It’s crunch time for the area’s track and field teams.
As both the South Central Ohio League and Scioto Valley Conference meets have come and gone, each team will now focus on the postseason and the ultimate goal of qualifying for the annual OHSAA track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
This week’s 10 to Comprehend focuses on individual athletes from those teams who have dominated throughout the regular season and are right on track — see what I did there? — to be making a trip to Columbus in their near future.
•Domination. Detillion. Close enough. Unioto’s Trevor Detillion absolutely cannot be left out of any article or list of the area’s best track athletes. When the subject arises of potential state champions, he’s also at the top of that list. Detillion captured the 2014 Division II state discus title with a throw of 181-0.00, edging out Wauseon’s Noah Castle by 10 inches. He then placed seventh overall in the 2014 state shot put competition with a mark of 54-02.75. Look for those numbers have the potential to be even higher as Detillion makes his way to the 2015 state podium.
•Sticking in the same categories, Detillion’s close friendship with Zane Trace’s Walt Petzel is no secret. Petzel is expected to be making an appearance in Columbus as well as he challenges Detillion for a state discus title. Petzel’s mark of 164-02 in last year’s state discus competition was good enough for fourth place. If Petzel can be half as good as he has been all season long, he’ll be joining his friendly foe in the discus event.
•She’s a freshman, but Southeastern’s Ella Skeens has proven throughout the season that she’s not good at just basketball. Skeens has been named as a meet medalists in multiple contests, including the Ross County Meet and SVC Meet. During the Ross County Meet, Skeens won the discus event (106-01.00) and placed second in the shot put (31-10.00) while tying a 92-year meet record of 5-05.00 in the high jump event. During the SVC Meet, Skeens placed fourth in the discus throw and won both the high jump (5-05.00) and shot put (32-01.00). If everything stays on course for the youngster, Skeens could be looking at multiple league championships and trips to the state meet.
•Huntington’s Carolane Cox is not only a great sport but one of the fastest athletes in the area. Cox has been a constant in the top five finishers of the 100, 200 and 400 this year. And keeping her versatile reputation alive and well, Cox has also fared well numerous times in the long jump. While Cox has never made an appearance at the state competition level, there’s a first time for everything, and 2015 could mark her first if she runs to her potential.
•Paint Valley’s Tony Hatfield, without a doubt, has lightning-in-a-bottle-type speed. Hatfield has set multiple records this year and knows what it’s like to make a journey to Columbus — he was a 2014 state qualifier. In my opinion, when Hatfield is at his best, he’s the best sprinter in the area. That also bodes well for the Bearcats’ football team, where Hatfield uses his speed to slash and dash tacklers. I see why now.
•Speaking of the green and white, how good has Huntington’s David Shoemaker been this year? The young man has been a meet medalist several times this season, including at the Ross County Meet. At the beginning of the season, Huntington boys coach Jeff Magill commented that Shoemaker had as good of a shot as anyone to advance to the state meet. After watching him compete, I wholeheartedly agree.
•Moving on to distance running, you don’t get much better than Zane Trace’s Kim Wolfe and Unioto’s Kela Harkins. Wolfe, a future Northern Kentucky Norse, won the SVC 1,600 with a time of 5:28.84. However, she’s no stranger to the top as she’s qualified for the state track and field meet the in all three years of eligibility. Kela Harkins chooses to double up Wolfe and take part in the 3200 event — one in which she dominates each meet. Harkins, a senior, won the event at the SVC Meet (12:08.53) and ran a time of 11:25.41 in the event during 2014 state competition. Both Wolfe and Harkins will compete for state titles.
•On the boys’ side of distance, there are not many better options than Piketon’s Zack Varney or Unioto’s David Magda. Varney, a senior, and Magda, a junior, have made themselves household names when it comes to distance events. Both are past state qualifiers and both are favorites to make repeat performances in 2015.
•I’ll relay this information to you: the Unioto girls’ 4×100 — made up of Makenna Flitton, Caleah Beatty, Annie Flintroy and Mekhia Flintroy — and 4×800 — made up of Alex Evans, Haley Wright, Elena Knipp and Harkins — teams are going to be tough to beat. The Tanks won both events at the SVC Meet and the 4×1 at the Ross County Meet after setting a meet record with a time of 52.60. I’ll be stunned if both groups don’t qualify for the biggest of stages.
• Senior Spotlight: Often overshadowed by the antics of Detillion and Petzel, Adena’s Ethan Hurtt is an extraordinary in his own right. Hurtt, who placed third in the shot put at the SVC Meet and third in the discus throw continues to get better each meet. The senior has trained with both Detillion and Petzel in the past and it continues to be so much fun to cover a competition between three friends inside a competition between 10-12 teams.