Once again, members of the Grandview Heights High School track and field program were competing with a devastating loss on their minds.

Once again, members of the Grandview Heights High School track and field program were competing with a devastating loss on their minds.

Once again, they delivered performances that honored the memory of a former classmate.

The members of the boys 400-meter relay dyed their hair black to pay tribute to soccer standout Colin Jourdan during the Division III state meet June 5 and 6 at Ohio State.

Jourdan, a 2015 graduate, died June 1 after falling from a cliff at a quarry near Grandview. He started for the Division III state runner-up boys soccer team last fall.

The 400 relay of sophomores Zach Martin and Jordan Beight, freshman Indigo London and senior Grant Varner placed fifth in 44.57 seconds to reach the podium at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as one of the top eight finishers.

"He dyed his hair black last year for soccer, so we thought we would do the same," Beight said.

The Bobcats have lost two friends and a mentor in the past few months.

Coach and teacher Steve Hall, a former Ohio State men's basketball player, died from colon cancer Feb. 17. Also, Chase Gage, a 2013 Grandview graduate and Wittenberg student, died in an auto accident May 14.

In the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 15 at London, Grandview athletes wore blue ribbons pinned to their uniforms to honor Gage, a former teammate. The girls team won its eighth consecutive league title and the boys finished second, one point from the title.

At state, the 400 relay members wore wristbands made of white athletic tape honoring Gage, Hall and Jourdan. In black lettering, the wristbands read: "For Hall. For Colin. For Chase."

"We've had three deaths this year and it has been pretty tough," Varner said. "A lot of the kids on the team were close to Mr. Hall, Chase and Colin, and we wanted to honor them."

The four runners broke their own program record in the preliminary race June 5, entering the final June 6 seeded fifth at 43.97. They set the previous record of 44.12 while winning a district title May 23 at Whitehall.

"We have been trying to get below 44 (seconds) all season," Beight said.

Making their first run at state, the Bobcats dealt with expected jitters in the preliminary.

"I was pretty nervous, but I'd like to think the others felt the same way," London said. "I just went out and did the best I could because it's about the team."

As he did throughout the season, Martin led off the 400 relay final, handing the baton to Beight.

"My start was good," Martin said. "I just wanted to stay up with the other guys and hand off to Jordan."

Beight handed off to London, who gave the baton to Varner on the anchor leg.

"It was pretty crazy to be up there (on the podium) and be recognized with these guys," Varner said. "It was a way to acknowledge the hard work we have put in."

Varner also was runner-up in the shot put June 5 with a throw of 56 feet, 1 3/4 inches to become the program's highest state placer in throwing events. West Alexandria Twin Valley South's Aaron Deaton won with a 56-9.

"Going in, I knew I was in range with the other guys, so I was swinging hard for No. 1," Varner said. "I wanted to win it, but you can't argue with finishing second.

"I think it helped running the (400 relay preliminary at 10:55 a.m. June 5) before throwing (at 1 p.m.). That was pretty scary (running the 400 relay). I thought there were a ton of people over here (at the throwing facility), but it was nothing like the number of people in Jesse Owens (Stadium)."

Last season, Varner placed fifth at state in the shot put (53-9).

"It was the highest place ever for a Grandview thrower, which is amazing because Grant is not only the strongest but one of the fastest kids on the team," throws coach Joe Anderson said. "The only thing that I told him (before competing) was that he only had six throws left in his high school career and he needed to go all out on each one. But Grant always goes all out, and he did (in those six throws)."

Beight also competed in the long jump and 300 hurdles. He finished 12th in the long jump (20-8 1/4) and did not finish the 300 hurdles after falling during the preliminary race.

The Bobcats tied for 14th (12 points) behind champion Warren JFK (48) as 76 teams scored.

Lachey completes career for girls team

Senior Ali Lachey of the girls track team finished 13th in the 1,600 (5:17.62) in the Division III state meet.

Lachey was the only state qualifier for the Bobcats, who did not score. Louisville Aquinas (69) won as 66 teams scored.

"My plan was to not go out too strong," said Lachey, who was making her third appearance at state. "I thought the (1,600) was a lot faster here than it was last year. My regional time (5:15.46) from last year would have been good for seventh, but this year it would have only been 10th."

It was the final prep race for Lachey, who will attend Ohio State but will not compete in sports.

"I just tried to enjoy it," she said. "The last 200 meters or so, I had my eyes closed just taking it in, listening to the crowd.

"It's bittersweet because it's my last race, but I won't be far from it (the track program). I have two brothers (freshman James and seventh-grader Luke Lachey), so I'll still be around for the next five years."