COLUMBUS — Practicing for discus isn’t the social opportunity other sports are. Botkins senior Aleah Johnson has found that out during her high school career.
Their was no threat of loneliness on Friday. With about 30 people cheering her on in the discus area across the street from Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State, Johnson earned an individual state title.
Johnson finished first in girls discus with a throw of 137 feet, 5 inches to earn an individual state title during the Division III state track and field meet. Her throw was over six feet farther than Margaretta’s Jennifer Patrick, who finished second.
Johnson finished second in discus last year and finished second with a throw of 132-9.
“It feels so good,” Johnson said. “I’m so happy about it. …A lot of practice, a lot of time with just me and my coach. That’s what’s gotten me here today, me and my coaches.”
All Division III field finals were held Friday. Some track finals were held, along with preliminary races. The remaining track finals will be held Saturday in Columbus.
Johnson threw 133-10 on her first throw, which put her in first place after the two preliminary flights for finals.
She threw 127-1 and 130-10 on her final two throws in the preliminary, then threw 123-9 in her first throw of the final flight.
She came up with her big throw on her second try in the final flight.
“I was trying some different things to see what I could get to go out,” Johnson said. “That eventually led to what I was good with and what I knew how to do, and that’s what got me to 137.”
Johnson wasn’t the only Shelby County athlete who competed in discus. Anna senior Lenna Rowland qualified for the final flight and earned a podium finish by finishing eighth. Her best throw of the day was 121-2.
“That definitely helped me push myself,” Johnson said. “We’ve had some go-arounds, where we go back and forth. Her being here was great, having another competitor with me.”
Johnson — and her large contingent of fans — weren’t done after discus. She also qualified for state in shot put and was scheduled to begin competing in the event at 4 p.m. The event had not concluded before press time.
“It’s definitely a big crowd today,” Johnson said. “Hearing my name called right before I go into the ring definitely gives me a big boost of energy.”
Fort Loramie’s Kemper to compete in pole vault
Fort Loramie senior Gavin Kemper was scheduled to competed in the boys pole vault finals on Friday evening. The event was not complete by press deadline.
Lehman Catholic’s Franklin, Fairlawn’s Addison Swearingen qualify for finals races
Lehman Catholic senior Kiersten Franklin and Fairlawn sophomore Addison Swearingen each qualified for Saturday finals by finishing in the top nine in preliminary races on Friday.
Franklin finished first in the 100-meter dash preliminary in 12.08, edging out Margaretta’s Kenna Stimmel, who was second in 12.09. Swearingen was fourth in 12.41.
Franklin finished second in the 400 dash in 58.25 and Swearingen finished fourth in 58.43.
Franklin also finished third in the 200 dash in 25.04. She won a state title in the 200 last year.
“I had enough time between the 400 and 200 today,” Franklin said. “I am hoping to have a little more of a break Saturday. Definitely, the goal is more than one state title.”
Anna’s Richards qualifies for finals in 2 relays, 100 dash
Anna junior Justin Richards earned state final berths in multiple events.
Richards finished second in the 100 dash in 10.98. He also ran anchor on Anna’s 4×100 relay and 4×200 relay and helped the squad earn berths in finals for both events on Saturday.
The relay of Brandon Axe, Xavier McEldowney, Ben McDermott and Richards finished third in the 4×100 in 47.76. The same four finished sixth in the 4×200 in 1:31.24.
Richards was scheduled to compete in boys long jump at 4 p.m. on Friday. The event was not completed by press deadline.
Anna girls qualify for finals, Wolters reaches podium
Anna’s 4×100 relay of Tanner Spangler, Gabrielle Myers, Ashley Bertke and Kaitlyn Harris finished second in 49.64 to qualify for Saturday’s final. They were edged by Margaretta, which finished first in 49.52.
Anna senior Lauryn Wolters earned a spot on the podium by finishing eighth in long jump with a leap of 17-2.5.
Bertke was scheduled to compete in high jump at 4 p.m. The event was not completed by press deadline.
Fort Loramie’s Heitkamp reaches podium
Fort Loramie senior Riley Heitkamp earned a spot on the podium in girls pole vault. She finished seventh.
Heitkamp cleared 9-0, 9-6, 10-0 and 10-6 on her first tries. She cleared 11-0 on her third try to earn a podium spot.
Minster girls qualify for finals in 4×400 relay
Minster’s 4×400 relay of Cameo Cedarleaf, Lillian Barhorst, Keri Heckman and Taylor Roth finished fourth in 4:05.68 in Friday’s preliminary race to qualify for Saturday’s finals.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.