BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
LEXINGTON — Behind great performances from Amelia Mizelle and Elayna Krupp, the Oak Harbor girls track team finished fifth at the Division II regional tournament at Lexington High School.
Gates Mills Gilmour Academy finished first with 71 points, followed by Liberty-Benton (47) and Huron and Beaumont, which tied for third with 39 points. The Rockets finished with 38 points.
Amelia Mizelle qualified for the state tournament in two events — the 100-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles — after finishing third in both. She came in at 15.63 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 47.91 in the 300 hurdles.
Teammate Elayna Krupp was third in the 100 (13.13) and was part of two relay teams that advanced. She joined with Paige Clune, Rylee McKitrick and Emily Haar to finish second in 1:46.02 in the 4×200 and was part of the the 4×400 relay that included Haar, Logan Wagner and Abby Below and came in fourth in 4:04.98, just 0.05 of a second ahead of the Columbus School for Girls for the final qualifying spot.
“Elayna qualified for state as a sophomore, and we knew she was in a good position,” said Oak Harbor coach John McKitrick. “Amelia did a really nice job in the hurdles. The hurdles are weighted at the end, and if you hit the hurdle, it’s very unforgiving; it knocks you off. She was aware of that, and thank goodness she doesn’t hit a lot of hurdles when she races.
“We were really happy with the 4×200 and the 4×400. I don’t think either relay had their best day. We had higher hopes for all of our sprint relays, but dropped the baton in the 4×100.”
The Oak Harbor 4×100 relay team consisted of Mizelle, Clune, Krupp and Rylee McKitrick, and finished eighth in 57.48.
“The 4×100 had the fastest time in the state, and we had the lead until that final handoff,” said John McKitrick. “The weather was a huge factor, they were coming into the wind, there’s the cold and the weather, and the timing couldn’t have been worse.
“It’s hard to put good back-to-back-to-back weeks together. It’s just hard for the kids to bounce back every week. SBC, districts and regionals — you don’t know how the body is going to respond. But 95% just isn’t good enough sometimes in track and field.
“The saving grace is that when we have a bad week, we follow it up with a good week. I’m hopeful that we can compete and finish with better times.”
The Rockets had a number of athletes fall just short of qualifying for state.
Wagner was seventh in the 800 (2:21.33) and Skyler Turner was 16th in 2:33.09. Madison McKitrick was seventh in the long jump with a leap of 15-08.50 and Bailey Dusseau was 13th in the 3200 in 13:13.19. Emma Zibbel was eighth in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, and teammate Ava Grieger was 10th at 40-10.00. Kaitlin Paul was 10th in the pole vault at 9-00.00, Rylee McKitrick was 12th in the 200 in 27.55, Madison Elmes finished 13th in the discus with a throw of 103-03 and Haar was 14th in the 400.
For Port Clinton, Maddie Wiechman was 11th in the 1600 in 6:06.35 and 14th in the 3200 in 13:36.74
The Port Clinton 4×100 relay team of Gabbi Porter, Rebekah Nehls, Claudia Gillum and Gracie Rohrer finished 11th in 51.72
The Oak Harbor boys track team finished 11th with 22 points. Perkins won with 77 points, followed by Columbus Bishop Patterson (47), Columbus Eastmoor Academy (46) and Bexley (42).
Eli Sherman was one of two Rockets to qualify for state, doing so in the 800. He finished 1:58.31, just 0.47 of a second ahead of Galion’s Simon Shawn. He will be joined by teammate Isiah Miller, who was fifth in the 300 hurdles in 40.10, which was good enough to earn one of the final at-large bids to the state tournament.
The 4×100 relay team of Miller, Gannon Duty, Hayden Buhro and Nick Wirkner took second in the 4×100 with a time of 43.86 while Port Clinton’s 4×100 quartet of Landon Witte, Garrett Skoufos, Kieran Mackey and Colton Yarbrough just missed out on qualifying for the finals and were ninth in 44.53. Another Rocket relay, the 4×200, which included Owen Miller, Hayden Buhro, Hayden Hower and Isiah Miller, finished fourth in 1:31.80, just 0.09 of a second ahead of Central Catholic for the final qualifying spot.
“Eli had a personal record by almost four seconds to be one of the surprises. The real big surprise was that we thought the state wouldn’t take the at-large teams. Isiah finished fifth in the 300 hurdles in 40.10. He’s worked so hard,” said Oak Harbor coach Andy Augsburger. They decided to fill the next spots with the top two remaining times — we placed in the 4×100 at state two years ago (got the at-large spot). Had we not had the at-large spots in 2019, we wouldn’t have placed.
“The 4×200 has had nine individuals that have run that relay, we’ve worked through a lot — some injuries, some things have happened, we’ve had to fill the 4×200 with many athletes. But things have come together. I’m excited to see that relay get to state, because we didn’t think that was going to happen. And I’m very proud of the 4×100, it’s the fourth time the relay has gone to state in the last four seasons. I’m very proud — we have four new individuals in the relay. It’s exciting. If you get out of our region, you have to be very, very good to do so. Our coaching staff has done an excellent job getting the kids ready.”
The 4×400 relay team of Sherman, Buhro, Owen Miller and Isiah Miller took 11th in 3:33.39. The 4×800 team of Sherman, T.J. Hallett, Max Hallett-Szymanski and Brady Walleman was 13th in 8:35.97.
Will Rahm was 13th in the pole vault (11-00.00) and Owen Miller was 14th in the 400 in 52.84. Mackey was 10th in the 300 hurdles in 41.48, taking the highest individual spot for the Redskins.