Olivia Neidhardt will be putting in a lot of miles leading into the Division II state girls track and field meet.
The Olentangy Berlin High School junior will compete in the 1,600 meters after placing fourth (program-record 5 minutes, 25.38 seconds) in the regional meet that concluded May 25 at Lexington.
Neidhardt rushed from regional to play in a soccer tournament in New Jersey and will return home to compete in the state meet Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Ohio State.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to even come here because I'm supposed to be in a soccer tournament in New Jersey," she said. "We're leaving from here to drive over there for that after I run the 800.
"I was giving a lot of thought to the (1,600) race. I wrote these splits down on my hand, and I knew after the first lap that I clearly wasn't going to reach (them). I was hoping for a 5:24, but I didn't do that well. I had a 5:25, so I'm happy with that time."
Neidhardt finished 13th in the 800 (2:31.78). The top four in each event automatically advanced to state, and two at-large state berths were awarded in each event based on times and distances statewide.
Neidhardt will be joined at state by sophomore Luke Walden, who finished third in the boys pole vault (program-record 14 feet, 4 inches).
"I think we had a nice tailwind and I was able to use a bigger pole," said Walden, whose best effort entering the season was 12-1. "I didn't have to worry about getting up to speed because of that tailwind. They also had a fast runway there with a little bit of a tilt, which is good for getting height."
Vaulting coach Whitney Bice said Walden continues to improve.
"His biggest thing (heading into regional) was staying tight at the top, tight to the pole," Bice said. "His best jumps are when he stays tight on top and he doesn't wag out. That allows him to get his body higher on that turn and he was turning a little earlier on top. That top end is what's making him go higher and the tailwind allowed us to use our biggest pole."
Neidhardt also was on the 10th-place 3,200 relay (10:17.35) with Meghan Boggess, Rebecca Koppelman and Aneesah Ahmed. Boggess placed sixth in the 3,200 (12:10.25), and Skylar Stevenson was ninth in the long jump (16-1/4).
Cara Susey was seventh in the 300 hurdles (48.0) and qualified but did not compete in the 100 hurdles. Koppelman was 11th in the 1,600 (5:39.5).
Sierra Cardi, Susey, Stevenson and Meghan Hill were on the 13th-place 400 relay (52.17).
Maggie Conrad competed in the pole vault but did not clear the opening height.
The girls finished 21st (10 points) behind champion Creston Norwayne (65) as 39 teams scored, and the boys tied for 15th (12) behind champion Shelby (77) as 44 teams scored.
Ethan Harsh was seventh in the 110 hurdles (15.7) and 300 hurdles (41.83), Corey Rinehart placed seventh in the 1,600 (4:35.77) and Ian Poehler was ninth in the pole vault (13-0).
The 3,200 relay of Rinehart, Grant Schrieber, Pietro Pozzi and Jacob Reitz was 10th (8:31.84), and the 400 relay of Liam McGreevey, Benant Bukari, Johnny Spinner and Izzy Foston finished 12th (44.89).
"We had a great day overall in a very tough regional," coach Anthony Beggrow said. "We had some kids give us some really great performances, and hopefully that will continue with Olivia and Luke at state."
Boys volleyball team makes progress
The boys volleyball team finished 3-19 overall and 1-13 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, but coach Dana Stearns said the players showed continued improvement.
"From start to finish, where the kids were from open gyms in winter to now has been night and day," Stearns said. "We definitely started to put the pieces together by the end of the season. The players really started to compete more."
The 10th-seeded Bears lost their Division II East Region tournament opener to seventh-seeded Eastmoor Academy 25-23, 25-13, 25-27, 25-14 on May 18 at St. Charles.
Sophomore setter Eli Gamble (honorable mention all-league) averaged 7.0 assists and 1.5 aces per game, and sophomore middle hitter Colton Beachley averaged 3.0 kills. Freshman outside hitter Aiden Foster averaged 1.5 aces and 2.0 kills, and sophomore outside hitter Drew Granger averaged 2.0 kills.
Sophomore middle hitter Sam Newball and freshmen Mason Clark (outside hitter), Shon Pham (libero) also played key roles, according to Stearns.