By Gary R. Rasberry
The chilly weather didn't hinder the Celina track and field teams as they hosted five other Western Buckeye League teams at the Celina Invitational on Saturday.
The competition for the boys and girls team titles was solid, with the Runnin' Women coming up big with a team title victory with 130 points, edging out Ottawa-Glandorf down the stretch.
For the Celina boys, some big efforts helped Celina to a second-place showing with 132 points with Defiance capturing the title with 148 points.
The Celina girls won just four events on the day -- O-G took five events -- but the depth showed through scoring in 16 of the 17 events and at least four points in those events. The Titans did not score in four events.
"Very competitive field, especially for the girls," said Celina head coach Dan Otten. "Bath had a lot of its good athletes out, but the top teams in the league were here, we were missing only Van Wert, St. Marys, Kenton and Shawnee. ... This is a very competitive first meet for both the boys and girls." Leading the way for Celina was Jenna Schmitmeyer, who captured the 200- and 400-meter dashes. Eryn Langenkamp also came up with a win in the long jump with the 1,600 relay team putting an exclamation mark on the meet with a win after first place was already locked up for the Runnin' Women.
Celina also got big efforts that were not wins from others. Amanda Smith finished second in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800 while Melissa Roth took third in the 3,200. Allison Stammen added a pair of top-four finishes in the throwing events.
"Katie Hauge, the backup hurdler, had two personal bests in her events," said Otten of Hauge, who had a fourth in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300. "Cayla Hellwarth tied the school record in the pole vault in her first time out (at 8-6). Everyone contributed."
For the boys, some great days came about. Erik Chapin won the high jump with a 6-5 effort while also taking first in the 110 hurdles.
"He's in four individual events now," said Otten. "That was his highest ever in the high jump. He never jumped that high outdoors. When he went to state, he went 6-4. Indoors, he went 6-6 maybe. He didn't even miss, he just stopped. His long jump went over 20 feet (good for second place). High hurdles, his best ever. He had a great day."
Another senior, Jeremy Buening, swept the throwing events, taking the discus with a top effort of 138-3 and added the shot put with a top throw of 44-11.
"He had his two best efforts," said Otten. "In the shot put, (it) was by probably three feet. In the discus, it was six feet."
The other Bulldog win came from senior Shawn Caruso. Caruso, who lost the 1,600 to Defiance distance standout Darren Flickinger, came back to beat Garrren Leatherman down the stretch to win the 800 run.
"(Caruso) lost the 1,600 to Flickinger, who's a state level runner, and ran a personal best by a ton," said Otten. "He came back and gutted it out in the 800.
"For us to score 120 points against these teams, that will get them up and keep them excited all year."
Celina returns to dual action on Thursday at Kenton, then returns to Kenton on Saturday for the Kenton Relays.