Abe Myers of the Big Walnut High School boys track and field team doesn't like to rehash his second-place finish in the Newark Invitational on April 1.
Before making his third consecutive trip to the Division I state meet June 2 and 3 at Ohio State, it was the junior's only loss of the season in the discus. He finished a mere seven inches behind Canal Winchester's Danny Jones in the Newark meet.
Myers has always thrived on motivation and bouncing back from defeats. That mindset took him to the top of the podium at the regional meet May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North, where the top four finishers in each event qualified for state. His championship throw of 163 feet, 3 inches on the first day of the meet bested runner-up Cade Richeson of Thomas Worthington (162-6).
"I didn't have the best day (at regional)," said Myers, who was regional runner-up last season and placed eighth at state last year and in 2015. "It was one of those days when you weren't feeling it. But I found a way, and that's what I've done all season. All that matters is getting one good throw."
Junior Brandon Mosher joined Myers as a regional champion, winning the shot put in a personal-best 57-3 1/2. Mosher, who placed ninth at regional last season, was unbeaten in the event on the season entering his first state appearance.
Mosher also competed at regional in the discus, finishing 15th (118-3).
"Last year, I wanted to go to states, but the (shot put) competition was really tough," Mosher said. "My confidence level has been really high this season. I was thinking I might break the school record in the finals and have a huge throw."
While that didn't happen, he came close to the record, which is 58-3/4.
The Golden Eagles finished 12th (20 points) at regional behind champion Thomas Worthington (73) as 37 teams scored.
Sophomore Kaley Rammelsberg was the only state qualifier for the girls team, placing third in high jump (5-4) at regional. She narrowly missed qualifying for state a year ago in the event.
"She tied for fourth last season, then lost in a jump-off for the final spot," girls coach Joe Evener said. "For her to come back and get her redemption was awesome."
Rammelsberg's performance helped Big Walnut tie Worthington Kilbourne for 19th (10) at regional behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.
Senior Anna Vrancken placed fifth in the discus (118-4) as Gahanna's Bronte Johnson (121-9) earned the final state berth, and the 3,200-meter relay of juniors Kaitlin Meade and Emma Padgett, sophomore Adelee Gartner and freshman Colbi Borland was 13th (10 minutes, 3.49 seconds).
Baseball team falls
in regional semifinal
The baseball team fell behind early in its Division I regional semifinal against Gahanna and couldn't recover.
The Lions scored five runs in the first inning off pitcher Austin Becker, a junior who has committed to Vanderbilt University, on their way to an 11-0, six-inning win May 26 at Dublin Coffman.
Big Walnut, which was making its third consecutive regional appearance, finished 23-6.
"We all knew about Gahanna and their offense, a very good team," coach Jack Schone said. "We had one of our two aces on the mound. We definitely liked our chances. However, baseball is crazy and full of adversity."
Big Walnut also lost to Gahanna in a regional semifinal last season, falling 10-5, after reaching a Division II state semifinal in 2015.
Seniors led way
for tennis team
Six seniors led the boys tennis team to its best finish in six seasons.
The Golden Eagles finished 14-4 overall to fall one win shy of the program record. They finished 15-4 in 2011 and 15-3 in 2007.
Big Walnut also was represented in the Division I district tournament for the first time since 2012 and finished second in the OCC-Capital Division at 4-1, behind New Albany (5-0) and ahead of Groveport (3-2), Newark (2-3), Canal Winchester (1-4) and Franklin Heights (0-5).
The Golden Eagles lost to New Albany 5-0 on April 11.
"When you look at it, this team really accomplished more than any other team in program history," coach Ryan Balaz said. "Aside from the wins, they won three tournaments."
Senior Jared Deel and sophomore Carson Becker teamed up to qualify for district in doubles, losing to Upper Arlington's Jack Schadek and Jack Hughes 6-1, 6-3 in a first-round match May 18 at Hilliard Davidson.
Deel and Becker, who also played on the junior varsity baseball team this spring, mostly played singles during the regular season.
"They played a tough UA team in that first round that eventually ended up qualifying for states," Balaz said. "It's tough to get one team through to districts, so what they did was tremendous. They'd only played two doubles matches before sectionals."
Deel and Becker went 3-1 in a sectional May 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg and finished third, defeating Olentangy Liberty's Hoang Do and Adithya Nair 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the third-place match.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles at sectional qualified for district.
Deel had the Golden Eagles' best singles record at 26-7, while seniors Nick Schulz and Lane Davis had the team's best doubles record at 22-6.
The other seniors are Mitchell Cholley, Stephen Pushkin and D.J. Werner.
Along with Becker, sophomore Matt Pushkin is expected to return next season after playing second doubles. Sophomore Gabe Mexicott and junior Colin Bates also should be in the mix next year.
"It's kind of scary to lose all the seniors, but it's also exciting," Balaz said. "There are freshmen and underclassmen who have waited their turn."