COLUMBUS — Anna senior Justin Richards capped off a stellar career in the state track and field meet on Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium.
Richards finished second in the Division III boys 100-meter dash and was the anchor on two relays that earned podium finishes, including the 4×100 relay, which finished second.
“I definitely wanted first place, but it was a great race,” Richards said. “It was a fun race and very competitive. Hopefully next year at college, I’ll be able to run a little faster.”
Richards also finished seventh in boys long jump on Friday.
“It was a great experience, that’s for sure,” Richards said. “It was tough (in hot temperatures). Being sore had a factor in today, but we four seniors pulled through together. Finishing second in two events, that’s pretty great, honestly.”
Anna’s 4×200 relay of Chase Murray, Xavier McEldowney, Ben McDermott and Richards finished seventh in 1:31.20. They were back on the track in less than 30 minutes for the 4×100 relay and finished second in 43.492, just ahead of Marion Local, which finished third in 43.500.
Richards sped through his portion to lift the relay to a second-place finish.
“I was running hard for my teammates there,” Richards said. “I wanted them to get a grey medal, just like me. I wanted that for us.”
Richards, who was the Shelby County Athletic League male athlete of the year, is going to attend Ashland University.
Richards placed in all four events last year and qualified in all four events as a sophomore. The 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I think I got better each year,” Richards said. “That was my goal, just to get better.”
Swearingen earns podium spot in D-III girls 400 dash
Fairlawn junior Addison Swearingen missed the podium in the Div. III girls 100 dash but made it in the 400.
Swearingen finished ninth in the 100 dash in 12.54; she was ninth in Friday’s preliminary. After finishing fifth in the preliminary in the 400 dash, she finished fourth in Saturday’s final in 58.48.
“I definitely tried to pick it up on the first three (turns) today (in the 400), because I knew I was going to be dead (on the fourth),” Swearingen said. “I tried to run faster over there, and then kicked it in.”
Her times were slightly worse than Friday’s preliminaries or last year’s state finals, but Swearingen said she was still pleased, especially with Saturday’s temperatures being so hot.
“I didn’t get as high of a place as last year, but it’s okay,” Swearingen said. “I am still proud I was able to get here and was able to compete in two events.”
Swearingen, who was the SCAL female athlete of the year, competed against Xenia Legacy Christian’s Maddy Merritt the last three weeks. The two went head-to-head in 100, 200 and 400 dashes in both a district meet at Graham and a regional meet in Troy. Merritt finished first in all dashes at Graham, while Swearingen was second.
Merritt, a senior, finished second in the 400 dash in 56.41.
“She’s the nicest girl I’ve ever met,” Swearingen said. “She’s one of my favorite people to run with. She’s just so sweet. I would consider us friends now. She’s the nicest person ever. She has such good sportsmanship.
“… I think (competing against her) was beneficial. My times have gotten better every single week. It helped push me.”
Swearigen said she’s looking forward to the opportunity of finishing her career on a strong note next year.
“I want to come back stronger, start lifting earlier and everything,” Swearingen said.
Reichert earns podium finishes in boys 1,600 and 3,200
Jackson Center senior Kellen Reichert earned two podium finishes. He was sixth in the boys 1,600 run in 4:20 and seventh in the 3,200 run in 9:34.91.
Mann finishes 4th in girls 3,200
Botkins sophomore Alaina Mann finished fourth in the girls 3,200 run in 11:12. She also qualified for the 1,600 run but did not race in that event, which was the first of the three distance finals held Saturday.
Guinther finishes sixth in D-I boys pole vault
Sidney sophomore Garrett Guinther earned a sixth-place finish and a spot on the podium in Division I boys pole vault on Saturday.
He made his first try at 14-6, then missed three tries at 15-0.
Other area athletes compete
Several other athletes competed in Division III track finals on Saturday.
Fort Loramie sophomore Ariel Heitkamp finished seventh in the girls 300 hurdles in 46.31.
Fort Loramie’s boys 4×400 relay of Caleb Maurer, Adam Ballas, Ryan Hoelscher and Frank Rethman finished ninth in 3:34.
Minster junior Jack Grieshop finished ninth in the boys 800 run in 1:57.10 while Fort Loramie senior Frank Rethman was 11th in 1:58.06.
Versailles senior Colton Reese finished second in the boys 110 hurdles in 14.89 and seventh in the 300 hurdles in 40.07.
Minster’s girls 4×200 relay of Keri Heckman, Kylie Williams, Anna Larger and Cameo Cedarleaf finished fourth in 1:44.34. The 4×400 relay of Heckman, Cedarleaf, Ava Stammen and Taylor Roth finished fourth in 4:01.99.
Albers competes in seated events
Fort Loramie senior Jessica Albers competed in three girls seated events.
Albers was sixth in the 100 dash in 23.51, fourth in the 400 dash in 1:39 and fifth in shot put with a throw of 14-8.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.