COLUMBUS — Lehman Catholic senior Kiersten Franklin defended her state title in the 200-meter dash and earned another gold medal during the Division III state track and field meet on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Franklin, who transferred from Troy to Lehman after her freshman season, won the Div. III 200 dash as a junior and won it again Saturday in what was her third race of the day.
“It feels really good to be a two-time state champion,” Franklin said. “I just thank God for letting me get through this and for setting (personal records).”
She started the day by winning the 100 dash in 12.05, edging out Margaretta’s Kenna Stimmel, who was second in 12.10. Franklin also edged out Stimmel in the 200 preliminary race on Friday.
“I was expecting that,” Franklin said of beating Stimmel. “I was just glad to have the chance to race against her. It pushed me more.
“… I knew I had it because I prayed before the race, thanking God for everything.”
Franklin finished second in the 400 dash in Friday’s preliminary but finished fifth in the final on Saturday in 58.31.
“I was trying to slow down so I could save my energy for the 200,” Franklin said.
Franklin said the strategy paid off, along with a longer break between the 400 and 200 compared to the 100 and 400.
She won the 200 in 24.80, about a half-second faster than Tiffin Calvert’s Leah Smith, who was second. She won the 200 in 25.42 as a junior.
Franklin said she’s going to compete in track and field collegiately for Cedarville University.
Fort Loramie’s Kemper finishes 2nd in boys pole vault
Fort Loramie senior and Army commit Gavin Kemper finished second in Div. III boys pole vault on Friday evening.
Kemper and Madison Mohawk’s Zaiden Fry batted it out for the state title. Fry, a junior, also won the title last year.
Fry cleared 13 feet, 6 inches on his first try, then 14-0 and 14-4 on his first tries. Kemper, who entered as the highest seed, cleared 14-0 and 14-4 on his first tries.
Both missed their first tries at 14-8 before clearing on their second attempt. Fry cleared 15-0 on his first attempt, but Kemper missed before making his second attempt.
Both cleared 15-4 on their first tires. Fry then missed his first attempt at 15-8 before clearing it on his second try, while Kemper cleared on his first try to gain the upper hand.
But Kemper missed his first three tries at 16-0. Fry missed his first two tries but made it over cleanly on his third attempt to earn the title.
“Runner-up is still pretty impressive,” Kemper said. “Gold is what I wanted, but that’s the way it works.
“Usually on my third attempt I bring everything down, and nothing different today. I jumped a bunch, sun was out, conditions were good. It just didn’t work today.”
The second-place finish caps off a tremendous season for Kemper, who earned Shelby County Athletic League male track athlete of the year honors at the league’s meet in early May.
While he only qualified for state in pole vault, he also competed 110- and 300-meter hurdles. He earned a regional berth in 110 hurdles.
“I think this year was obviously the best I’ve had,” Kemper said. “County POY was pretty fun. Hurdles didn’t work to get to state, but even just being here in anything is pretty fun.”
Kemper will attend West Point and compete collegiately for Army. He said he’s leaning toward environmental science as a major but is undecided.
As far as track and field goes, Kemper said his coach is considering having him compete in decathlon.
“So I’ll be learning some new events throughout the next four years,” Kemper said. “That’s something to look forward to. I’m always interested in learning new things, and my competitiveness will carry through to that.”
Sidney’s Guinther competes in pole vault
Sidney freshman Garrett Guinther missed his first three tries in Division I boys pole vault on Saturday afternoon and didn’t advance. He was trying to clear 13-0.
Anna relay 2nd, Schmidt 4th in two events
Anna senior distance runner Hayden Schmidt finished fourth in two events to highlight a strong day by the Rockets’ boys and girls athletes in the D-III meet on Saturday.
Schmidt finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:21.07 and finished fourth in the 3,200 in 9:23.
It caps off a strong career that included multiple cross country and track state berths.
“I was happy with it. They were both PRs,” Schmidt said. “I did get second last year in the 3,200, but this year, D-III state was way better, probably one of the best years ever. All the seniors here are awesome.”
And Reichert knows some of those competitors well, including Lima Perry’s Brady Yingst, who finished first in both the 1,600 and 3,200 run.
