Chris Miller ended the season on a high note for the Grandview Heights High School boys track and field team.
The sophomore finished 12th in the 1,600 meters in the Division III state meet held June 1 and 2 at Ohio State. He would have loved to finish in the top eight to stand on the awards podium, but Miller took satisfaction in running a career-best 4 minutes, 28.5 seconds.
"We planned to go out in the middle of the pack and be around 64 (seconds in the first lap) but it was closer to high-61 or low-62," Miller said. "That kept me in contention for the first three laps and then I just fell out of contention.
"Getting out as a fast time is something I haven't been able to do this year. Coming through with a 62 and a 2:10 (after two laps) and a 3:16 after three with a chance to do something really good was good and it's something to build on."
Coach Brian Schoch said Miller ran the kind of race that is necessary at state.
"I love how Chris competed in the (1,600)," Schoch said. "It was a combination of gutsiness and wisdom, which are things you need as a distance runner. He absolutely did that. A 4:28 is a fantastic time and I loved his attitude and mindset going into the race."
The Bobcats did not score at state. East Canton (64 points) won as 72 teams scored.
For the second consecutive season, Miller joined seniors Eli Evans, Eli Hall and Liam Kerr on the 3,200 relay, which finished 11th in a season-best 8:13.45. Last spring, they were ninth in 8:13.67.
"I think we ran the best we could," Miller said. "We ran pretty much the same time as last year, and we were pretty happy overall."
Senior Ben Murphy tied for 15th in the pole vault (11 feet, 6 inches). He cleared the initial height and missed his first attempt at 12-0. As he was preparing his entry for his second attempt, the competition was halted for more than 90 minutes because of a lightning delay.
After returning, Murphy missed his two final attempts at 12-0.
"(The delay) really didn't bother me," he said. "I sat around and hung out with my family. I'm just happy to be here, so it's a good experience and a great way to cap a career.
"I was glad to clear the opening height. After that I was here to have fun and get some jumps."
Murphy cleared a personal-best 12-0 to finish fourth at regional, which concluded May 25 at Fairfield Union, and earn the final state-qualifying berth.
The 3,200 relay placed third (8:16.36) and Miller was runner-up in the 1,600 (4:32.02) as the Bobcats tied for eighth (27) behind champion Worthington Christian (70) as 35 teams scored.
Freshman Derek Amicon was fifth in the 1,600 (4:35.05) and Hall was 13th in the 800 (2:08.97). Evans qualified for regional in the 400 but focused on relays.
Evans, sophomore Jack Kessler, Miller and freshman Nico Card were on the fifth-place 1,600 relay (3:28.23).
The Bobcats finished fifth (57) in the MSL-Ohio Division meet May 8 and 11 behind Worthington Christian (130), host London (121), Columbus Academy (101) and Whitehall (63) and ahead of Bexley (48).
"We had a lot of good things happen this season with a mix of experience and a lot of young talented kids," Schoch said. "We're losing some good seniors. We have four seniors at the state meet who were part of league and regional championships. They had a great career and we'll miss them, but we're excited to see what the future holds."
Girls track team left wanting more
Whitney Schaefer competed in the 300 hurdles and on two relays for the girls track team in the Division III state meet.
The junior was 14th in the 300 hurdles (47.38) and joined senior Kacey Murphy, sophomore Maddy Morosky and freshman Hannah Yochem on the 12th-place 800 relay (1:48.18) and 13th-place 1,600 relay (4:12.04).
"It was great for them to get experience at the state meet," Schoch said. "We didn't run our fastest times, so it leaves a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth. You always want to run your best at the last meet of the season."
The Bobcats did not score at state. Minster (57) won as 62 teams scored.
At regional, the 800 relay (1:47.47) and 1,600 relay (4:08.95) both were third and Schaefer was fourth in the 300 hurdles (45.8) as the Bobcats finished ninth (23) behind champion Mount Gilead (62) as 50 teams scored.
Junior Nina Amicon was sixth in the 1,600 (5:29.52) and 12th in the 800 (2:36.21). Sophomore Liza DeVere was 13th in the 800 (2:36.57) and tied for 11th in the long jump (4-10). Murphy was 16th in the long jump after not clearing the initial height of 4-10.
In the 400, Morosky was sixth (1:01.55) and Yochem was 12th (1:05.11). Sophomore Emma Hall was 11th in the 3,200 (12:49.53).
"Next year I need to come back stronger," Morosky said. "I didn't run as well as I wanted. I have stress fractures in my feet, but it's just something you just have to deal with."
The Bobcats won the title in the 16-team district 1 meet, which concluded May 19 at Watkins Memorial. They scored 89 points to finish ahead of runner-up Northridge (82.5).
In the league meet, Grandview was third (116) behind Bexley (128) and Academy (121) and ahead of Worthington Christian (68), London (61) and Whitehall (22).
"Senior-wise, Kacey Murphy is the only senior running in the postseason so we will have a lot back," Schoch said. "She came out for the first time and her improvement throughout the year has really helped us out.
"A lot of our core group is coming back and hopefully we can get some freshmen and other kids running for us. We have a lot to look forward to."