After three whirlwind weeks of postseason action, third-year coach Brian Schoch was exhausted but exhilarated by the ride provided by his Grandview Heights High School boys and girls track and field teams.
The Bobcats concluded that trek in the Division III state meet May 31 and June 1 at Ohio State, and Schoch couldn't have been more pleased with his athletes. The boys team reached the podium in three events, and the girls squad got there in one.
In addition, both teams expect to return numerous standouts next spring.
"I know this isn't the best adjective, but this has been fun over the past few weeks," said Schoch, who also led the Bobcats from 2008-15. "The girls won (the MSL-Ohio Division) meet (May 10 at Whitehall) and both teams won district titles a week later.
"We had more at regional and at state than we ever had as long as I have been here and the kids just kept getting better as the competition moved up a notch. I look forward to seeing what we can do in the future."
Luke Lachey led the boys at state by finishing third in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches). The junior just began competing in the event in March.
"Being here with all of these talented athletes is an honor, especially since I started less than three months ago," Lachey said. "I would have been happy with the 6-foot jumps that I started with, but my form got better and I gained more confidence as the season went along. I won regional (May 22 and 24 at Fairfield Union with a program-record 6-6) and that gave me the confidence to do well here."
The boys finished 14th (16 points) at state behind champion East Canton (42) as 78 teams scored.
In the 1,600 meters, sophomore Derek Amicon finished fifth (4 minutes, 25.18 seconds) and junior Chris Miller placed seventh (4:26.06).
"It was one big group and no one wanted to go out and take the lead," Miller said. "It was exactly like in our regional meet. We worked our way up to the (front) pack and where they went, we would go. We stayed with them."
Junior Jack Kessler led off the fifth-place 1,600 relay (program-record 3:25.75) and was followed by Lachey, Miller and Amicon.
"Chris had a smart handoff to me because it was in lane 1 and I was able to blast off and that made everyone fight up to reach me," Amicon said. "Then I just kind of held on from there.
"It was a pretty big goal to be up there (on the podium). When you get up there, it shows what you really have accomplished."
Schoch was impressed by the 1,600 relay, which set the program record in three of its final four races.
"The (1,600 relay) competed like crazy and they have had a lot of unbelievable races in the last couple of weeks," he said. "There is something about good competition that brings out the best in those guys."
For the girls, who tied for 33rd (6) at state behind champion West Liberty-Salem (50) as 67 teams scored, senior Whitney Schaefer was third in the 300 hurdles (45.73).
"At the beginning I charged the first hurdle faster than I normally do and I think that helped me in the end," she said. "I usually save my energy for the final stretch, but I wanted to start ahead this time."
The girls also had all four relays compete at state. The 1,600 relay of sophomore Hannah Yochem, junior Maddy Morosky, senior Makenzie Bush and sophomore Tayler Pierce was 13th (4:11.93), and the 800 relay of Yochem, Pierce, Schaefer and Bush also was 13th (1:48.0).
Junior Jenna Richards, Morosky, Schaefer and Bush were on the 16th-place 400 relay (51.37), and senior Nina Amicon, Yochem and juniors Liza DeVere and Emma Hall comprised the 18th-place 3,200 relay (10:08.87).
Amicon also was 10th in the 1,600 in a career-best 5:16.95.
"I really would have liked to see Nina get up on the podium, but she did finish with her best time," Schoch said. "That's what everyone wants is to be able to go to state and finish with a PR."
The boys 3,200 relay also competed at state, with Miller, Derek Amicon and juniors Ravi Kumar and Luke Wallace finishing ninth (8:12.56). Freshman Collin Haj Abed was 17th in the 110 hurdles (16.4).
The Bobcats also had strong performances at regional. In addition to Lachey winning the high jump, Derek Amicon won the 1,600 (4:25.04).
Grandview won both the boys and girls team titles in the district 2 meet that concluded May 18 at Watkins Memorial. The girls also won their 10th league championship in 12 seasons.
The program loses five seniors, with the girls losing three top performers in Bush, Amicon and Schaefer.
"We're not losing a lot of seniors, but we are losing three girls in Whitney, Nina and Makenzie who did a lot for us," Schoch said. "They not only were good, but they were good in a lot of different events from distance to sprints to hurdles and field events, and they were all state qualifiers."