Saturday, May 7th, 2011
By Gary R. Rasberry
Bulldogs sweep team titles
Mercer County Track Meet
  COLDWATER - Plenty of spectacular performances highlighted the second day of the 2011 Mercer County Knights of Columbus Track and Field Meet at Cavalier Stadium.
Celina dominated its way to a sweep of the high school team championships, scoring 182 points in the girls meet, 71 points ahead of runner-up Marion Local, and 159 points in the boys' meet to beat the host Cavaliers by 50.
"Ninety-nine percent of the events were good," said Celina's coach Dan Otten. "... Overall, boys discus was good (Avery Moeller winning for Celina), yesterday the pole vault. ... Brad Buxton and Andy Sutter had good days. Our relays were really good, our sprint relays and the 4x400 ran really well today. For the boys, we have to be consistent and not get anybody hurt.
"Girls, overall, were pretty solid. Hurdlers came through, relays again were pretty decent, Gina Strable in 100 and Hannah (Fleck) did her thing. Ashley Coon did well and Andrea Bell ran consistent, so did Katlin Robinson in the 3,200. That was her best (time) by 12 seconds," added Otten.
Multiple winners abounded on the day, with the majority coming on the ladies' side of the ledger.
Marion Local's Brianna Hess tuned up for a competitive Midwest Athletic Conference meet next week in Minster with a sweep of the short sprints. Hess edged ahead of Celina's Gina Strable in the 100 meters and beat Parkway's Alexis Bates by 0.57 seconds in the 200 meters. Add in running a winning leg of the 400 relay and a second in the 800 relay and Hess is ready for the MAC.
"I had a very good day. I'm excited," said Hess. "I'm very excited for my 200 (personal record). I feel I'm just improving a lot and I'm so excited for the upcoming tournament (MAC and postseason). I'm excited for the MAC meet. Looking forward to the competition."
Celina went 1-2 in the ladies' hurdles as Lexi Mills edged out teammate Lizz Carr in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. Carr did not get shut out of the win department, taking the title in the high jump.
The Bulldogs' capper of the day came from Hannah Fleck, who entered having helped Celina win a share of the 3,200 relay on Thursday. Fleck used a spectacular kick down the stretch to beat Coldwater's distance aces Christina Seas and Jill Kanney to win the 1,600 meters, then used another strong finish to slip past the Cavaliers' Veronica Bruns in the 800 meters.
The finish to a great day came in the final race for Fleck, the 1,600 relay. When she took the baton from Ashley Coon for the final lap, the Bulldogs were in second place behind Marion Local. Fleck chased down Rachel Hess on the back stretch and moved into the lead, giving Celina the win nearly 4 1/2 seconds ahead of the Flyers.
"Marion Local is a really great team. They brought it and we knew they would," said Fleck of the relay. "Our girls did everything we could and we came out to win.
"I knew I had to use the Coldwater girls to my advantage," said Fleck of the wins in the 1,600 and 800. "They always run a good race. I knew if I stuck with them, I could use it and run a good race."
The lone record set in the high school portion of the meet came in the high jump as Olivia Hemmelgarn of Marion Local and Coldwater's Brittanie Niekamp both broke the mark of 9-8 set two years ago, by hitting 10 feet. In the end, Hemmelgarn got the win based on fewer misses. Flyers' teammate Rachel Hess took the win in the 400 meters.
On the boys' side of the meet, Coldwater's Mike Seas dueled with familiar rivals in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Seas finished ahead of St. Henry's Mitchell Schulze in both events, using a strong kick down the stretch to pull away.
"They definitely do that," said Seas about how the competition helps. "You just can't come out here and slack off. You have to run hard to be with them and do your best."
Wins were a little more divided between the schools on the boys' side. Parkway picked up wins from Hank Bevington in the 110 hurdles with Phillip Schlemmer taking the 800 meters title. Ryan Goettemoeller paced the Redskins with a win in the 400 meters. Celina dominated the other sprints, with Andrew Sutter winning the 100 meters and Brad Buxton grabbing first in the 200 meters. Logan Laux caught Bevington at the finish in the 300 hurdles.
In the junior high meet, Coldwater cruised to a sweep of the team events. Marion Local's Allie Thobe picked up two record-breaker hats donated by the county councils of the Knights of Columbus. Thobe broke her record from last year in the 400 meters after breaking a 23-year old mark of 15-11 held by Celina's Jennifer Hammonds in the long jump by an inch.
Again this season, the county councils of the K of C awarded $100 book scholarships to one senior from each school. Earning the honor this season were Brad Buxton (Celina), Larissa Kohn (Coldwater), Ryan Heitkamp (Fort Recovery), Rachel Hess (Marion Local), Alexis Bates (Parkway) and Brian Reichert (St. Henry).
Conference meets are up next week. Celina will head to Van Wert for the Western Buckeye League meet on Wednesday and Friday, while Minster will host the Midwest Athletic Conference meet on Tuesday and Friday.
Additional online stories for this date
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• Coldwater, St. John's lead the way for MAC baseball title
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