The final meet of Ariana Coleman's career with the Canal Winchester High School girls track and field team happened to be her first Division I state meet, but the senior swore she wasn't nervous as she competed in the long jump.
"I was excited," Coleman said, acknowledging she was using the meet to both finish high school on a high note and prepare for college competition at Heidelberg.
Coleman remained consistent June 1 at Ohio State, jumping 18 feet, 9 1/2 inches on her third attempt to finish second behind Mentor's Paige Floriea, who won with a stadium-record 19-9 3/4.
"This was my first state meet. I'm happy," Coleman said. "I feel like I have to be a better athlete and I have four more years left, so (my high school career) really helped with that."
Coleman exceeded her previous personal best by 3 1/2 inches.
She began the season with a 15-8 in the Newark Invitational on March 30 but consistently hit 18 feet or better during the past month, including a meet-record 18-6 at the OCC-Capital Division meet May 11 at Groveport and 18-5 1/2 to win the district 1 meet that concluded May 18 at Hilliard Darby.
Coleman's state performance earned the Indians eight points and a tie for 24th place behind champion Liberty Township Lakota East (65) as 68 teams scored.
While Coleman was the girls team's only state representative, the boys team advanced both of its individual qualifiers and both relays to the finals June 1.
Sophomore Korbin Martino finished third in the 400 meters (47.16 seconds) and was on the fifth-place 1,600 relay (3:19.13) with seniors Will Butler and Nathan Simons and freshman Dylan Randall and the seventh-place 800 relay (1:27.57) with senior Gibson Cornett, Randall and Simons.
Cornett is a Mount Union recruit.
Martino's 400 time is the fastest among sophomores in the nation, according to MileSplit.com, but he admitted disappointment at not winning. He had the fastest qualifying time at 47.3, but finished behind Thomas Worthington freshman Justin Braun (46.76) and Huber Heights Wayne senior Zarik Brown (46.95).
"I'm not too happy. Coming in, I was the top seed and you can't get complacent," Martino said. "It's been a great season so far, but it's definitely not the outcome I wanted. Third place isn't bad, there's nothing disrespectful about that, but it's not what I wanted.
"Last year, there was a fire lit inside me here because of getting knocked out early in the prelims (finishing 12th). I'm happy I'm here, but I'm definitely not done."
Also at state, Simons placed fifth in the 200 (22.16). He was among a tight pack that saw the third- through fifth-place runners separated by just .04 of a second. Central's Denzell Feagin won in 21.44.
"I'm not in 100 percent shape, so to come out and do this feels very good. I can't really be mad at this performance," Simons said. "It was just all about coming out here and giving everything I had. It's one thing making it here; it's another thing making it here as a senior, knowing you're never going to have that chance again. That's when you know you have to get it done."
Canal Winchester finished 10th (17) at state behind champion Pickerington Central (87) as 78 teams scored. The Tigers won their second consecutive team title.
Other runners eligible to return for the boys team, which won the OCC-Capital Division championship, include juniors Drew Kotwis (distance) and Tyler Toledo (pole vault, sprints) and freshman Stephan Byrd (sprints).
Three-quarters of the girls team's regional-qualifying 1,600 relay are expected to return in juniors Anaya Edwards and Angela Postage and sophomore Allena Klamorick. Klamorick also qualified for regional in the 800 and was OCC-Capital champion in the 400.
Others eligible to return include juniors Jaedyn Johnson (jumps, sprints) and Cassie Kolonchuk (distance) and sophomore Samantha Smith, who won the league championship in the pole vault.