THE PLAINS, Ohio — Indeed, on Saturday, individuals — and one relay team — from Meigs, Gallia Academy and River Valley landed spots at or near the top of the awards podium.
That’s because four ladies from Meigs, three seniors from Gallia Academy and Isaiah Beach of River Valley advanced to the state track and field meet —each punching their tickets by placing in the top four from Saturday’s finals of the Division II Region 7 meet inside steamy Rutter Field in The Plains.
The Meigs Lady Marauders qualified for the state in two events, and sophomore standout Kassidy Betzing was largely responsible for all 17 of their points.
Betzing —who placed seventh in last season’s state meet in the girls long jump — will be making a return trip this year, having captured Saturday’s regional championship in that event.
She was last year’s regional runner-up, and this year’s district champion with a leap of 18-feet and seven inches, as she won this year’s regional title with a best jump of 18-feet, four and one-quarter inches.
Betzing and fellow sophomore Alexis Prater of Ridgewood both jumped 18-4 1/4, but Betzing benefited from her second-best jump — which was 18-feet and one-and-a-half.
Prater posted a second-best jump of one inch shy of exactly 18-feet, but Betzing boasted the tiebreaker — and thus stood atop the podium at meet’s end.
Betzing, after fouling on her initial jump of the three-jump preliminaries, jumped at least 16-feet, five-and-a-half inches on her final five attempts.
She hit her 18-1 1/2 on her second prelim try, then went 17-9 1/2, 16-5 1/2, 18-4 1/4 and finally 17-1 1/4.
But Betzing will be appearing in two state events this year.
That’s because the Lady Marauders’ 4x100m relay squad qualified for Friday’s state semifinals, finishing a strong third-place in the regional sprint.
The Maroon and Gold group of Betzing, fellow sophomore and anchor leg Taylor Swartz, and seniors Devyn Oliver and Sky Brown completed the lap dash in a fast one-hundredth of a second (49.99) shy of exactly 50 seconds.
Only the foursomes from Steubenville (49.76) and Minerva (49.96), in less than 25 one-hundredths of a second faster than the Marauders, crossed ahead of Meigs.
The top four placers in each event at the regional meet qualify for the state meet.
Betzing amassed 10 team points for winning the long jump, while the 4×100 scored six points.
Swartz, by placing eighth in the long jump with a best leap of 16-feet and nine inches on her final of her three finals jumps, scored a single point.
For Gallia Academy, senior Madi Oiler is “three-peating” to the state meet in the Division II girls 300m hurdles — after her regional runner-up performance.
Oiler — after a sixth-place finish in the state two years ago — ended up with a time of 44.53 seconds on Saturday, trailing only junior Karlie Zumbro (44.25) of John Glenn.
Gallia Academy’s boys also have a “three-peater” to the state meet —as senior Isaiah Lester returns in the 800m run.
Lester landed the regional-runner up with a time of 1:57.63, trailing only champion Kyle Clellan of Sheridan (1:57.01) — by a mere 62-hundredths of a second.
But Lester won’t be the only Blue Devil in the 800m run — as fellow senior Kaleb Crisenbery qualified in a minute and 58 seconds.
This will be Crisenbery’s first — and final — time advancing to the state as an individual.
He finished fourth at the regional after winning the district —but only trailed the champion Clellan by a second and 11-hundredths.
Tony Tonkovich of Athens was third in the event —in 1:57.75.
Also qualifying for the state for the first and final time was the senior Beach in the boys 110m high hurdles.
Beach took fourth from the difficult lane 8 in the finals, completing the distance with a time of 15.63.
Beach, and the remainder of the race finalists, benefited from Cambridge’s Blake High having a botched start in lane 6 and ultimately not even running.
The only other Ohio Valley Publishing placer on Saturday was Meigs’ boys in the 4x200m relay — as the quartet of senior Grant Adams and sophomores Jacob Perry, Cole Adams and Zach Bartrum placed sixth (1:34).
In distance events, Gallia Academy senior Mary Watts was ninth in the girls 800m run (2:24), while River Valley junior Nathaniel Abbott was 11th in the boys mile (4:44).
The top eight placers in each event in earn points.
The non-placers in field events included Meigs junior Bailey Caruthers in the boys high jump (ninth), Meigs senior Jessie Donohue in the girls discus (11th), and Gallia Academy freshman Alex Barnes in the girls long jump (15th).
Meigs junior Devon Hawley had a no-height in the boys high jump.
A complete list of results can be found at www.baumspage.com.
The Division II state track and field meet takes place on Friday and Saturday — inside Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
A complete preview on the upcoming competition will appear in Thursday’s editions of Ohio Valley Publishing.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106