Thursday, May 24th, 2007
By Bruce Monnin
Strong start for D-III tracksters in regional track meet
  PIQUA - Though the goal of track athletes is always to do their best and try to win, at the regional track meet this often gives way to the fact that you only need to finish in the top four places to qualify for next week's state track meet. So the motto for this week can often be summed up as "Survive and advance."
Finals were contested Wednesday in the 4x800 relays and in half of the field events. Three Midwest Athletic Conference girls' relay teams and 10 MAC individuals advanced to the state track meet in Columbus.
The long jump was an auspicious event for area athletes, as Parkway's Jacob Fox and Josh Fisher finished second and third to provide the 14 points needed to give the Panther boys the lead after the first day.
But those two were topped by St. Henry's Patrick Reichert, who achieved his winning jump of 21 feet and 8.5 inches in the preliminaries and did not even attempt any more jumps in the finals.
"It (the winning jump) was good enough to make the finals, and I didn't have to jump in the finals. I was pretty proud of that," explained Reichert. "My leg was bothering me a little bit, so I decided to keep myself healthy for next week."
Although Reichert had easily qualified for state, his pride may have brought him back into the competition if his first place had been threatened.
"If someone had gone longer, I'd probably have jumped again," admitted Reichert.
The Versailles girls also took the early lead, thanks in part to their winning 4x800 relay team. Also qualifying for state in the event was the second-place team from Minster and the fourth-place New Bremen squad.
The Marion Local girls were second in the standings, receiving a big win in the shot put from Kathy Dirksen, who had a more harrowing experience in her event. For a while, it appeared she may not qualify for the state meet.
"I was scared," admitted Dirksen. "I wasn't throwing very well, and then a girl knocked me down to fifth. I was thinking it was over."
But instead of giving up, Kathy kept trying and was rewarded for her efforts with the top throw of the day.
"I went out there trying to get that fourth spot and it went a little farther than I was expecting it to."
The girls' shot put was another good event for the MAC, as not only Dirksen qualified for state, but Fort Recovery's Holly Stein finished third and Versailles' Christine Borchers fourth.
Versailles advanced one other girl to state as Megan Campbell finished fourth in the high jump.
Other state qualifiers for the boys included Fort Recovery's Matt Vagedes finishing second in the pole vault, New Bremen's Lucas Larger finishing third in the discus, and Minster's Andrew Meyer finishing fourth in the same event.
The preliminary running events were dominated by St. Henry and New Bremen. The Redskin girls advanced both the 4x200 and 4x400 relays to Friday's finals, as well as both Catie Evers and Carmen Moorman in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Not to be outdone, the Redskin boys advanced all three relay teams, Ryan Huwer in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and Michael Goettemoeller in the 300 hurdles.
New Bremen was almost as prolific. Advancing to Friday's finals were their girls' 4x200 and 4x400 relays, the boys' 4x200 relay, Bryce Bergman in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, Renee Dicke in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Olivia Bergman in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, Taylor Jones in the girls' 400-meter dash and Jeff Kremer in the boys' 400.
Other area athletes to qualify for the finals include the Minster girls' 4x100 and 4x400 relays, the Marion Local girls' 4x100 and 4x200 relays, the Marion Local boys' 4x400 relay, the Flyer's Greg Gehret in the 400-meter dash, Parkway's Marian Bevington in the 100 hurdles and Jacob Fox in both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The remaining field events and the finals of the running events will be held Friday at Piqua, with field events starting at 5 p.m. and running event finals starting at 6 p.m.
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