Michelle Lehmann of the Watterson High School girls track and field team capped what she called a "massive" senior year at the Division I state meet June 3 at Ohio State.
Making her first state appearance, she placed fifth in the long jump in a personal-best 17 feet, 10 1/2 inches despite having the 13th-best qualifying distance among the 16 state competitors. Lancaster's Hope Purcell (19-1 1/4) won the state title.
Lehmann, who has committed to Ball State University, got her placing jump on her third attempt. Her previous personal best was 17-10.
"I knew I had to do my (personal best)," Lehmann said. "I wasn't too nervous. As long as I placed on the podium, I'm happy."
Lehmann placed fourth in the long jump (17-3 1/4) in the regional meet held May 24 and 26 at Pickerington North and just missed qualifying for state in two other events, placing fifth in the 100 meters (12.19 seconds) and sixth in the 200 (25.37). The top four finishers in each regional event advanced.
Lehmann scored four points at state for Watterson, which tied for 41st behind champion Cincinnati Withrow (58) as 62 teams scored.
Her state performance capped a season in which she set program records in the 100, 200 and long jump as well as in the 400 relay (49.75) with seniors Erin Lombardi and Maddie Ogden and freshman Megan Eberts.
"I think I was physically more mature this season and I worked really hard in the offseason," Lehmann said.
Watterson also was represented at state by senior Sam Mikula, who finished 15th in the 3,200 (11:27.24). She set a program record in the event by taking fourth (10:59.56) at regional.
"It was definitely a cool experience," said Mikula, who has committed to the University of Cincinnati. "I'm grateful and glad that I got here."
Other key seniors included J'Niah Johnston-Reynolds (sprints), Maggie Malone (shot put), Amelia Ohlin (hurdles) and Anna Stinnett (distance). Malone was 13th at regional in the shot put (33-4 3/4).
"Sam and Michelle both made state indoors and were really dedicated and focused this year," coach Sherry Yoakam said. "We're grad-uating some really good seniors."
Watterson scored 159 points to win the CCL meet May 8 and 10, ahead of Hartley (125), DeSales (89.5), host Columbus School for Girls (73.5) and Ready (45) as Lehmann scored 38 points.
Eberts placed sixth at regional in the 800 (2:17.28) as the Eagles finished 14th (20) behind champion Gahanna (97) as 35 teams scored.
Others eligible to return include juniors Lainey Billing (discus), Kelsi Connors (distance) and Madison Tortora (sprints) and sophomores Sam Francis (middle distance), Emily Latshaw (distance), Logan Paeglis (sprints, high jump) and Jane Porter (sprints) and freshmen Natalie Garrett (discus, shot put) and Julia Walling (hurdles).
Strong nucleus to
return in boys track
The boys track and field team will have a strong pair of juniors to build around next season in Nick Kuraly and Shane Merklin, who helped the 3,200 relay finish 11th (8:09.09) in the Division I regional meet.
Kuraly also was 10th in the 3,200 (9:51.22) at regional.
The Eagles, who did not score at regional, are losing five seniors, including Nick Haley and Ross Kuhn. Haley and Kuhn ran on the 3,200 relay at regional as well, and Haley placed ninth at regional in the 800 (1:57.03).
"Nick Kuraly broke 10 minutes at the regional meet," coach Matt McGowan said. "(Haley and Kuhn) had bad cross country seasons but turned it around, and Haley made the regional again (in the 800)."
The Eagles placed third (89) in the CCL meet behind St. Charles (173) and DeSales (153) and ahead of Hartley (56) and Ready (17).
Others eligible to return include juniors Daniel Bowers (hurdles), Nick DePalma (sprints), David Grden (sprints), Matthew Hartel (distance), Holden Jones (sprints, long jump), Patrick Monnin (distance), Erik Placke (discus, shot put), Tony Rogner (sprints), Kyle Simmonds (discus) and John Stimpfl (long jump).
Boys lacrosse team
falls in state semi
The greatest season in the boys lacrosse program's history ended with a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati Mariemont in a Division II state semifinal May 31 at Dayton Chaminade Julienne.
Senior midfielder Riley Taylor had three goals and senior midfielder Will Brown and senior attacker A.J. Rigsby both scored one.
Watterson, which finished 18-2 overall, opened the season March 18 with a 9-8 double-overtime loss at Worthington Kilbourne but won its next 18 games, including beating the third-seeded Wolves 7-6 in four overtimes in the Region 2 final May 27 at Otterbein University.
The Eagles were the top seed in the region.
"It was a pretty magical season," said coach Tom Foley, whose team is losing 17 seniors. "We went on an 18-game winning streak that was so fun. We played loose and free and it felt like (the players) had a lot of fun. They just responded every game and unfortunately we ran into a team in Marie-mont that has been in this position the last few years."
The Eagles went 2-0 in the CCL to win the league title, ahead of St. Charles (1-1) and DeSales (0-2).
Watterson opened the postseason with a 25-3 victory over 17th-seeded Jonathan Alder on May 16 and beat eighth-seeded Buckeye Valley 19-3 in a regional quarterfinal May 19 and fifth-seeded Granville 14-5 in a regional semifinal May 23.
Rigsby was named Region 7 Player of the Year and was joined on first-team all-region by Brown,, Taylor, seniors John Blevins (long-stick midfielder), Nick Giesler (defender), Adam Kasun (faceoff midfielder) and Drew McQuade (attacker) and junior Dominic Elmo (goalkeeper).
Senior Hayden Paul (defender) and junior Frank Jobko (defender) were second-team all-region.
Others eligible to return include junior Cam Headlee (midfielder), sophomores Barrett Bauer (defender), Zach Kasun (midfielder) and Max Ritchey (attacker/midfielder) and freshman Dom Dean (attacker/midfielder).
"We had a pretty iconic senior class that had a really nice career," Foley said. "About eight of them were four-year letterwinners. Hopefully, it influences the other guys. We've got a great goalie coming back in Dom Elmo and have a lot of other kids coming back."