TROY — The Twin Valley South track and field team is sending 13 individuals to the state competition this Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The boys finished third in the regional finals with 32 team points behind Spencerville (33) and regional team champion Mechanicsburg (36.) The girls’ team finished in sixth place with 33 team points as well. Minster won the girls’ overall competition with 82 points.
Team points were scored on 17 total events.
Aaron Deaton returns to state by winning the shotput competition, while finishing fourth in the discus throw. Deaton is the returning state champion in the shotput event. “You can’t throw your best every day,” Deaton said after the discus award ceremony. “I would like to — it was one of the worst numbers of the year — but I’m going to state.”
“I try to compete against myself instead of worrying about what my opponents do. I have work to do, and shouldn’t think so much and do what I need to do,” Deaton said of regional title in shotput.
Mylan Crews stood out in her efforts, earning medals in all four events she took part in. She placed second in the 100-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash. In addition, she was a part of the 4×100 and 4×200 relays which placed fifth and third respectively.
“Mylan has been very consistent all year in the 1oo,” said coach Glen Mabry. “The key for her at state will be to just relax and run. For her to qualify for state in the 200 was a great achievement for her.”
The 4×200 relay team comprised of Abby Beneke, Grace Stewart, Morgan Newhart, and Crews placed third.
“This relay team has run well all year but to cut three seconds off their time at regionals was a surprise. It would have been great to get the 4×100 relay to state, but to get both the 4×200 and 4×800 to state is tremendous for the girls,” Mabry said.
It was during the 4×800 relay that the team experienced a fright. The team raced to a solid fourth position throughout the second and third legs. The final leg was in the hands of Abby Creech, who kept a 30 meter distance between herself and the fifth and sixth runners behind her. Suddenly, with only 10 meters to go, her legs buckled underneath her, causing her to collapse six feet from the finish line. Using all of her remaining strength, she crawled past the finish line right before the anchors from Miami East and St. Henry could pass her, which would have eliminated her relay team from advancing to state.
This marks the first time in South history that a girls’ 4×800 relay team makes it to state.
The boys were up next. On Friday, they burned up the field by winning the race in 8:45.94. The second place team, Dixie was 10 seconds behind. The Panthers used a blistering pace in the first two legs to build up a lead, but Dixie and Arcanum made up some considerable distance and dropped the Panthers to second, until the final leg during which the group was able to regain the lost distance and get the win.
“It was a hot day for all of us today,” said Sammy Shockey. “We pushed through and I think we had our best day individually, including our anchor today. I’m ecstatic about going to state and I thank everyone for supporting us.”
“We’ve seen this before from this group,” Coach Richie Faber said. “The first two guys like to open up a gap and then the anchor makes a move and runs a heck of a race.”
Other competitors for South included Madison Wright, who placed sixth in the 800-meter run. Her sister Megan Wright was eighth in the 1,600-meter run. Beneke took ninth in the 100-meter high hurdles. Finally, the girls 4×100 relay team of Madison Wright, Stewart, Newhart and Crews finished fifth.
Payton Gates earned third place in the boys long jump to advance to state. He registered a jump-off with Isaiah Pritchard of Dixie, with a distance of 21 feet, 1 3/4 inches.
The state tournament will begin on Friday morning, June 3. Tickets are still available for those who wish to watch their Panthers compete.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.