The Division I regional meet provided some pleasant surprises for Reynoldsburg High School girls track and field competitors Diamond Gause and Leah Wallace.
Gause is a senior who might have been the favorite to win the 100 meters and 200 in the regional May 29 and 31 at Pickerington North, but running personal-best times while capturing titles in both wasn't on her radar.
Wallace, a sophomore, was just hoping to make it back to state after settling for a district runner-up finish in the 3,200, but she ended up with a championship as well.
The duo scored 30 of Reynoldsburg's 34 points at regional as the Raiders finished sixth behind co-champions Gahanna and Pickerington Central (55) as 39 teams scored.
The top four in each event advanced to the state meet Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Ohio State.
"My goal was just to get to state and I actually, honestly, wasn't expecting (to win)," Wallace said.
"I ran a personal-record in both (the 100 and 200), and I wasn't expecting that because of the weather," Gause said. "Right before (the 100) it was drizzling, but right before I got into the block it stopped. No matter what the weather is, you have to run strong."
Gause had no trouble winning her titles, running 11.85 seconds to beat New Albany's Karrington Winters (12.12) in the 100 and 24.06 in the 200 as Hartley's Naja Greer was second (24.81).
"She was very impressive," coach Richard Ladowitz said. "She's just running stronger now. It's not a surprise to me because all season long it's been a different Diamond. She's in way better shape than she's ever been before."
In the 3,200, Wallace finished in 11:12.3 to top a field that also advanced Westerville North's Heather Sandvik (11:16.1), Upper Arlington's Dorrian Jaffe (11:16.76) and Hilliard Davidson's Jane Onders (11:18.02). Gahanna's Kelsey Sandlin, who beat Wallace at district, got passed by two runners just before the finish and was fifth (11:18.07).
"We tried a new strategy (at district) where we went by time, so I was a little further behind," Wallace said. "Our goal (at regional) was to stay behind for the first mile and start pushing it and the last 600 meters give it everything I have. I kept telling myself that if I could get to state as a freshman that I could do it this year."
Last season at state, Gause ran on the 400 relay that won in a meet-record 45.99 and was on the champion 1,600 relay (3:50.33). Wallace placed 15th in the 3,200 (11:32.83).
The Raiders have won the last four state team championships.
Also competing at regional but failing to advance were seniors Cherese Nimmons in the 400 (sixth, 59.58) and Kiara Chatman in the 200 (eighth, 26.31) and sophomore Ivana Woods-Murphy in the shot put (16th, 30 feet, 9 inches).
Seitzer advances to state boys meet
Senior Dominik Seitzer will represent the boys track team in the Division I state meet.
After running on the 3,200 relay that finished sixth (7:53.27) at state a year ago, Seitzer advanced to state by placing third in the 800 (1:53.28) at regional.
His six points helped Reynoldsburg tie Westerville South for 26th behind champion Pickerington North (99) as 39 teams scored.
"The first lap was kind of slow, but I closed pretty well," said Seitzer, who was sixth at regional in the 800 a year ago. "I was just trying to compete. My main goal was just to get to state. (At state) I just want my first lap to be a little faster."
Also competing at regional was the 1,600 relay, which placed 12th (3:31.56) with Seitzer, sophomores El Hadj Kamara and Jacob Cicak and freshman Mark Gooden.
Seitzer finished behind Westerville North's Jacob Dumford (1:52.01) and Newark's Anthony Johnson (1:52.23) in the 800.
"He ran with the studs," Ladowitz said. "I think he's still capable of running even better. Clearly that 800 field was a pretty elite field."
Raglin to lead tennis returnees
A season ago, sophomore Cameron Raglin was paired against Westlake's Colton Buffington for his first Division I state boys tennis tournament match and lost 6-4, 6-2.
The draw was unkind to Raglin again this season, as he ran into the state's third-place finisher from a year ago in Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit's Aaron Sandberg.
Raglin lost 6-2, 6-1 to Sandberg in the first round of state May 31, ending a season in which he was the OCC-Ohio Division runner-up, earned a sectional title and placed third at district.
Raglin broke Sandberg's serve to begin the second set but couldn't turn the temporary momentum into a comeback.
Sandberg lost to Lodi Cloverleaf's Jacob Dunbar 6-1, 6-1 in the state final.
"(Sandberg) didn't beat himself," coach Mark Mathias said. "He had maybe one spell where he struggled, and he did have to earn his points. He makes you finish out the point. Sandberg just makes it difficult to capitalize on any momentum."
Raglin is expected to be the top returnee for a team that loses one senior in second-singles player Brandon Person.
Person and junior Yosef Maher joined Raglin in the district tournament May 24 and 25 at Davidson. In the home sectional May 16 and 18, Raglin beat Olentangy's Austin Karbler 6-2, 6-1 to win the singles title and Maher beat Person 6-1, 6-2 to take third.
Maher and Person lost first-round district matches.
"It was the first time we've ever had three singles players qualify for district, and two out of three of those are back," Mathias said. "We've got a good, solid core returning. We just had to bring our doubles up this year, but we were much improved by the end of the season."
Reynoldsburg finished third (57 points, 5-2) in the OCC-Ohio behind Pickerington North (77, 7-0) and Gahanna (61, 6-1) and ahead of Pickerington Central (36, 4-3), Grove City (3-2, 3-4), Lancaster (32, 2-5), Groveport (13, 1-6) and Newark (5, 0-7).
In the league tournament May 9 and 11 at home, Person (second singles) and Maher (third singles) joined Raglin as runners-up.
Juniors Zach Kahl and Raymond Truong were fifth in first doubles and juniors Isaac Kahn and Bryn Bell were third in second doubles.