Kaley Rammelsberg of the Big Walnut High School girls track and field team can call herself a three-time state qualifier, and she's also a regional champion for the first time.
The senior won the high jump in the Division I regional meet held May 22 and 24 at Pickerington North by clearing 5 feet, 6 inches.
The top four finishers in each regional event automatically advanced to the state meet held May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State. In addition, two at-large berths were awarded in each event based on time, height or distance statewide.
Rammelsberg placed 11th at state in the high jump (5-2) last season after finishing 12th (5-2) in 2017.
"The last two years, I really haven't done the best at regionals, so I'm just excited," she said. "It just put me in a good place for states."
Gahanna's Faith Hunter, last year's state runner-up in the high jump, placed second at regional. She cleared the same height as Rammelsberg but needed an additional attempt.
"Kaley had one miss at 5-6 but stayed ahead of Hunter, who made the height on her third attempt," coach Joe Evener said on the school's athletics website.
"Coach (Mike) Ryder had Kaley pass (5-7) again to 5-8. This forced the Gahanna coach (Roger Whittaker) to either jump at 5-7, placing more jumps on (Hunter's) legs or go to 5-8, with Kaley knowing she had to outjump her. They elected to jump at 5-7. Hunter missed all three times, giving Kaley the title. What a performance by Kaley."
Rammelsberg also competed in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing ninth (15.6 seconds).
Also competing at regional was junior Colbi Borland, who placed sixth in the 3,200 in a school-record 11:12.98. The previous record was 11:13.63, which Borland set at regional last season when she also finished sixth.
The second at-large state qualifier was Cincinnati Princeton's Maria Kaylor (11:00.8).
The Golden Eagles scored 13 points to finish 16th behind champion Gahanna (89) as 38 teams scored.
Junior Jackson Podraza represented the boys team at regional, finishing fifth in the high jump (6-4).
The fourth-place finisher, Mount Vernon's Cory Berg, also cleared 6-4, but did so on his first attempt. Podraza cleared the height on his third try. Austintown-Fitch's Deondre McKeever (6-4) earned the second at-large state berth, clearing the height on his first attempt.
Podraza scored four points for the Golden Eagles, who tied Eastmoor Academy for 34th behind champion Pickerington Central (101) as 42 teams scored.
Baseball team fell short in many games
The baseball team knows just how close it came to having a winning season.
The Golden Eagles finished 12-13 overall, with eight of their losses coming by one run, including five in a row in April.
"As much as baseball can be very rewarding, it can be very discouraging as well," coach Jack Schone said. "There is a very small margin of error. A bad bounce, missed signal, an error, a walk, a hit all contribute to a team's success or a team coming up short."
Big Walnut, which went 6-9 in the OCC-Capital Division and was seeded 26th in the Division I district tournament and lost 8-1 to 14th-seeded Marysville in the second round May 15, is losing 10 seniors, including seven starters.
Senior outfielder Ryne Conley batted .422 with five doubles, three triples and 18 RBI and was named first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Senior outfielder and pitcher Jakob Daniels (.338, 13 RBI) was second-team all-league, senior infielder and pitcher Carson Becker (.324, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 19 RBI) was special mention all-league and senior third baseman Nathan Lawyer (.315, 2 triples, 21 RBI) was honorable mention all-league.
On the mound, Daniels was 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA and senior Wes Coey (second-team all-league and all-district) was 2-2 with a 1.51 ERA.
Among those expected to return are two starters in junior shortstop Viktor Girodano and junior outfielder Craig Norman.
"The hard work will be when they are done with summer ball," Schone said. "What can they do for themselves from that point up to the start of next season? How will they push themselves? Who will do the pushing? We have confidence that they will be able to figure that out."
Boys lacrosse team had winning season
The boys lacrosse team won five of its last seven games to finish 12-8 overall.
Big Walnut's season ended May 15 with a 15-10 loss to third-seeded Columbus Academy in a Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal. Two days earlier, the sixth-seeded Golden Eagles cruised past 11th-seeded Bexley 17-0 in their tournament opener.
Big Walnut, which went 2-5 in the OCC-Buckeye, is losing nine seniors, including five starters in Sam Elliott (midfielder), Josh Hageman (goalkeeper), Judah Lozano (attacker), Nathan Montgomery (midfielder) and Aidan Rond (defender).
Montgomery was first-team all-league and second-team all-region and Lozano was second-team all-region.
Among those expected to return for second-year coach Michael Brunner are junior midfielder John Grumney (second-team all-region), junior defender Tyler Paul (honorable mention all-league, second-team all-region) and junior attacker Sam Metzger.
Big Walnut had finished 4-12 last season.