By Yaneek Smith, Beacon Contributor
Oak Harbor track star Peyton Bloomer had her fine high school athletic career finish at its summit, winning the Division II high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 5 inches at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Oak Harbor senior had placed in her two previous trips to the state tournament. A third time was ultimately the charm. As a team, the Rockets finished in 24th place with 10 points. Indian Hill ran away with the title, scoring 43 points. The boys team, meanwhile, also finished in 24th place, scoring nine points. Shelby won the DII championship with 57 points.
Bloomer credited her offseason commitment to getting stronger as one of the reasons she was able to reach new heights.
“One (reason for my improvement) would definitely be my work in the weight room over the winter. I got a lot stronger this year. I (also) had the mindset of it being my senior year,” said Bloomer.
“I think my sophomore and junior years having the first- and second-place girls in state being part of my district and region helped me prepare for (the state tournament).”
Oak Harbor Coach John McKitrick was pleased with Bloomer’s performance.
“She’s my first state champion in 21 years of coaching. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s put in a lot of time in the weight room,” said McKitrick. “She found herself in a good position. I’m extremely happy for her. She was a regional champion and now a state champion. That’s a fantastic finish to a stellar career.”
Bloomer enjoyed sharing the reward with her teammates.
“That’s probably just as important as my individual event. I try and take the biggest leadership role as I can,” she said. “It makes for a better experience than if I went down myself.”
Bloomer is also a stellar volleyball player, and will continue her career at Cleveland State University. She was a four-time, all-Ohioan for her efforts and stands fifth all-time in the state for kills.
She wasn’t the only Rocket to place. Teammate Emma Zibbel finished ninth in the high jump with a leap of 5-02, Emily Wolf was ninth in the discus (125-07) and 17th in the shot put (34-11), Abby Below placed 12th in the 400 (59.82), Elayna Krupp was 15th in the 100 (12.96) and Hope Sievert was 17th in the 800 (2:28.13).
Two relays — the 4×100 and the 4×400 — fell just short of qualifying for the finals. The 4×400 of Below, Sievert, Krupp and Emily Haar finished 10th in 4:04.30, missing out on the finals by 0.18 of a second. And the 4×100 relay of Krupp, Sophia Eli, Hannah Schulte and Paige Clune were 12th in 50.12.
On the boys’ side, Brandon Elmes led the way for the Rockets.
He was fifth in the 300 hurdles, finishing in 38.76, 11th in the 110 hurdles in 15.12 and was part of the the 4×100 relay team (Elmes, Ajay Riechman, Tyler May, Aidan Barton) that finished fourth in 42.76. The 4×200 relay quartet of Riechman, Barton, May and Nick Pfeiffer was 10th in 1:29.90, falling just short of qualifying for the final by 0.04 of a second. The 4×400 relay team of Pfeiffer, May, Riechman and Marcus Hartlage finished 15th in 3:29.51.
“I think it’s been an amazing season to win the SBC and get so many people down to Columbus,” said Oak Harbor coach Andy Augsburger. “I think we placed first in six invitationals. We have a lot of freshman and underclassmen who lettered this year. That came under the leadership of our juniors and seniors who helped younger athletes realize it is a process.
“Last year, if our 4×100 relay had run a 42.76 last year, we’d have been state champions,” said Augsburger.
Augsburger was especially pleased with the performance of Elmes, who has come a long way since he was a freshman.
“Brandon Elmes broke a school record in the 300 hurdles. One of Brandon’s goals was he wanted to break that school record, (and) broke the school record with the 4×100 relay team,” said Augsburger.
“Being sixth in our region, I don’t think anyone expected our 4×100 relay was supposed to be there. But we knew what we were capable of doing,” said Elmes. “We finished fourth in state and smashed the school record. I couldn’t be any happier. I also had to focus on the 300 hurdles and ran my personal best and broke the school record.”
“I just want to say thank you to the community, the parents and our boosters. That was a great sendoff when we went to Columbus,” said Augsburger. “The coaching staff has been great. The community at Oak Harbor and B-C-S is top notch. I really appreciate them.”