Clyde freshman Paula Wollenslegel was confident she’d be going to Columbus for the state track meet this weekend because Fliers’ senior Ben Wollenslegel is her older brother.
Ben Wollenslegel was second in the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches) and long jump (21-5.75) at Division II regionals at Lexington.
Paula Wollenslegel, however, won’t be traveling as a spectator. She is the first girl in Clyde coach Mike Martin’s 23 seasons to qualify to state after a third-place finish (5-3) of her own at regionals.
“Coming to high school against 17 and 18 year olds,” Martin said. “It’s a big difference.”
So if having a freshman advance to Columbus is so atypical, what’s the story with Wollenslegel?
“Paula is a very good athlete with a good work ethic and she’s determined,” Martin said. “All that together has gotten her where she is. We were hopeful she’d get to the point she’s at because she was a 5-foot jumper in middle school. We had a feeling she’d be successful.”
Wollenslegel was middle school state high jump champ in seventh and eighth grade. She tied the state record at 5-3 in the seventh grade whereas her brother didn’t start jumping until the eighth grade.
“She has more experience,” Ben said. “When I was a freshman, she got into it (in the sixth grade). She was always around me jumping. She has a lot of potential. Making state as a freshman is not common. She’s over 5 feet, which is very good for a girl.”
Ben, of course, is pretty good too. He’s qualified to state three times.
Wollenslegel advises his teammates to get serious when their event comes this weekend and do well.
“I won’t be overwhelmed with all the people there,” he said. “I know what I need to do to prepare. I’ll try to help (my teammates) not to be nervous.”
Clyde’s Damien Coburn earned a regional championship in the long jump at 22-2.75 for a school record. Collin Rieman, who was the only boy to qualify to state as a freshman in Martin’s 23 seasons last year, was fourth in the 400.
Logan Kiser was fifth in the shot put.
Wollenslegel was serious but he didn’t do as well as he wanted at Sandusky Bay Conference championships finishing second in both hurdle events and sixth in the long jump. He and his sister each took a high jump title.
“It woke me up,” he said.
It was simply back to work as Wollenslegel also narrowly missed advancing with a fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles at regionals.
“My work ethic comes from him,” Wollenslegel said. “Always seeing him at practice and working hard made me want to. He’s a role model.
“He started me in the high jump.”
Wollenslegel is impressed with her brother’s versatility. Not all high jumpers have the speed to long jump and not all long jumpers can leap high because they can sail far.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “He’s going to state in two events and almost three. Seeing him work to get there is more amazing than getting there.
“He showed me what I had to do for my events.”
Still, freshmen normally don’t have the right combination of talent and tutelage to qualify to state regardless. Paula wanted to go to Columbus her brother’s senior year as competitors and they made it happen.
“I have surprised myself a little,” she said. “I didn’t know I’d get to state. It makes me feel better about the high jump going as a freshman.”
Wollenslegel’s confidence should continue to grow. Steve Baker, who once jumped for Martin in high school, is Clyde’s high jump coach.
“Steve’s willing to put extra time in,” Martin said. “He also coaches hurdles. The movement of steps and adjustments for take-offs, he’s there.
“Personal coaching with Steve has helped.”
The Wollenslegels are competitive, but not so much with one another. That doesn’t mean they don’t keep close tabs.
“They’re very supportive and want to see each other do well,” Martin said. “They’re also very competitive and that pushes them to achieve the best they can.
“Paula has seen how Ben’s been able to be successful and some of that has rubbed off. His work ethic and the time he puts in at practice, she’s seen that through the years and what it takes to get to the state level.”
Now, she’ll see it head under feet as she continues to raise the bar.
Division II/III state qualifiers
Gibsonburg sophomore Colleen Reynolds was Division III regional champ at Tiffin Columbian in the 100 (12.40 seconds), 200 (25.38) and 400 (57.66).
Woodmore’s Megan Pendleton was discus champ (134 feet, 10 inches). She was fifth in the shot put.
The Wildcats’ Deric Anthony was second in the 800 while Andrew Shrewsbury was second in the 200.
Reynolds’ sister Kendall was third in the 100 and 400. Kendall was fifth in the 200.
Old Fort’s Marcus Meyers was third in the 1,600.
Margaretta’s Austin Moore was third in the high jump and long jump.
Woodmore’s Michael Travis, Malachi Brown, Zach Sandwisch and Shrewsbury were third in the 4X200 relay. Shrewsbury was fourth in the 100.
St. Joseph Central Catholic’s Joey Fisher was fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Margaretta’s Trent Balduff was third in the pole vault while Beau Beechler was fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Old Fort’s Adam Alexander was fourth in the pole vault.
Lakota’s Cariss Reese was fourth in the 300 hurdles while Makayla Kiser was fourth in the pole vault.
SJCC’s Katie Blohm was fifth in the 300 hurdles.
Woodmore’s Karli Keaton was fifth in the long jump.
Gibsonburg’s girls finished second as a team.
Bellevue’s Matt Rowland was second in the 110 hurdles for the boys while Laiken Tester was second in the long jump for the girls at Division II regionals at Lexington. Rowland was regional champ in the pole vault at 15-4.
Bellevue’s Michaela Fox, Mariah McPeak, Kylie Vogel and Ericka Hosang finished third in the 4X800 relay.
Oak Harbor’s Andrea Cecil, Allie Jett, Allie Dombrowksy and Athena Eli were third in the 4X400 relay while Jett, Karis DeWalt, Sidney Allen and Eli were fourth in the 4X200 relay.
Sarah Bedell was fourth in the 300 for the Lady Red.
Jett, Dombrowsky, Allen and Cecil were fifth in the 4X100 relay for the Rockets.