COLUMBUS — Hailey Thies, four-time state qualifier, capped off her decorated track career at Tri-County North with a pair of trips to the podium at the OHSAA Division III state track meet on Friday, June 1.
Thies, who owns multiple records in the the 100 hurdles, high jump and long jump, placed third in the long jump and sixth in the high jump at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
She almost didn’t make the final of the long jump, an event she just took up midway through her junior year.
She was sitting in 10th place with one jump left in the preliminaries. The top nine advanced to the final.
But in her final attempt, she soared into second place with a jump of 17 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
“In my mind I was thinking I have to be aggressive and I have to really push it on this last jump,” Thies said after receiving her medal. “It (could have been) my last jump of my senior year. A lasting mark I wanted to leave here and I went out with a bang. I’m really excited. It’s just been a really exciting journey. I’m just really thankful and blessed that I have coaches who push me and encourage me to succeed.”
She stayed in that spot until the final round of the finals, when she was bumped to third.
“She needed a good jump to get there,” North assistant coach Mark Booso said. “I think Hailey is probably one of the best athletes to come out of North. Maybe even out of Preble County. She’s a very gritty young lady and she works hard to get there.
Last year Thies placed fifth in the 100 hurdles, which was the highest placing for a North athlete in years at the state meet.
“She thrives under pressure. When the pressure becomes greater she does better,” Booso said.
Later in the day, Thies and the other had to endure a long weather delay before completing the high jump.
She missed her first attempt at 4-10, but cleared the height on her second jump. She easily cleared 5-feet, before mother nature intervened and forced a nearly 90 minutes delay.
When the competition resumed Thies cleared 5-2 on her first attempt. She missed her next three attempts at 5-4 to finish in a sixth place tie.
“I’m not disappointed with today at all, honestly,” she said. “It’s kind of nostalgic. I started my state track career here and ended it her.”
Although she didn’t reach her height from a week ago, she was still happy with her showing.
“I mean with the rain and I ended up changing spikes in the middle of my jumps I wasn’t disappointed with it at all,” she said. “Overall, I think all of us overcame the adversity well. Some of us better than others.”
Thies qualified for state as freshman in the high jump and finished 13th. As sophomore, she advanced to state in the 100 hurdles, where she finished 12th.
As a junior, she was fifth in the 100 hurdles and she closed out her career with two events at state.
“It means so much to me that I can honor my school and honor my amazing coaches, my parents and all the hard work that everyone has put into my career,” she said.”I’m just so blessed to have this opportunity. I’m just excited to be here. It’s a good life, honestly. I couldn’t have asked for more out of my high school career.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH