COLUMBUS- The Wheelersburg Pirates took their track stars to the 2016 OHSAA Track and Field State Championships this past weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Pirate’s Ellie Ruby brought back the first place trophy, placing first in all of Division II girls in the long jump. She also received second place in the 100 meter hurdle, and took ninth place in the 300 meter hurdle.
“She’s just an extremely hard worker,” remarked coach Paul Boll. “She’s constantly working on her strength and speed, but she is always working on her technique, too.”
Ruby is only a sophomore at Wheelersburg. She placed in all three events last year as well. She took home the gold this year with her longest jump on record of 18 feet 1.5 inches.
“It was a very exciting competition,” said Boll. “We didn’t know until about ten minutes afterword that she had won. One judge actually made a mistake and had another girl scored higher, but they finally got it sorted out and Ellie came out on top.”
Ruby’s parents were both track stars in their own right at Wheelersburg. Her father and current boys coach Todd Ruby was coached by none other than Ellie’s current coach, Paul Boll.
“I coached him my first year here, back when I coached the boys team,” said Boll. “I took him to the state finals in the long jump, too. Thirty four years later, I’m taking his daughter to do the same thing. Teresa Ruby is also in the Wheelersburg record books for the relay race.”
“If you look at Ellie, she doesn’t look like a long jumper,” Boll laughed. “She was the shortest girl in the entire state competition. She’s fast, strong, and skilled. It all came from a lot of training and dedication. I’m very proud of her.”
“Going into the state meet, we had a six step approach,” said her father, Todd Ruby. “We changed it to an eight step approach and it really worked for her. Taking home the gold is something you always hope and dream for, but we wanted to go compete above all else. We are just thankful she has that kind of ability, and we really enjoyed the moment.”
The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates track team won two invitationals on the year and finished second in the SOC behind Waverly.
For the boys, The Pirates took sixth place in the Sprint Relay race for Division III. Mack Dyer, Michael Hanna, Tracy Murray, and Dominic Reyes all ran for coach Todd Ruby.
“We had five guys go up with us,” said Ruby. “Murray is a senior who started the race, Reyes is a sophomore who is second, Dyer is a sophomore who goes third, and Hannah is a senior that anchors the race. Our alternate is sophomore Aaron Sowards.”
The group placed second at the district meet. However, Dominic Reyes was hurt following the race. Sowards stepped up and ran in his place during the regional meet, where they placed fourth.
Reyes was back for the state meet, where they would run a 43:89 time and receive 6th in the entire state.
“They were a great group of boys that really worked hard,” said Ruby. “They came together at the right time. Overall, we have a very young track team. We have some good sprinters, but we need some more numbers in general. I’m hoping to get some of those big, strong football players out to throw. We are really excited, though, about what we have coming back.”
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @DC__Parker