PIQUA — Jake Rethman had just finished a demanding 3,200-meter run. The Fort Loramie junior stepped into the infield at Piqua High School, slumped just past the finish line and put his hands on his knees to catch his breath.
“It was a great time (today),” Rethman said shortly after his 3,200 victory at the Division III district track and field championships Saturday. “I actually enjoyed every second of it.”
Three weeks ago Rethman was sidelined with a soleus calf muscle injury that hurt when he planted his foot or flexed his calf. He spent the next two weeks swimming, biking and cross training in order to return for last week’s Shelby County Athletic League meet and Saturday’s district championships.
He won both, including the district title in 10:04.27 for a 9.64 second victory over Botkins senior Austin Fullenkamp. Both qualified for next week’s regional championships at Troy High School.
“I feel really strong coming back. My coaches nailed it into my head to trust my training,” Rethman said of the time off. “I think it’s more of a blessing in disguise. The drive to race has been reignited.”
Rethman was one of seven district championships won by the Redskins, propelling the boys to the Division III district team championship and the girls to a runner-up finish.
Fort Loramie’s boys scored 101 points to runner-up Covington’s 95. The Loramie girls scored 110 to finish behind West Liberty-Salem by four points.
“Fantastic day. I’m very excited,” Fort Loramie coach Kevin Wrasman said. “For the most part when we get to the district track meet we try to set up our athletes to go as far as they can. We want to get as many as we can to state so we’re not setting it up for district championships, but what comes about comes about. We were hoping for both the boys and girls to pull it off — the girls came close — but I’m very proud of all the kids.”
The top four finishers from each event advanced to next week’s regional meet at Troy.
“There’s a lot of great talent at regional but my goal is to win it and run a (personal record),” Rethman said. “I’m going to try my best. It’ll be a challenge but my ultimate goal is to make it to state.”
Fort Loramie junior Joe Ballas won the 1,600 run (4:37.75) and senior Jarrett Meyer won the long jump (21-07.25). The boys 3,200 relay team of Collin Luthman, Noah Siegel, Rethman and Ballas also won (8:13.90).
For the girls, sophomore Alyssa Wrasman won the 100 hurdles (15.59). The girls also won the 3,200 relay with Corynn Heitkamp, Danielle Eilerman, Paige Rethman and Danielle Berning (9:55.93). Wrasman, Cloe Stang, Erin Chaney and Kennedi Gephart won the 800 relay (1:47.73).
Botkins, Fairlawn, Riverside athletes qualify for regionals
Botkins junior Adriana Jutte missed out on a 100 hurdles title by 1.03 seconds to Wrasman, but claimed the 300 hurdles (47.37) to advance to regional.
“(A district title is) nice to have, but definitely making it out of each race is great,” said Jutte, who qualified for regional in both events last season. “I’m feeling really good. I did a lot of lifting over the off-season so I feel like that’s really helping me.”
Botkins junior Grace Homan won the discus (125-02) and was second in shot put (38-3.25). The Trojans qualified for regionals in the 1,600 relay as Kelsie Brumeister, Emma Koenig, Jill Greve and Jutte finished fourth in 4:15.82.
Three Fairlawn athletes qualified for regionals.
Jackson Jones qualified in three events. He was third in the 100-meter dash (11.8), third in the high jump (6-0) and fourth in the long jump (19-3). Drew Brautigam finished fourth in shot put (44-0).
Madison Huelskamp finished second in long jump with 16-2.
Riverside had several boys qualify for regionals.
Ollie Jacobs won the 100-meter dash in 11.59, while Caleb Stevens was second (11.65). Stevens won in the 200-meter dash (23.19) and Jacobs was second (23.41).
The Pirates qualified in the boys 400 relay as Kale Long, Stevens, John Zumberger and Jacobs were third in 45.52.