Athletes Punch Tickets for Columbus on First Day of Regional

Staff Writer

Athletes from Minster, New Bremen, Fort Loramie and Marion Local secured top-four finishes and spots at next weekend's OHSAA state track meet while others put themselves in position to lock up state berths on Friday with strong preliminary event finishes.

The two area distance relay teams that have dominated meets all season long did it again.

The Minster 3200 meter relay team will return to state after winning with a 9:32.2 time. The quartet of Cassie Francis, Kaitlynn Albers, Emma Watcke and Madeline Magoto was almost 13 seconds better than second-place Miami East. Minster finished second in the state in the event a year ago with two of the four members back on the relay team this year in Francis and Magoto.

The Fort Loramie boys 3200 meter relay team also captured a regional title with an 8:01.76 time. The team of Jake Rethman, Tom Ballas, Joe Ballas and Alan Holdheide returns to state, where those four finished ninth last spring.

Marion Local’s John Dircksen and Minster’s Tony Winner punched their tickets for Columbus in the discus on Wednesday. Dircksen finished second with a throw of 152 feet, five inches. Winner took fourth with a throw of 139 feet, 11 inches. Minster’s Max Prenger took sixth (138-7).

Minster’s Jordyn Heitbrink finished second in the girls high jump after clearing five feet, five inches — bettered only by Ottoville’s Brooke Mangas, who set a new Region 12 record by clearing five feet, seven inches  and already holds the state’s Division III record of five feet, 10 inches.

Fort Loramie’s Jarrett Meyer advanced with a third-place finish in the boys long jump. His jump of 10 feet, 9.25 inches on his third jump proved to be his best. St. Henry’s Collin Mescher took second (20-10).

New Bremen’s Maddy Moeller collected the fourth and final state qualifying spot in the girls shot put with a throw of 37 feet, 4.25 inches. Minster’s Savanah Luthman finished fifth with a throw of 36 feet, six inches.

Fort Loramie’s Alan Holdheide finished one spot away from returning to the state meet in the pole vault. Holdheide took fifth by clearing 13 feet.