An event that’s not a regular part of the outdoor season played a major role in the Olentangy Orange boys track and field team capturing the championship in the state indoor meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.

The Pioneers have one of central Ohio’s top sprinters in senior Jaeschel Acheampong, but he also turned in a runner-up finish in the triple jump while senior teammate Pujith Kachana placed eighth.

The nine points earned in the event helped Orange finish with 42.5 points to edge runner-up Thomas Worthington (37) for the team title.

Gahanna earned the girls championship with 52 points.

“We knew that if everyone performed well that we’d have a shot to win it,” Pioneers coach Adam Walters said. “All the guys did a great job to hold off (Thomas’) Justin Braun and company.

“We’ve had a good jumps coach. Jaeschel had a little injury and he only jumped one time, but was winning (the triple jump) until the fifth jump. We like the triple and indoors it helps. The year the Orange girls were runners-up at (the) state (indoor meet), the girls also scored well in the triple.”

Acheampong scored in four events, including winning the long jump (23 feet, 2 3/4 inches), and Alex Kenish won the 800 meters (1 minute, 55.38 seconds) to lead the Pioneers.

Braun earned championships in the 200 (21.38) and 400 (46.77) and also ran on the first-place 1,600 relay (3:21.85).

“The triple-jump finals were just starting when we left the meet and we were a couple points ahead of (Orange), but we knew the triple jump was going to kill us,” Thomas coach Bill Darling said. “But we’re very happy to be runners-up. Justin Braun won the 200 and the 400 and ran the fastest time in the USA in the 400, so that was pretty special.”

Also in the boys meet, Pickerington North finished third (28), Gahanna was sixth (19) and Worthington Kilbourne and Westerville Central were among six teams that tied for 13th (12).

Other area champions were Dublin Jerome’s Elliott Cook in the 1,600 (4:16.73), Hilliard Darby’s Sean Carney in the 3,200 (9:18.03), New Albany’s Henry Zimmerman in the weight throw (78-1 1/2) and Gahanna’s 3,200 relay of Donovan Hight, Caleb Shovlin, Ben Towler and Riley Jackson (8:01.33).

Dublin Coffman’s Alex Dediu ran 4:16.97 in the 1,600 to finish a close second behind Cook.

Also earning runner-up finishes were Canal Winchester’s Korbin Martino in the 400 (48.61), Pickerington North’s Zemen Siyoum in the 60 hurdles (8.02), the Panthers’ 800 relay (1:30.11) and Kilbourne’s Tanner Williams in the 3,200 (9:19.53).

The Gahanna girls team won its fifth state indoor title in six seasons. The Lions were state runners-up in 2014 and last season.

Also in the girls meet, Thomas placed fifth (24), Westerville Central was sixth (23), Darby placed seventh (20) and Hilliard Davidson tied for 11th (16).

The Lions won the 1,600 relay (3:58.8) for the seventh consecutive season, with Alexis Thigpen, Amryne Chilton, M’Kaia Trent and Joi Bradley competing.

Also for Gahanna, Lacey Stringer won the shot put (42-6 1/2) and the 800 relay of Thigpen, Ayanna Stafford, Shaina Rutledge and Bradley placed second (program-record 1:42.19).

“We’re wildly excited because we were not the favorite going in,” Gahanna coach Roger Whittaker said. “We were picked to finish third. (It was) a total team effort with points coming from unexpected places. I’m so proud of this particular team.”

Other area champions were Darby’s Emma Kowalski in the weight throw (53-10 3/4) and Davidson’s 3,200 relay of Riley Ries, Sophia Hoersten, Caitlyn Jones and Lindsey Stull (9:11.17).

Also earning runner-up finishes were Westerville South’s Marissa Saunders in the 60 hurdles (8.77) and Thomas’ 3,200 relay of Lydia Miller, Morgan Edwards, Leila Boussedra and Carina Napoleon (9:20.73).

In the Division II-III girls meet, Grove City Christian’s Morgan Iverson placed second in the pole vault (12-0).


