Westerville Central High School junior Mabinty Kebe admits she wasn't feeling 100 percent entering the finals of the Division I state track and field meet June 1 at Ohio State.
Despite competing with sore legs, Kebe won the 300-meter hurdles in 42.9 seconds, edging Dublin Scioto's Folake Olujide-Ajibade (43.05) at the finish line.
"I was amazed," Kebe said. "I wasn't expecting it to come out the way it did because I wasn't feeling good going into that race. My legs were really tight and dead under me, but once I finally got to finish it was a rush of emotion."
Kebe earned the girls team's first Division I state champ-ionship. The 400 relay of Jeanetta Francy, Julia Francy, Raisa Garvin and Vanessa Hardin won Central's first state title in its first season in 2004 when it competed in Division III.
"Mabinty is a great teammate and a mature, focused student-athlete," coach Ryan Borland said. "She has worked all year toward the goal of winning the 300 (hurdles) and (June 1) she kept her composure down the homestretch with some very good hurdlers on her heels."
Kebe also finished ahead of Olujide-Ajibade in winning regional and district titles.
"It was amazing to go out and run against really good girls, really fast people and be able to push myself and accept the challenge," Kebe said. "Whenever I have challenges, that's when I perform my best because I always have to persevere (and) push to the end. The challenge helps me."
Kebe also finished 10th in the 100 hurdles (15.11) and joined senior Kendall Allen and sophomores Moriah Johnson and Skylar Themelaras on the eighth-place 400 relay (48.57).
Senior Lyssa Zepfel earned her first state titles in the seated division, winning the 400 (1:20.15) and 800 (2:54.23). She was second in the 100 (24.68).
"It feels really good," Zepfel said. "It was nice getting to race against other wheelers. I don't get to do that very often, so it was cool to get to see people that I don't get to see very often and compete with them."
Junior Kayla Jones was eighth in the 800 (2:11.41) and Allen, Johnson, Jones and freshman Taylor Hickman were ninth in the 800 relay (1:43.09). Senior Gianna Brooks tied for 15th in the pole vault (11-0) and Kebe, Johnson, Jones and sophomore Chiedza Guyo were 17th in the 1,600 relay (4:02.49).
The Warhawks tied Hilliard Davidson for 16th (12 points) behind champion Liberty Township Lakota East (65) as 68 teams scored.
The seated division results do not count toward the team standings.
Junior Rickey Hyatt Jr. led the boys team at state, finishing third in the 300 hurdles (38.15) and 13th in the long jump (20 feet, 9 1/4 inches).
"I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to make finals in the long jump," Hyatt said. "I know I could have done better, but you can't change the past, so I decided to work my hardest in the 300 hurdles. I'm just happy that I made top three. Not many people can say they're a junior and third in the state. I still have next year, so I'm really excited."
Hyatt, seniors Dymon Gainey and Tyrone Johnson and junior D.J. Johnson were 14th in the 1,600 relay (3:22.91).
The Warhawks tied for 34th (6) behind champion Pickerington Central (87) as 78 teams scored.