Schmidt, Yingst, Jackson Center junior Kellen Reichert and Allen East’s Hunter Sidle meet up at areas throughout the region and run with each other. Reichert finished sixth and Sidle finished seventh.
“We always run on the weekends together and are a tight group,” Reichert said. “We’re just really happy we all made it. They all deserve it. They’ve been putting in the work.”
Schmidt needed a late push in the 1,600 to earn a fourth-place finish.
“That guy passed me, and I did not want to get beat by that guy, especially right at the end, when it’s being (filmed),” Schmidt said. “I don’t want to watch this race and see myself getting beat right at the end.”
Schmidt, who finished second in the D-III state cross country meet boys race last November, will attend Malone and compete collegiately. He said he’s looking to major in secondary education and wants to become a teacher and coach.
“In the 1,600, two of my future teammates at Malone were competing as well, including the guy who got third, (East Canton’s) Gabe Schilling, who’s going to be my roommate,” Schmidt said. “That was cool.”
Anna junior Justin Richards finished seventh in the boys 100 dash in 11.15. Richards also finished sixth in long jump, which was held Friday evening. His best leap was 21-0.
Richards also helped two relays earn a podium finish. The 4×100 relay of Brandon Axe, Xavier McEldowney, Ben McDermott and Richards finished fourth in 43.76. The same four teamed in the 4×200 relay and finished sixth in 1:31.20.
Anna also had a girls relay earn a podium spot. The 4×100 relay of Tanner Spangler, Gabirelle Myers, Ashley Bertke and Kaitlyn Harris finished second in 49.57.
Fairlawn’s Swearingen earns 3rd, 7th-place finish
Fairlawn sophomore sprinter Addison Swearingen made her state finals debut on Saturday and performed well.
Swearingen finished seventh in the 100 dash in 12.52, then surged late to a third-place finish in the 400 dash in 57.85.
“It’s very nerve-wracking,” Swearingen said. “That 400 just freaks me out. The 100, that was tough competition. Tough competition in both. I was expecting it to be good competition, but it was tough. At home, it’s kind of just like, ‘I’m here.’ Here, I barely stick out.”
Swearingen said that tough competition helped her surge late in the 400.
“I love running against these fast runners,” Swearingen said. “It makes me feel like I can push myself. If they can do it, it makes me feel like I can do it. I love that feeling.”
Swearingen got to experience her first state trip with her older sister Abbey Swearingen. The two were a part of Fairlawn’s 4×400 relay, along with Julianna Clayton and Haley Cox, which earned a state berth. The relay finished 12th in a preliminary race Friday.
“I’m going to miss her,” Swearingen said of her older sister Abbey. “I had a breakdown the other day because I’m going to miss her next year. She really helps to calm me down at these things, helps get me through these meets.”
Swearingen said she’ll push herself harder over the next year with hopes of returning to the state meet and placing higher.
Other athletes earn medals, podium finishes
Several other area athletes earned D-III podium finishes in field events Friday evening and track events on Saturday morning.
Minster junior Taylor Roth finished first in the girls 800 run in 2:12.
Fort Loramie senior Claire Rethman wrapped up her career with a second-place finish in the girls 1,600 run in 4:58. Minster’s Margaret Hemmelgarn finished eighth in the event in 5:08.12.
Minster’s girls 4×400 relay of Cameo Cedarleaf, Lillian Barhorst, Keri Heckman and Taylor Roth finish fourth in 4:01.02.
Minster’s Joseph Slonkosky finished fourth in the boys 300 hurdles in 40.12.
Jackson Center junior Kellen Reichert finished sixth in the boys 3,200 run in 9:32.
Minster’s Alex Albers finished sixth in the boys 1,600 run in 4:22.
Fort Loramie’s Colin Gasson finished eighth in the boys 800 run in 1:57.41.
Gasson teamed with Trey Ranly, Colten Gasson and Frank Rethman in the boys 4×400 relay. The relay finished fourth in 3:26.
Lehman Catholic senior Michael McFarland finished fifth in boys discus with a throw of 170-3.
Fort Loramie’s Albers competes in seated events
Fort Loramie junior Jessica Albers competed in several seated events.
Albers finished second in shot put with a throw of 15-3.5.
She finished second in the 800 run in 3:16, fifth in the 100 dash in 23.88 and sixth in the 400 dash in 1:45.