Jordan Rispress was all set to go in, and then things got cloudy.

Jordan Rispress was all set to go in, and then things got cloudy.

Rispress, a senior at Hilliard Darby High School, was warming up for the final of the 400-meter hurdles at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships last Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State when heavy rain came through and delayed all the events at the meet for two hours.

Rispress could've been nervous in preparing to run a race for just the second time against some of the top collegiate hurdlers. If he was, it didn't show as he finished eighth (54.83 seconds) behind champion Jeshua Anderson (49.28) of Washington State.

"It was crazy competing against these college guys," Rispress said. "I'm still used to running against high school guys.

"It was only my second time running this race so I'm still trying to get a feel for running in it. I didn't have high expectations coming into the meet, I was just trying to do my best, drop my time and place."

Rispress advanced to the final with the fifth-best qualifying time. His qualifying time of 53.08 was a World Junior Championship-qualifying time, though he needed to finish in the top three in the finals to solidify a spot in the world meet.

Rispress ran in the 400 hurdles for the first time last Friday. At the high-school level, the event is 100 meters shorter. Rispress placed second (37.45) in the 300 hurdles in the Division I state meet June 7 at Jesse Owens, but said he prefers the longer race.

"It fits my stride better," he said. "Once I run it a few more times I'll probably get my time down."

Rispress was joined by Gahanna junior Blake Heriot as the other area athlete to qualify to the finals in the Junior Championships. Heriot, who won the Division I state championship in the 200, placed eighth (22.29) in the 200 behind Antonio Sales (20.94) of South Carolina. His time of 21.63 in the preliminaries was a World Junior Championship-qualifying time, but he needed to place third or better in the final to advance to the world meet.

Heriot also ran in the 100 and finished 20th (10.96) behind champion Terrell Wilks (10.25) of Florida. He managed to do all of that with a sore hamstring that has bothered him since the regional meet May 30 at Darby.

"It means a lot to run here," Heriot said. "Next year when I come here, I'll know what I can do. And hopefully next year I'll be healthy."

While Rispress and Heriot continued to run well after placing high at the state meet, Westerville South junior Ryan Barber just can't seem to figure it out.

Barber placed fourth in the 400 at state after qualifying second because he started too fast and didn't have enough energy at the end of the event. In the Junior Championships, Barber started too slowly and missed qualifying to the final, finishing 13th (47.97) behind champion O'Neal Wilder (46.34) of Mississippi State.

"I really don't know what it is," Barber said. "I just don't know what to say except that I'm really disappointed."

Olentangy Liberty senior Kelsey Couts, who placed second (5-8) at state in the high jump, tied for 10th place (5 feet, 5 1/4 inches) behind champion Shanay Briscoe (5-10 3/4) of the Northwest Flyers in Houston.

Also competing in the high jump was junior Hannah Robertson of New Albany. Robertson, who tied for 12th (5-2) at state, did not place after failing to clear the opening mark of 5-5.

"I thought she did well," New Albany coach Otis Winston said. "You know, she (just finished her sophomore season). This is her first year as a high school track athlete -- she didn't compete her freshman year -- so of course she's going to be a little nervous. But I thought it was a great experience."

Joining Robertson from New Albany was 2008 graduate Rosie White, who has signed with Eastern Michigan.

White placed 15th (17-8 3/4) in the long jump behind champion Shakia Forbes (20-10) of Seton Hall.

"I think it means a lot for them to compete here," Winston said. "They're competing at the meet that Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Allison Felix competed in, so it means a lot to them."