NEWARK – Ruthie Johnson had her regional opportunity taken away from her a season ago.
To say that is motivating her is an understatement. The Fairfield Christian sophomore showed Monday she is rounding into that form.
“I was not able to run at regionals because I injured my back so bad. I am hoping this year I will be well,” said Johnson, who qualified for the Division III regional meet in the 400. “My times were like really close with the other girls. It was going to be really close, and I was going to have to run my best to go to state.”
She won her specialty Monday in a meet at Newark Catholic in a time of 1:02.9. She also was victorious in the 100 (13.4) and anchored the 800 relay (1:53.8) to a dominating win.
Johnson is a little bit behind her central Ohio competitors because she also is a standout in volleyball and basketball. She seems to be catching up by the day.
“I haven’t been running as fast this year, but hopefully by the end I will get to the pace I need to be to make it on,” said Johnson, who is hoping to break the one-minute mark in the 400 and if she does could have her in position to reach the state meet.
“A lot of the girls that I was running against train all year through indoor track, and I am a three-sport player. I kind of just go with the flow and use my athletic ability to do it.”
The Knights scored 102 points to finish runner-up to the host Green Wave. Emily Turner won the 200 (32.0), and Hannah Kumler won the 1,600 (6:12.2).
In the boys meet, junior Jacob Thompson did not win the 1,600, but he could not be happier with how Monday worked out. Facing strong competition, Thompson was able to stretch it out and close in on his personal best.
Thompson placed third in 4:50.89, trailing closely behind Lakewood’s Chris Briggs and Granville Christian’s Jeffrey Yohman. He is only three seconds off his district-placing time from a season ago.
“It was great. The past few meets, we have been at smaller meets,” Thompson said. “This one was kind of small, but it was better competition. I am usually kind of out there alone, so it was nice to have someone in front of you and pushing you. … We are pushing it hard in practice, too, so when we start winding down, our times will drop.”
The Knights will see a preview of the caliber of competition they can expect to see in the postseason the next couple weeks. On Friday, they compete in the Bloom-Carroll Invitational, and they travel to Muskingum University for a meet May 1.
“You are talking top guys in the state from everywhere,” Thompson said. “That is some great competition, and I always look forward to that every year.”
In the boys meet, the Knights scored 69 points, finishing third behind Lakewood and NC. Winners were Isaac Naayers in the 200 (23.6) and 400 (54.3) and Luke Hoover in the 800 (2:10.8).