It wasn't lost on any of the members of the Worthington Christian High School boys track and field team's 3,200-meter relay what they'd accomplished during the opening day of the Division II state meet June 2 at Ohio State.
At the district meet that concluded May 20 at Westerville South, the relay survived by earning the fourth and final regional-qualifying berth.
The Warriors made a lineup change, inserting junior sprinter Jordan Jackson into the anchor role the next week, and they earned a regional runner-up finish in a program-record 7 minutes, 54.13 seconds May 25 at Lexington.
At state, the relay, which also featured juniors Jake Bertelsen, Kyle Smith and Luke Smith, ran another record time (7:50.65) and left with the championship.
"It was kind of like a dark-horse scenario," Bertelsen said. "This is just kind of surreal. At the beginning of the season, I never thought we'd be here."
Jackson, who went on to earn a fourth-place finish in the 400 (48.39) on the second day of state June 3, spent most of his season concentrating on shorter sprints.
He ended up in the 3,200 relay as the replacement for senior Jonathan Davis, who battled an injury late in the season.
"(The 3,200 relay is) a tough race because there's (so) much thinking," Jackson said. "My coach had said to just let them race you. At about the 200-meter mark, I decided to give it my all."
The Warriors finished with 15 state points to place 17th behind champion Dayton Dunbar (33) as 72 teams scored.
"As a team, we have a lot of talent, and as long as we try our best, we came out with our best," Luke Smith said.
Bertelsen added a 13th-place finish in the 1,600 (4:26.76) on June 3.
Last season, Jackson and Kyle Smith ran on the 1,600 relay that finished fourth at state.
"At the beginning of the season, I thought the (3,200 relay) would have one of the least chances to make it this far," Kyle Smith said. "We all just buckled down."
The state performances capped a season in which the Warriors earned a runner-up finish (145) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 9 and 12, behind Grandview (146) and ahead of host Whitehall (100.5), Bexley (96), Columbus Academy (92.5), London (46) and West Jefferson (19).
Also competing in the regional meet May 25 and 27 were the 1,600 relay of senior Sammy Myers, Jackson, Luke Smith and Kyle Smith (seventh, 3:27.49), Jackson in the 200 (eighth, 23.41), senior Reed Tucker in the long jump (11th, 20 feet, 1 1/2 inches) and the 400 relay of seniors Emerson Patrick, Alex Tucker and Isaac Wilson and junior Ethan Crary (13th, 45.6).
Others eligible to return include juniors Grant Mudge (shot put), Seth Parsell (discus) and Taylor Vallangeon (distance) and freshman Montell Edwards (sprints).
Rettstatt, relay make
podium in girls track
The girls track and field team got on the podium in two events at the Division III state meet held June 2 and 3 at Ohio State.
Senior Bridgette Rettstatt completed her prep career with a runner-up finish in the high jump (5-8) and the 800 relay of juniors Emily Hall and Emma Kasich and freshmen Ashley Hall and Mianna Hartings was seventh (1:46.99).
The Warriors scored 10 points to tie for 20th behind champion Anna (38) as 82 teams scored.
Rettstatt placed fourth at state in the high jump as a sophomore and took third in the event last season. She has committed to continue her track and basketball careers at Liberty University.
"Although I was so close to winning, I couldn't have imagined performing any better," Rettstatt said. "I cleared all of my heights on my first attempt, which was perfect. (Going) 5-9 would have been a (personal-best) for me, which would have been amazing, but I just couldn't get over it. I knew coming into the meet that the competition would be excellent. I would have been happy with just a medal, but jumping my best and improving to second place this year was a prayer come true."
Also at state, the 400 relay of Emily Hall, Ashley Hall, Kasich and Hartings placed 12th (51.7).
Last season at state, Emily Hall and Kasich both ran on the 400 and 800 relays, both of which placed 11th.
Reaching the podium this year in the 800 relay was something that Hartings and Kasich called "a lot of fun." The relay's time at state was its best of the season.
"At state, the (competition is) a lot faster, so it pushes us," Hartings said. "It means a lot, especially as a freshman."
The Warriors placed fourth (80) in the MSL-Ohio meet behind Grandview (144), Academy (136.5) and Bexley (134) and ahead of London (66), Whitehall (46) and West Jefferson (37.5).
Also competing at regional May 24 and 26 at Fairfield Union were Ashley Hall in the 100 (seventh, 12.63) and 200 (seventh, 26.59) and freshman Ayannah Mabry in the shot put (13th, 31-5 1/4).
Others eligible to return include juniors Alex Evans (middle distance), Jenna Lake (high jump, hurdles) and Ellie Myers (middle distance) and freshman Madelyn Patrick (distance).