Three times Abby Steiner motored down the final straightaway June 3, providing the overflow crowd at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with rare “wow” moments reserved for Ohio’s all-time greats in high school track and field.
The Dublin Coffman High School junior broke a 10-year-old state record in winning her third consecutive 200 meters (23.56 seconds), added a second victory in the 100 (11.61) and provided the most electrifying moment of the weekend, running down two rivals on her anchor leg to give Coffman a repeat win in the 800 relay (1:38.34).
She was clocked in 23 flat. It was a virtual repeat of last year’s relay with the same three teams: Coffman, Gahanna and Cincinnati Withrow.
“The feeling is indescribable, accomplishing all of my goals in my favorite meet of the year,” Steiner said. “The 200 was the most meaningful record because, frankly, I didn’t expect it. It was just as thrilling coming back in the relay. My favorite thing to do is catch people, and I don’t have many opportunities to that. It’s something special for me to share with my teammates.”
The performance came 10 months after Steiner suffered a torn ACL that cost her the soccer season and much of the indoor track season.
Withrow won the team title with 58 points, with Gahanna (51) taking runner-up. In 2016, Withrow outscored the Gahanna 64-53 after the rivals shared the championship in 2015.
Coffman (39) and Pickerington Central (31) followed, capping a dominant performance by area athletes. Central Ohio individuals and relay teams won eight of the 17 events.
Other area wins came from India Johnson of Hilliard Davidson in the 3,200 (10:23.84), Hope Purcell of Lancaster in the long jump (19 feet, 1 1/4 inches), Natalie Price of Granville in the 400 (52.96), Gia Napoleon of Thomas Worthington in the 800 (2:07.47) and Gahanna’s 1,600 relay (3:46.74).
Johnson, Price and Gahanna’s 1,600 relay repeated their titles of a year ago. Purcell added a second-place finish in the high jump (5-8), and Price was second behind Steiner in the 100 (11.94).
“I was just training to break my (personal record),” said Johnson, a Michigan State signee who shaved some 23 seconds off her 2016 time. She also was state champion in cross country.
Price, an Indiana signee, ran virtually by herself as usual.
“I was looking more for time today, but I took the first 200 out too hard and wore myself out a little,” Price said. “It’s a learning experience every time you race.”
Purcell was ecstatic about her long jump victory and career best.
“This is the first year I’ve long-jumped and I didn’t have very high expectations,” Purcell said.
In Division II, Aziza Ayoub of Jonathan Alder defended her title in the 800 (2:09.11) but came up two-tenths of a second shy of setting the state record she has chased all season.
“Originally, I said I wanted to run 2:05, but this was the last race of my high school career and all I’m thinking about is soaking in the moment,” said Ayoub, an Ohio State signee. “I was so focused, I don’t even know who was around me during the race.”
Beechcroft freshman Makiya Montgomery capped a dream freshman season by winning the 100 (11.98) and finishing second in the 200 (24.8) and fourth in the 400.
“My goals were either to win or finish runner-up in every race,” Montgomery said. “I felt most confident in the 100 because I can just give my all the whole way. I’m really excited about winning.”
The only Division III area champion was Kyleigh Edwards of Fairfield Christian in the 3,200 (10:40).
“I wanted this more than anything in the world,” said Edwards, who placed third as a junior. “I made a calculated decision to scratch from the 1,600 in hopes that I could get a little edge in my 3,200. That turned out to be a very wise decision.”