Grandview Heights Roundup: Derek Amicon, Collin Haj Abed lead Bobcats boys at state track meet

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Grandview Heights junior Collin Haj Abed was runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles (14.94 seconds) and fourth in the long jump (21 feet, 5 3/4 inches) in the Division III state meet, which was held June 4 and 5 at Westerville North.

CORRECTION: Abbie Baxter is pictured running in the 3,200-meter relay at the Division III state meet. She was incorrectly identified in a captionan earlier version of this story.

The Grandview Heights boys track and field team had two athletes earn all-state honors in two events during the Division III state meet June 4 and 5 at Westerville North. One was building a résumé before his senior season while the other was etching his legacy with the Bobcats.

Senior Derek Amicon placed fourth in the 1,600 meters in a personal-record 4 minutes, 20.64 seconds and finished sixth in the 800 in a personal-best 1:57.56. Junior Collin Haj Abed was runner-up in the 110 hurdles (14.94) behind Donovan Duncan of Mansfield St. Peter’s (14.55) and fourth in the long jump (21 feet, 5 3/4 inches). 

Coach Brian Schoch couldn’t have been more pleased with the performances, especially after the spring sports season was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“Collin and Derek had great days and they were unique situations, especially after last year,” Schoch said. “Collin has so much experience but still little at state because of last year. To get that jump that he had with the wind in his face was great, and then he turned around and got second in the 110 hurdles. That was so impressive.

“Derek had a double-PR with his best times in the 800 and (1,600) as a senior at state. I’m particularly proud of how he came back quickly after the (1,600) to run the 800 just 55 minutes later. In that first lap (of the 800) his legs were still feeling the (1,600) a little, but he passed a lot of kids in the second lap to get (sixth).”

Amicon placed fifth in the 1,600 (4:25.18) in the 2019 state meet. Since then the Cornell recruit won the Division III state cross country title in 15:42.5 in 2019 before finishing third last fall in 15:43.4.

“I was hoping for the times to be lower and I wished I’d placed better, but I can’t be mad about two PRs,” Amicon said. “The whole team aspect in cross country and track here has been amazing. It’s helped me to learn that you work best around people that want you to be successful. It’s been a great resource for optimal improvement.”

Haj Abed qualified for state in the 110 hurdles as a freshman but entered the meet with an at-large berth. He finished 17th in a 17-runner field in 16.4.

“I was last as a freshman after hitting a hurdle,” Haj Abed said. “After having that, this was pretty good.”

Amicon also was on a pair of relays at state. He joined freshman Denison Murphy, senior Adam Bechtel and junior Riley Oller on the 14th-place 3,200 relay (9:23.98) and senior P.J. Tingler, Bechtel and freshman Tristin Pierce on the 15th-place 1,600 relay (3:32.53).

Junior Connor McCormick was 10th in the pole vault (13-0) as the Bobcats tied Africentric for sixth (21 points) behind champion Minster (41) as 63 teams scored.

Junior Abbie Baxter was on the 3,200 relay, which placed 13th (9:57.92) at state.

Senior Tayler Pierce tied for 10th in the high jump (5-0) to lead the girls team at state.

Freshman Madeline Palmisciano competed in both the 1,600 (13th, 5:21.14) and 3,200 (14th, 11:58.47). She also was on the 13th-place 3,200 relay (9:57.92) with senior Hannan Yochem, junior Abbie Baxter and sophomore Greta Tew.

Junior Sophie Andrew was 16th in the pole vault (8-0), and freshman Hayley Cook, junior Zoey Miller, Baxter and Yochem were on the 1,600 relay (18th, 4:17.22).

“Overall, we’re pretty darn pleased with how things turned out,” Schoch said. “It was awesome to have that many kids get there and experience things.

“When the crowd started to flow in, you could see that it was a big meet. They announced that (Division III) was the most attended of all three of the (state) meets. It was impressive."

The boys team also won the MSL-Ohio Division meet for its first league championship since 2017.

Haj Abed won the long jump (20-8 1/4), the 110 hurdles (14.93) and 300 hurdles (41.01). Junior Owen Billiter won the discus (127-6) and was third in the shot put (38-8 1/2), and senior Matthew Taylor was runner-up in the discus (125-5) and shot put (39-7 1/2).

Pierce was first in the high jump (5-0) and Andrew won the pole vault (8-0) for the girls.

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TRACK & FIELD

MSL-Ohio standings: Boys — Grandview (176), Bexley (109), Whitehall (105), Columbus Academy (65), Buckeye Valley (56), Worthington Christian (51), Wellington (6); Girls — Buckeye Valley (165.33), Bexley (129.33), Columbus School for Girls (106), Grandview (74), Academy (68), Worthington Christian (56), Wellington (26.33), Whitehall (14)

Seniors lost: Boys — Derek Amicon, Adam Bechtel, Connor Dobies, Mason Gastesi, Kai Isaka, Owen Mets, Henry Murphy, Roman Stryjewski, Matthew Taylor and P.J. Tingler; Girls — Tayler Pierce, Tia Thomas and Hannah Yochem

Key returnees: Boys — Owen Billiter, Collin Haj Abed, Connor McCormick, Denison Murphy, Riley Oller, Tristin Pierce; Girls — Sophie Andrew, Abbie Baxter, Hayley Cook, Zoey Miller, Madeline Palmisciano and Greta Tew

Postseason: Boys — First (118.5) at district, second (58) at regional behind Ashland Crestview (70), tied for sixth (21) at state behind champion Minster (41); Girls — Third (106) at district behind champion Mount Gilead (135), fifth (36) at regional behind champion Mount Gilead (82), did not score at state