BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
OAK HARBOR — After missing out on winning a district title two years ago, Oak Harbor left nothing to chance this time around, winning a Division II district championship in convincing fashion.
The Rocket girls finished first with 154.5 points, well ahead of Perkins, which came in second in the 13-team field with 128 points. Port Clinton finished seventh with 27 points.
Oak Harbor saw 14 athletes in 15 events qualify for regionals.
Amelia Mizelle won two events — the 100-meter hurdles (15.65) and the 300 hurdles (47.69) — Elayna Krupp won the 100 in 12.58, Logan Wagner was first in the 800 (2:21.12) and teammate Skyler Turner was third (2:27.11) and Emma Zibbel won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 3 inches and teammate Ava Grieger was fourth at 4-10.00.
Emily Haar was second in the 400 in 59.05 and teammate Abby Below came in fourth in 1:01.09 while Bailey Dusseau was second in the 3200 with a time of 12:59.85. Kaitlin Paul was third in the pole vault with a jump of 9-00.00 and Madison McKitrick was third in the long jump with a leap of 17-00.00. Madison Elmes was fourth in the discus (110-09) and Rylee McKitrick was fourth in the 200 in 27.12.
Port Clinton’s Maddie Wiechman was fourth in the 1600 with a time of 5:39.73 and also took fourth in the 3200 in 13:18.36
“I’m really impressed. One thing that’s always tough is after an SBC meet, you put so much energy into it and you wonder how they’ll respond,” said Oak Harbor coach John McKitrick. “They did a great job in wanting to do well, and that’s not always the case. Sometimes the kids get worn down after the SBC meet, and they’re looking for the season to be over, but that hasn’t happened. I think we qualified multiple athletes in the high jump, 400 and 800.”
McKitrick had high praise for Wagner, who won the 800.
I think Logan Wagner was probably the one who elevated her performance so much. The middle distance was lacking early in the season,” said McKitrick. “She changed her approach and worked on pacing, and dropped about 10 seconds in the 800, and she ran her best time in the 400 in the 4×400 relay. What she did on Saturday was unforeseen by me.”
All four Rocket relays qualified for regionals with two of them finishing first. The 4×100 relay team of Mizelle, Krupp, Paige Clune and Rylee McKitrick won in 49.69 and the Port Clinton quartet of Gabbi Porter, Rebekah Nehls, Claudia Gillum and Gracie Rohrer was third in 51.34. Oak Harbor 4×200 relay team of Clune, Haar, Krupp and Rylee McKitrick won in 1:45.38, the 4×400 quartet of Wagner, Krupp, Below, Haar was second in 4:05.07 and the 4×800 team of Dusseau, Wagner, Marissa Vapes and Skyler Turner was third in 10:14.41.
Now the Rockets head to Lexington for the regional meet.
“The goal is to get as many kids to state as possible. You know what kids have a legitimate shot at state. Your younger kids, they’re just coming into their own — we’ve got two groups of freshman with the sophomores and the freshman class. The true freshmen are starting to figure things out. It’s kind of a blessing that they had the opportunity to share this together. Hopefully this is something that they can take to regionals,” said McKitrick. “It’s more than just qualifying kids to state, it’s about getting these kids ready mentally. A little bit of success can fuel you for 2-3 years. A trip to Lexington will fuel your first for next year.”
The Perkins boys team won the Div. II district title with 159.5 points, followed by Oak Harbor, which had 70 points, just ahead of Rossford, which finished with 69. Port Clinton finished 11th with 21 points.
“I’m very, very happy that the boys team is coming into their own at the end of the season. They’ve really taken ownership and pride in what has happened in 2017, 2018, and 2019, having relays be regional qualifiers. Hopefully state qualifiers and state placers, that’s the ultimate goal,” said Oak Harbor coach Andy Augsburger.
“This senior group has fought after not having a season last year. They keep the team going in the right direction. We took some people out of events for the relays. It was a tough decision, but I think we maximized for the relays. The boys came together. I’m very proud of them.”
Four Rockets and one Redskin qualified for regionals. Eli Sherman won the 800 (2:01.36), Owen Miller was second in the 400 (52.34), Isiah Miller was third in the 300 hurdles (39.71) and Port Clinton’s Kieran Mackey was fourth (41.73) while Will Rahm was fourth in the pole vault (11-00.00).
Four Oak Harbor relays and one Port Clinton relay advanced to regionals.
The 4×100 quartet of Gannon Duty, Hayden Buhro, Nick Wirkner and Isiah Miller took second in 43.48 and Port Clinton’s team of Mackey, Landon Witte, Garrett Skoufos, Colton Yarbrough were third in 44.10. The 4×200 team of Buhro,Wyatt Miller, Hayden Hower and Owen Miller was third in 1:31.65, the 4×400 quartet of Sherman, Buhro, Owen Miller and Isiah Miller were third in 3:31.36 and Sherman teamed with Brady Walleman, T.J. Hallett and Max Hallett-Szymanski to finish third in the 4×800 in 8:29.48.
“Isiah Miller, without a doubt, being in the 4×100, 4×200 and the 4×400 and the open 300. Owen Miller used to run the 300 hurdles, we decided to put him in the open 400, and he had the fastest qualifying time of the prelims,” said Augsburger. “I’m super proud of my 4×800 team — Eli Sherman was part of that, as was Brady Walleman, a senior, Max Hallett-Szymanski, a senior, and T.J. Hallett. This is the first time in my coaching career to get my 4×800 to regionals. That’s something we’ve been working on for 3-4 years. We faced fifth, I think, in 2017, 2018 and 2019. To have a 4×800 relay at regionals is a big deal.
“I’m super proud of our guys this year, I was just talking about all the small things that had to come together for the district meet. We won the district by one point. Egan Bolander getting a point in the discus and Alex Mettie placing fifth in discus, Max Hallett-Szymanski placing sixth in the long jump and eighth in the high jump, Nathan Noble in the 400 was seventh, T.J. Hallett placing fifth in the mile; he hasn’t run the mile much. All the small things were important. To score 70 and be district runner-up, we needed everyone to come together. I was really happy about that, we haven’t been district runner-up since ’15.
The sustained success of the program is due to the efforts of athletes and the coaching staff, but also to the community.
“The track and field community, the atmosphere was great. I appreciate the Oak Harbor community,” said Augsburger. “I appreciate the support we’ve gotten all year.”