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Monday, May 24th, 2010

Wildcats take team titles on home track

Division III District Track at Minster

By Bruce Monnin

New Bremen's Zach Speckman clears a hurdle in this file photo from earlier this. . .

MINSTER - It was a good day for the home team at the Division III District track meet at Minster on Saturday.
The Wildcat boys turned the tables from the previous year to score a narrow victory over New Bremen, 114-101, with fellow Midwest Athletic Conference teams from Marion Local, Delphos St. John's, Coldwater and Parkway finishing third through sixth in the team standings.
The girls' portion of the meet saw the Wildcats win by a slightly larger margin, outdistancing the runners-up from Marion Local by a score of 104.5-79.5.
The event got off to an auspicious start as the only new meet records were set during the two field events which preceded the running finals. First was the boys' high jump, where New Bremen's Caleb Williams finished second and Justin Eilerman fourth to move New Bremen close to Minster in the standings, a battle that would remain tight all day.
But the excitement that drew many fans to the high jump pit was Marion Local's Greg Schwieterman, who outjumped all of his competition by at least six inches en route to setting a new meet record at 6-8.
After being the only athlete to clear the bar at 6-4, he then was successful on his first attempt at 6-6 and also on his first try at 6-7 (which was later measured to actually be 6-7.5). This was both a personal record and a new meet mark, breaking a 14-year-old record.
The bar was then moved to 6-8 where Schwieterman missed his first two attempts. On his third and final try, he scraped the bar on the way over. It wobbled up and down by at least three inches but stayed on to give Schwieterman an even higher record.
"I thought it hit the bar with my hand, then I noticed it was still on, so I was happy," said Schwieterman. "I never thought I'd get 6-8 this year."
At the other end of the track, the Minster girls were moving out to a lead in the team competition they would not relinquish. Kayla Wuebker and Sarah Huelsman both set a new meet record in the pole vault, clearing 10-6. After several jump-off attempts to determine the winner, Wuebker finally outlasted her teammate by again clearing the same height. Huelsman could feel consolation in the fact that she set her own personal record with her vault.
Soon after the running events began, the Minster boys started their run to the team title in the 100 meters, which Sam Phlipot won with teammate Ty Whitford placing third. However, Phlipot was seen limping after the race and was taken back to the trainer's room with what was a possible cramp. Phlipot was taken out of the 800-meter relay, but his teammates rallied and qualified for the regional meet with a third-place finish.
"Coach told Oliver (Barga) and me that we needed to step up," said Whitford about the relay team handling the loss of a key member, "and we ran well."
Phlipot was able to come back to win the 200 meters while Whitford finished second, but was unable to run his usual anchor leg in the 1,600-meter relay.
Meanwhile, New Bremen was having personnel problems of its own, as Michael Travis was not feeling well and had to withdraw from the 400 meters as well as from his spot on the Cardinals' 1,600-meter relay team. This seemed to take some of the luster off of this highly-anticipated battle between two of the top relay teams in the state. With both teams missing one of their runners, it was thought they may just try to concentrate on finishing fourth or higher in order to qualify for next week's regional meet.
If that was the plan, someone forgot to tell the runners, as both teams finished within two seconds of the 11-year old meet record for the event. The two teams pulled ahead of third-place Marion Local, and it appeared the Cardinals might nip the Wildcats on the line, but Minster anchor Oliver Barga held on to win by five hundredths of a second.
"(Phlipot's absence) made me even more determined," proclaimed Barga, who had some previous experience anchoring the relay team earlier in the season. "Jacob Dirksen (Phlipot's replacement) especially ran well during that third leg, setting me up with a chance to win."
Minster's team crown was also fueled by a couple of other top-four finishers on the day, as Francis Slonkosky earned second place in the 1,600 meters and Barga finished fourth in the 800 meters.
While they finished second in the team standings, the New Bremen boys compiled five event wins on the day. Two of these came from Zach Speckman, who continued the Cardinal hurdling tradition by defeating Parkway's Hank Bevington in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
Speckman was happier with his performances this week, as he finished strong to pull away in both hurdles races.
