Sunday, June 04, 2000

Ohio boys track roundup

La Salle's Ward sets 3,200 mark

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DAYTON — Three years of frustration ended for LaSalle senior Steve Padgett on Saturday at the state track meet at Welcome Stadium.

        Making a first-ever appearance in the big show, Padgett came away with the Division I 3200 meter state championship, covering the distance in a meet record 9:00.97.

        “I would have liked to go under nine minutes but no one pushed me,” Padgett said. “I ran the entire race by myself.”

        Padgett and defending Division I state champion Mason Ward from Colerain were Cincinnati's only individual winners along with St. Xavier's 3200 (Friday) and Middletown's 1600 meter relay teams.

        Padgett appeared on target to break nine minutes after covering the first mile in 4:25. But, the lack of pressure from opponents took its toll.

        “I feel I redeemed myself today,” Padgett said. “I was involved in a car wreck on the ride to the regional my sophomore year and last year I sat out the entire season with a stress facture in the foot.”

        The outcome was never in doubt after Padgett sprinted into a 15-meter lead in front of second-place Andy Smith from Hudson. As the race went on, Smith couldn't keep pace as Padgett steadily pulled away.

        “I read on the Internet this week that Smith was doing a lot of smack talking about how he was going to beat me,” Padgett said. “The talk motivated me, and that's why I didn't want it to be close.”

        WARD WINS: No pre-race strategy turned out to be the best strategy for Ward, who ran 4:11.73 in winning the 1600 meter state championship.

        “Jerry (Claunch, Lakota East) scared me last week at the regional and I was worried about him today,” Ward said. “Every strategy I could see Jerry catching me.”

        As it turned out, Ward went out slower than usual with four competitors, including Claunch, staying close. At the 800 meter mark, Ward went into a sprint.

        “We ran the first 800 in 2:11 which is horrible and it scared me,” Ward said. “I've never gone into a sprint with 800 meters left. I looked back with 300 to go to see where the other runners were behind me.”

        When Ward looked back, he had about a 20-meter lead with Claunch just beginning to make a final move. But there was no catching Ward down the stretch.

        Ward will run at Michigan next year; Padgett has signed at Michigan State.

        400 RELAY: A member of Middletown's 400 meter relay team that finished second to Huber Heights Wayne in three consecutive races, senior Gaylon Vincent felt relieved.

        “We were tired of finishing second,” Vinson said. “There was nobody who was going to catch me today.”

        Vinson teamed with sophomore Dennis Gates and Darrell Hunter, and senior Antwaun Rogers to give Middletown its first state track title since the early 1980's.

        The Middies covered the mile in 3:17.60.

        SCHREINER SECOND: The Division I 800 meter race was one of the most exciting of the day with Talawanda's Jesse Rhodenbaugh (1:54.06) edging St. Xavier's Kyle Schreiner (1:54.07) for second place.

        “I leaned at the wire and he didn't,” Rhodenbaugh said. “Next year I don't plan to run the 800. I'll probably be in the 1600 and 3200 meter races.”

        Schreiner, who led until the final 150 meters, was out to become St. Xavier's first individual state champion. On Friday, he anchored the Bombers' winning 3200 meter relay team, the first state track championship for the school.

        “I dreamed about winning a state championship,” Schreiner mumbled to himself. Yesterday I qualified in a personal best 1:52.97 but today my time was off (1:54.07.)”

        WYNN OVERTAKEN: In both the 100 and 200 meters Division III races, Lockland sophomore DeShawn Wynn led with 50 meters remaining but was overtaken.

        “I don't know what happened in the 100,” Wynn, who finished sixth last year, said. “I tried to remain loose and relaxed but I eased up. My time today (11.07) would have won last year.”

        Wynn didn't start running the 200 until this season and was happy with the finish.

        “I got off to a good start,” Wynn said. “Somehow, he caught me on the straightaway.”

        BROTHERLY LOVE: It was an emotional scene that few in the grandstand witnessed.

        After Moeller sophomore Brent Walter finished fourth in the Division I pole vault, his brother Drew, the 1999 state champion, was there to embrace his brother.

        “Drew is my role model and he has helped me a lot,” Brett Walter said. “Before I graduate, I'd like to win a state title like he did. I plan to go 15-6 or 16feet next year.

        Until the bar was elevated to 14-9, Walter had only one miss.

        “This is exciting for me,” Drew Walter said. “I qualified to state as a sophomore but didn't place. Brent is ahead of me.”

Ohio boys track results

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