Below are area competitors who finished in the top eight in the state indoor track and field meet March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva:

Big Walnut (Division I)

Boys — Jackson Podraza: high jump (6-6, fourth); Girls — Colbi Borland: 3,200 (11:05.08, sixth)

Canal Winchester (Division I)

Boys — Korbin Martino: 200 (22.23, eighth), 400 (48.61, second); 800 relay (1:31.8, seventh)

Columbus Academy (Division II-III)

Boys — Luke Nester: 3,200 (9:46.89, fifth)

DeSales (Division I)

Girls — Raina Jackson: shot put (36-3 3/4, seventh)

Dublin Coffman (Division I)

Boys — Alex Dediu: 1,600 (4:16.97, second); 1,600 relay (3:26.03, sixth); Girls — Karlee North: pole vault (12-0, fourth)

Dublin Jerome (Division I)

Boys — Elliott Cook: 1,600 (4:16.73, first)

Dublin Scioto (Division I)

Girls — Folake Olujide-Ajibade: 60 hurdles (9.04, sixth)

Franklin Heights (Division I)

Girls — Madison Murry: 200 (25.53, sixth)

Gahanna (Division I)

Boys — Ronald Blackman: long jump (20-7 1/4, seventh); Mondra Curry: triple jump (42-5 1/4, fifth); Riley Jackson: 1,600 (4:22.67, eighth); 3,200 relay (8:01.33, first); A’che Sanchez-Baccus: shot put (52-11 1/4, seventh); Girls — Joi Bradley: 400 (58.5, sixth); Savannah Flusche: weight throw (42-9 1/2, sixth); Faith Hunter: high jump (5-2, tied for sixth); Camryn Nelson: 60 hurdles (9.05, seventh); Lacey Stringer: shot put (42-6 1/2, first), weight throw (45-1 1/2, third); Alexis Thigpen: 400 (57.34, third); 800 relay (1:42.19, second); 1,600 relay (3:58.8, first); 3,200 relay (9:36.59, seventh)

Grandview (Division II-III)

Boys — Iain McCormick: pole vault (15-0, fifth)

Grove City Christian (Division II-III)

Girls — Morgan Iverson: pole vault (12-0, second)

Hilliard Darby (Division I)

Boys — Sean Carney: 3,200 (9:18.03, first); Girls — Emma Kowalski: weight throw (53-10 3/4, first); Daniella Santos: 3,200 (10:48.44, third); Liz Silva: weight throw (43-2, fifth)

Hilliard Davidson (Division I)

Boys — Connor Ackley: 3,200 (9:21.31, fourth); Girls — Lindsey Stull: 800 (2:16.42, third); 3,200 relay (9:11.17, first)

New Albany (Division I)

Boys — Henry Zimmerman: weight throw (78-1 1/2, first)

Olentangy Berlin (Division I)

Boys — Luke Walden: pole vault (14-6, seventh)

Olentangy Orange (Division I)

Boys — Jaeschel Acheampong: 60 (6.79, third), 200 (21.62, third), long jump (23-2 3/4, first), triple jump (44-1/2, second); Pujith Kachana: triple jump (41-2, eighth); Alex Kenish: 800 (1:55.38, first); 1,600 relay (3:26.69, eighth); Girls — Noel Frye: weight throw (41-8, seventh)

Pickerington North (Division I)

Boys — Matt Duvall: 3,200 (9:20.45, third); Harper Moore: 1,600 (4:18.89, third); Zemen Siyoum: 60 hurdles (8.02, second); 800 relay (1:30.11, second); Girls — Amara Okpalaoka: triple jump (35-7 1/2, fourth)

Reynoldsburg (Division I)

Boys — Doniven Jackson: 60 (6.9, fourth)

Thomas Worthington (Division I)

Boys — Justin Braun: 200 (21.38, first), 400 (46.77, first); Zubin Jha: 3,200 (9:28.05, sixth); 800 relay (1:30.98, fifth); 1,600 relay (3:21.85, first); Girls — Lydia Miller: 1,600 (5:02, third); 3,200 relay (9:20.73, second)

Upper Arlington (Division I)

Girls — Ellen Sneed: triple jump (33-9 1/2, eighth)

Watterson (Division II-III)

Boys — Will Garey: 1,600 (4:27.26, sixth)

Westerville Central (Division I)

Boys — Rickey Hyatt: 60 hurdles (8.07, third), long jump (21-8, third); Girls — Juliet Bernard: weight throw (43-8 3/4, fourth); Kayla Jones: 800 (2:18.65, sixth); Mabinty Kebe: 60 hurdles (9.0, fourth); 800 relay (1:43.07, third); 1,600 relay (4:03.02, fifth)

Westerville South (Division I)

Girls — Marissa Saunders: 60 hurdles (8.77, second)

Worthington Christian (Division II-III)

Boys — Jake Thompson: long jump (20-9, fifth)

Worthington Kilbourne (Division I)

Boys — John Cuozzo: 3,200 (9:26.54, fifth); Tanner Williams: 3,200 (9:19.53, second)