COLUMBUS — Although the finish wasn’t exactly what Twin Valley South’s boys track team was hoping for, the Panthers 4×800-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams, along with seniors Payton Gates and Troy Bowers, concluded their seasons among the top 16 in the state.
The 110th Annual Boys State Track and Field Tournament was held Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“It’s been a good year overall. You can’t take anything away from that,” South coach Richie Faber said. “County champs, Durkle, conference, district (champs). The big four we concentrated on we won all four as a team and regional runner-up. Great accomplishments there. Six guys equals what we did last year (at state), more events. We just got off to a bad start with the 4×8 today.”
The 4×800 team of Sammy Shockey, Jacob Wells, Chris Keener and Matt Hemmelgarn placed 15th in 8 minutes, 31.99 seconds in the first event on Friday.
The Panthers, who were in the top 10 of the race at the time, suffered a bad break during the first hand off between Shockey and Wells. After Wells took the baton in lane four, as he was turning to move up the track he was cutoff by the first runner from Columbus Academy, who had handed off the baton in lane two then moved in front of Wells and also cut off a couple of other runners. Wells fell to the track, but was able to get back to his feet and complete his two laps, but the damage was done and South never recovered.
Columbus Academy went on to place fifth.
The same four runners also made up the Panthers 4×400 relay team. The foursome finished 16th overall in 3:34.92.
Bowers, how competed in the 100- and 200-meters dashes failed to make the finals. He finished seventh in his heat of the 100 in 11.30 seconds.
In the 200, Bowers placed 10th overall in 22.716, just missing the finals by one spot.
Gates, coming of a regional championship, tied for 13th in the high jump, clearing 6 feet. He made his first attempt at 5-10 and missed the his first try at 6-0, before clearing that height on his second attempt. He missed on all three tries at 6-2.
“We competed well. It’s just not enough today,” Faber said. “Not quite as well as what we had planned or had hoped. It was definitely a great year overall, though. It’s been a great group to coach. Probably one of the better senior classes we’ve sent through Twin Valley South. The numbers we got here we’ve got a lot to be proud of for that.