COLUMBUS — Scioto County gained a weekend split, but be sure to know this wasn’t baseball.
This was track and field, and actually much more field than track, as six Scioto County competitors showcased their talents on Friday and Saturday at the state track and field meet —returning for the first time in three years and under superior sunny skies inside Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
And, actually for Valley junior Justin Moore, it was immediately outside the “JO” confines —a proverbial hop, skip, jump or in this case a shot put throw from the fantastic facility’s front gate.
That’s because Moore repeated as an all-Ohio performer for Friday’s Division III boys shot put —finishing fifth out of 18 throwers, and breaking his own personal record and Valley High School mark with a best throw of six of 58 feet and six and one-quarter inches.
The top eight placers in each event at the state meet earn team points, and individually amass all-Ohio accolades.
Last year, Moore as a sophomore made eighth —with a best throw of six of 51 and 3 1/4.
But the six-foot four-inch Moore, in an interview following late May’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 THEN a Valley school record and a personal-best throw of 58-3.
He picked up where he left off in the regional, and wasted no time with his first prelims throw — going for his 58-6 1/4.
His other two tosses in the prelims were for 56 feet and four and one-half inches followed by a foul —as he also fouled on his middle finals throw, sandwiched between 56 feet and seven-and-a-half inches and 57-1.
He completed the prelims in fifth, and remained that way with the competition’s conclusion in the heat of the afternoon.
Individuals with the top nine throws by distance do 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.
For Moore, he met his goal of returning to the state meet —and moving up the platform placings by three spots.
“I was very excited to make it back to state. Thanks to all the help and support from my coaches, friends and family. And special thanks to Rusty Smith and Rashaud Scott for helping me meet my goals for this season, which were to get back (to state meet), finish higher on the podium, and set a new school record,” he said. “I’m already looking forward to next season. I plan to be a contender for the state championship.”
That shot put state title, and runner-up for that matter, went to brothers just two years apart — and representing Norwayne.
Dillon Morlock, a sophomore, mastered 65 feet and four and one-quarter inches for the championship, while senior Colby Morlock landed his best of six throws exactly one inch shy of 65-feet flat.
Of the six from Scioto County, Moore was the only repeater —as two senior high jumpers joined him on the awards podium for Division II.
For Friday morning, Northwest’s Ava Jenkins jumped into the final dozen for the girls —tying her personal best by clearing five feet and two inches, and on her first try at that height.
In finishing fourth at the Region 7 meet, and needing a PR to quality for the state, Jenkins jumped right through a searing and pouring rain —and on her third attempt at that.
With her first attempt at 5-2 for Friday, she nailed it with little-to-no obvious difficulty —and ended up tying New London freshman Andria Pollazek for eighth.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to at least get here, and I just wanted to meet my PR, since I met it at regionals. It really is a shock to me that I got to the podium. I was a nervous wreck at the beginning, because this (atmosphere) was very intimidating, everything is so big, there are so many people and it’s so loud. I just wanted to meet my PR and maybe PR again, so this is a real honor. My goal last Thursday (Region 7 meet) was to not get injured because of the rain, but I knew I could advance on. Today is a nice day and my goal was to get 5-2 on either my first try or second try. With the weather, I had no rain going into my eyeballs,” said Jenkins. “But I’ve been practicing this week, and mentally I knew I was able to get it since I cleared it last week. After I cleared my first jump, it was a lot easier to do my other jumps. I’m really excited about this and it’s an amazing way to finish out my high school career.”
She cleared the 4-10 starting height on her first attempt, before needing two attempts to clear five feet.
She then matched her 5-2, before missing all three attempts at 5-4 —although the fewer misses tiebreakers broke her way, and got her on the medals stand.
Of the nine D-II girls high jump placers, Jenkins was the sole senior — as junior Jenna Young of Brooklyn won the championship at 5-7, edging Cincinnati Wyoming freshman Penelope Webb with the fewer misses tiebreakers.
On Saturday morning, Portsmouth senior Dariyonne Bryant jumped for the D-II boys and tied for sixth —after capturing the Southeast District championship, with his personal best and PHS school record 6-foot-5.
He won the Region 7 meet with only a 6-1, but had no problem in clearing his first four heights (5-10, 6-0, 6-2 and 6-4) in Columbus — and all on the first attempt at each height.
In trying to tie his PR, and equal his own Trojan mark, he missed all three attempts at 6-5 —and was jumping at that height after not competing for an estimated 20 minutes, due to other jumpers trying to surpass the 6-4.
Bryant’s sixth-place podium placement was boosted by the fact he went a perfect 4-of-4 on his opening four jumps.
“It felt really easy in the beginning, I was just clearing everything. Once we got to 6-5, I started hitting the bar with my butt and my form got bad. It’s hot out here and I kind of got a little dehydrated. After 6-4, I had to wait and I was just sitting there, not loose. I jumped as well as I could, but wish I could have done better, but I am happy with where I am at,” said the six-foot three-inch tall Bryant. “It was great to get that medal and be on the podium. This is a great atmosphere up here.”
Bryant was actually in only his second season of track and field, and first for PHS.
He tied the prohibitive — and even overwhelming — pre-meet favorite, which was senior Ayden Bath of Vermilion, who jumped 6-8 to win his region.
Bryant and Bath both benefited from fewer misses tiebreakers, as there were five total jumpers which cleared 6-4.
Above Bryant were four at 6-5, including third-place and the only underclassman in this top eight —junior Jermaine Foster of Cleveland Glenville.
Sean Kaminski, the Huron senior, stood atop the podium with the state championship —and the only D-II boy to clear 6-6.
A third high jumper from Scioto County, Valley senior Bryce Stuart, was 16th out of 18 at an even six feet for the D-III boys.
Also for Friday was Wheelersburg senior Karley Kouns, who threw a 17th-place 102 feet and 10 inches in the D-II girls discus.
Besides Moore, the only other county underclassman was Portsmouth sophomore Charles Putnam —an at-large qualifier for the D-II boys 1,600m run.
Under Saturday’s sunsoaking of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, Putnam was 16th out of 17 runners which started the mile —and completed his four laps in four-and-a-half minutes.
He finished eight seconds ahead of Liberty Union junior Teddy Jenson, as John Glenn senior Chris Tooms did not start the race.
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