COLUMBUS — Kennedi Gephart was still a bit out of breath five minutes after completing the third of four preliminary events in the Division III state track and field meet on Friday at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
But out of energy?
“I feel really good. The state atmosphere is crazy; it’s impossible to be tired,” Gephart said.
Gephart, a junior, highlighted a big day for Fort Loramie’s boys and girls squads. She qualified individually to race in two finals on Saturday and was a part of the 4×200 relay that qualified.
The relay preliminary was the first event Gephart raced in. She ran the anchor and teamed with Alyssa Wrasman, Anna Detrick and Erin Chaney and Gephart to finish seventh in 1:46.67.
“We’re really happy,” Gephart said. “I think that we can place a little higher on the podium on that tomorrow.”
Gephart finished third in the 100-meter dash preliminary in 12.50 seconds, .04 seconds behind second place and .24 behind first place. She shaved .9 seconds off her time from the regional race and said finishing third was higher than she expected.
Gephart then followed performance with her best finish of the day by finishing second in the 200 dash in 25.30. Malvern junior Zoe Moser finished first in 25.06.
“She’s a competitor and she’s flying, so we’ll see how that goes tomorrow,” Gephart said of Moser. “But it’s really exciting. Doing that in the 100 is really exciting, and hopefully I can build on that tomorrow.”
Gephart’s final event was running anchor on the 4×400 relay. She teamed with Corynn Heitkamp, Erin Chaney and Chloe Stang to finish 10th in 4:09.
Fort Loramie’s girls squad finished as district and regional runner-ups. It’ll take Herculean efforts from every athlete on Saturday to vault Fort Loramie high enough in team standings to earn a state trophy — and Gephart said they’re not worried about that, anyway.
“We’re here for the fun,” Gephart said. “A trophy would be awesome, but we’re having fun and just here for the experience.”
Fort Loramie boys finish 4th in 4×800 finals
Fort Loramie’s Gavin Schulze, Colten Gasson, Jake Rethman and Joe Ballas finished fourth in the boys 4×800 relay, which was the only track event finals to be held on Friday. The Redskins finished in 8:03.7, about a second behind third place and seven seconds behind first place.
Houston’s Tristin Freistuhler, Joseph Earl, Blake Jacobs and Ethan Knouff finished 14th 8:19.85 while Minster’s Luke Barga, Austin Felice, Brady Hoelscher and Alex Albers finished 17th in 8:21.
Minster girls finish 2nd in 4×800 finals
Minster comfortably won the girls 4×800 regional final relay at Troy High School last week but couldn’t keep up with an improved West Liberty-Salem on Friday.
Minster won the regional race in 9:20 while West Liberty-Salem was second in 9:22. The Tigers sped to a No. 1 finish on Friday in 9:19, while Minster’s Kaitlyn Albers, Ella Boate, Gwendolyn Meiring and Madeline Magoto teamed to finish second in 9:39,
Fort Loramie’s Claire Rethman, Olivia Borchers, Corynn Heitkamp and Anna Detrick finished fifth in the relay in 9:41.76 while Russia’s Ella Hoehne, Anna Fiessinger, Claire Meyer and Becca Seger teamed to finish 11th in 9:56.
Homan 4th in discus and shot put, Ayers 5th in discus
Botkins senior Grace Homan finished fourth and Houston senior Shelby Ayers finished fifth in girls shot put finals.
Homan got 133-7 on her fourth throw while Ayers was fifth after getting 130-3 on her sixth throw.
Both also competed in shot put and Homan finished fourth with a throw of 40-5.75. Ayers finished 14th with 35-1.75.
Other finals qualifiers
Several other area relays and athletes qualified for finals on Saturday.
• Fort Loramie’s Alyssa Wrasman qualified individually in 100 hurdles. She finished eighth in the 100 hurdles in 15.46, less than .1 behind ninth place.
• Botkins’ Adriana Jutte finished eighth in the 300 hurdles to qualify for Saturday’s finals. She finished in 45.52, just .1 ahead of ninth place.
• Minster’s girls 4×400 relay of Albers, Jenna Heuker Ava Grieshop and Magoto finished second in 4:02.20.
• Fort Loramie’s boys 4×400 relay of Ballas, Schulze, Rethman and Carson Moore finished seventh in 3:27.
• Lehman Catholic’s girls 4×200 relay of Ella Monnin, Rylie McIver, Olivia Monnin and Lindsey Magoteaux finished sixth in 1:46.49.
“We want to get up on the podium and get the school record,” McIver said after the race. “I thought we ran a good race today.”
“We are only a couple tenths of a second from the record,” Magoteaux said. “That is definitely a goal tomorrow.”
Field podium placers
Two area athletes earned podium finishes by finishing in the top eight in field events on Thursday.
• New Bremen’s Macy Puthoff finished fourth in girls long jump with a leap of 17-2.75.
• Fort Loramie’s Andrea Rodeheffer finished seventh in pole vault by clearing 10-6.
Several area Div. II relays and athletes qualified for finals on Saturday.
• Anna junior Hannah Shoemaker finished fifth in girls 300 hurdles in 44.19. The time is a new school record.
• Versailles girls 4×200 relay of Lucy Prakel, Kate Griesdorn, Liz Watren and Ava Moran finished eighth in 1:45.32, beating out the ninth-place team by .1 to qualify.
Piqua Daily Call sports editor Rob Kiser contributed to this report. Kiser can be reached at email@example.com.