Three Central District high schools finished near the top of the team standings in their respective divisions during the boys state track and field championships that concluded June 7 at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
Pickerington North scored 34 points to finish second behind Cleveland Glenville (40) in Division I, Watterson placed fourth (26) behind champion Dayton Dunbar (47) in Division II and Columbus Academy took third (39) as Lima Central Catholic (52) won in Division III.
Of the 51 boys events contested at state, the district had just five first-place finishers.
In Division I, North junior Nick Gray won the 400 meters in 47.69 seconds and Granville senior Casey Lenfest won the 200 in 21.21.
In Division II, Linden-McKinley sophomore Jeffery Floyd won the high jump with an effort of 6 feet, 10 inches and Watterson won the 400 relay in a school-record 42.37.
In Division III, Columbus Academy senior Jack Lint won the 300 hurdles in a state-record 36.32.
For North, it was the third-consecutive runner-up finish.
"Three years in a row getting state runner-up is a heck of a three-year run," coach Dave Spring said.
Gray played a huge role for North. In addition to his title, he was fourth in the 200 (21.49), fifth in the 100 (10.69) and ran anchor on the second-place 1,600 relay (3:15.65) – behind Lucas Miller, Trey Browder and Dairius Ragland. Miller gave North two of the state’s top athletes in the 400, as he placed fourth (48.75).
Other top finishes were by Granville senior Tyler Otterstedt (second in the 800, 1:52.83), Hilliard Davidson senior Phillipie Motley (second in the 100, 10:58 and third in the 200, 21.36), Reynoldsburg junior Ashton Dulin (third in the 300 hurdles, 37.58), Pickerington Central senior Jordan Cummings (third in the high jump, 6-8) and Licking Heights senior Bryan Justice (third in the pole vault, 15-2).
Watterson’s 400 relay consisted of junior Brad Kanney and seniors Ryan Urquhart, Cody Calhoun and Dominic Lombardi. Lombardi also was second in the 300 hurdles (37.43).
“That group has been impressive throughout the season and finished unbeaten,” Watterson coach Matt McGowan said. “What’s even more impressive is that, starting with the district semis, they lowered our school record in the last six races.
“What’s atypical of most (400 relays) is that none of our four were even in a district semi in the 100 and only one was in the district 200 final and he finished eighth. This relay is all about handoffs and being technically sound.”
Hartley’s 800 relay finished second (1:28.62) with a lineup of Jacob Mercier, Kristopher Hill, Mateo Saxton and Alonzo Saxton.
Heath’s 1,600 relay of Carlos Rencher, Freddie Stinson, Donnie Beistel and Josh Lines was third in 3:20.18.
In addition to setting a Division III state meet record in the 300 hurdles, Lint placed third in the long jump (22-8¾) and teammate Logan Baker was second in the 800 (1:55.15).
Also in Division III Harvest Prep’s Richard Johnson was third in the 200 (22.18) and Grandview’s Luke Evans was third in the 1,600 (4:21.74).