"I made sure when I got to the last hurdle to plant and go, to get to the line first," commented Speckman on his 100-meter race. "In the 300 hurdles, I had some trouble early, but things started clicking on the homestretch."
Teammate Justin Eilerman also earned two wins on the day in the distance races, the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Eilerman went out to his usual fast start in the 1,600 meters, but finished three seconds slower than his personal best.
"I started way too fast in the mile," Eilerman admitted, so he ran slower in the 3,200 meters, until his competitors started to catch up to him. At that point he turned on the speed and earned a comfortable win.
"I heard the coaches yell that they were getting close," confirmed Eilerman about the timing of his increase in speed.
The other New Bremen win came from Dillon Webster, who complimented Thursday's performance as the anchor leg in the 4x800 meter relay with an individual win in the 800 meters. The Cardinals also benefited from a second-place finish by their 800-meter relay team.
Besides the team competition, others were just struggling to finish in the top four so they could move on to the regional meet in Troy next week.
Third-place Marion Local earned third place in both the 400- and 1,600-meter relay races to go along with Schwieterman's win in the high jump. Ben Fortkamp advanced in two events, finishing third in the 110-meter hurdles and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles. They will be joined at regionals by Niles Keller, who placed fourth in the 100 meters.
Coldwater was able to advance two of its relay teams to further tournament competition, finishing fourth in both the 400- and 800-meter relay races. Alex Gray will be joining them in Troy thanks to his third-place finish in the 800 meters.
Other area regional qualifiers included St. Henry's Ryan Goettemoeller and Parkway's Shawn Miller, who finished in second and fourth place in the 400 meters. St. Henry will also send on Dillan Schulze who finished fourth in the 3,200 meters.
Besides their 1-2 finish in the pole vault, the champion Minster girls won two other events. Maria Dahlinghaus won the 800 meters for the second consecutive year, finishing one second faster than last year. Dahlinghaus has been fighting a heel problem and switched shoes this week, which seemed to help her performance as she finished the race strong.
Also victorious was Averie Bornhorst in the 3,200 meters, who set her personal record by just one second. She also finished strong, turning in a time of 1:25 on her final lap.
"I had more energy left than I expected to have so I tried to kick it the last lap," said Bornhorst. "It worked."
Other qualifiers for the Wildcats included Jessica Albers and Hannah Butler finishing second and third in the 1,600 meters, Alyssa Kemper placing second in the 200 meters, Kayla Wuebker finishing fourth in the 300-meter hurdles and the 1,600-meter relay team finishing second to Ottoville by a mere three hundredths of a second.
Marion Local was able to finish second in the team standings without winning any events. Senior Allison Bruns was one of the leaders for the Flyers, as she finished fourth in the 100 meters and was part of the second place 800-meter relay, the third place 400-meter relay and the fourth place 1,600-meter relay team. Other top four performances by the Flyers included second place by Brianna Hess in the 100 meters, third place by Abby Schmitmeyer in the pole vault and fourth place by Rachel Hess in the 400 meters.
"I think it is pretty cool that we don't have to get the first-place finishes but still finish second as a team", mentioned Bruns as she carried the team's runner-up trophy from the track. "We went and executed the best we could and it worked out."
New Bremen advanced athletes in five events. Elaynne Speckman will be joining her brother in both hurdles events thanks to second-place finishes in the 100- and 300-meter races. Caitlin Chaney finished fourth in the 800 meters as did Kyleigh Suchland in the 200 meters. They will be joined by the 800-meter relay team, which also placed fourth.
Fort Recovery provided the final two local qualifiers on the day. Sam Tobe will be in two events next week, as she finished fourth in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. She will be joined by Holly Brunswick, who placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Additional online story on this date
COLDWATER - Two Auglaize County residents face theft charges in the wake of a traffic stop early today near a local business.
Shane P. Irish, 33, and Sara M. Devall, 22, both of 3071/2 E. Spring St., St. Marys, are incarcerated at the Mercer County Adult Detention Center on $7,500 bonds. [More]
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