 a.m.
Bryant, by jumping 6-1 at the regional, won that championship — but better-bested the Southeast District competition, when he cleared 6-5 for that crown.
Bryant, who is quite capable on any given June day, will likely need another 6-5 to contend for the state title —as Ayden Bath of Vermillion (6-8), Sean Kaminski of Huron (6-6), Brandon Cromer of Cincinnati Taft (6-5 1-2) and Jermaine Foster of Glenville (6-5) open as the top four regional heighters.
Bryant will be the third jumper of the 18, as that is also the number of runners in the boys one-mile.
Putnam was one of two at-large qualifiers for the event, as his regional time of four minutes and 25 seconds surpassed some other state-qualifying clockings.
He finished fifth in the Region 7 meet, but earned his at-large qualification —actually reducing by a dozen seconds (4:37) his Southeast District runner-up time.
Putnam will start the race in the far outside lane of 9B, but based on the 18 qualifying times —only 12 seconds separate the slowest (Teddy Jenson of Liberty Union in 4:28) from the fastest (Joshua Taylor of Bryan in 4:16).
The gun goes off for the D-II boys 1,600m at 1:40 p.m., and also will conclude the Scioto County contingent for the 2022 state meet.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved