Track and Field: Grove boys win, Grove girls finish second at districts

May 19—ADA — In the postseason tournament for track and field, it's all about finding ways to help athletes advance.

The Columbus Grove track-and-field program did just that at this week's Division III district meet at Ada's War Memorial Stadium.

The boys team had to fill a couple of voids due to injuries but came away with the district team title on Saturday.

Columbus Grove ended the two-day district meet with 118 points, compared to second-place Bluffton's 99 points. Carey (65) and Pandora-Gilboa (64) rounded out the top four teams in a field of 14.

On the girls side, Riverdale won the team title with 146.50 points, compared to Columbus Grove's 123 points. Coldwater (105) and Bluffton (82) rounded out the top four.

The four placers in each event at Ada's Division III district meet qualified for this coming week's Division III regional meet at Fostoria, which runs on Wednesday and Friday. Then, the top four placers in each event at the regional meet will automatically qualify for the state meet, which runs on May 30, May 31 and June 1 at the University of Dayton.

"We did some good things," longtime Columbus Grove boys head coach Chris Grothaus said. "We had some kids step up. We had to fill in for some relays. Trenton Barraza pulled his hamstring today. So, he couldn't run the 400, and we had to take him out of the four-by-one (400-meter relay) and the four-by-four (1,600 relay). We were asking kids to step up, especially in the four-by-one. We got through it. The kids ran well. So, it's nice to have depth. ... That's what has carried us. We lost probably our two best athletes this year with (Zach) Reynolds (hurdler, sprinter) and (Trenton) Barraza, but the kids stepped up and performed. We'll see where Trenton (Barraza) is this week (with his injury). Zach is a no-go.

"Today, it was just about finishing in the top four and figuring it out next week. We have some guys that are probably not as fast as Trenton (Barraza), but we have guys we can throw in there and still give ourselves a chance to get out (of regionals) in those relays. It's just one of those things that everyone goes through. We're fortunate enough to have the depth to get them out."

On the track, Columbus Grove senior Luke Ellerbrock led the way with a victory in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 34.11 seconds) and a third-place finish in the 3,200 (10:48.07).

With Saturday's warm weather, Ellerbrock quickly realized that he needed to run efficiently in both events.

"That was the plan — to survive and advance," Ellerbrock said. "The 2-mile (3,200) wasn't pretty, but I got third. And pretty much that whole race the goal wasn't to win it, but just try not to pass out, and stay in the top four. So, I did that, and I moved on.

"Today, the main reason I ran so bad was because I had that mile (1,600) before (the 3,200). The whole time in between (the two races), I was worrying about recovery. I wasn't even worrying about warming up for the 2-mile. I was just trying to recover as much as I could."

At last year's Division III state meet, Ellerbrock placed fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 9:28.12. Ellerbrock will be competing in track and cross country at the University of Findlay next school year.

Bluffton's Theo Andreas won Saturday's 3,200 (10:31.66), while Columbus Grove's Levi Bryan finished second (10:42.27).

Bryan, who has competed in cross country over the years, is in his first year of track.

"I wanted to keep up with Luke (Ellerbrock), but I felt like I got too big of a lead," Bryan said about Saturday's 3,200. "I just had to hold it. My goal for today was to try to place."

In the field events, Columbus Grove's Jarrod Holland finished second in the high jump to Arlington's Calvin Willow. Holland cleared 6 feet, 2 inches. Willow's best jump was 6-4.

Columbus Grove's Trevon Baxter won the pole vault (14-0).

On the girls side, Riverdale scored well in the mid-distance events to hold off Columbus Grove.

Columbus Grove girls head coach Abbie Norton was pleased with her team's effort.

"Everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do today," Norton said. "It just feels so good to be able to exhale a little bit, sit down and re-evaluate a little bit once again and see if we need to make moves or just stick with what we did today. I couldn't be prouder of how hard they competed. I mean, asking people to do things when they're very tired, and asking other people to fill in to help qualify a relay — that doesn't usually do it. And these girls are willing to do whatever. They're so fun to coach."

Columbus Grove's Lauryn Auchmuty stamped her ticket to the regional meet in four events.

Auchmuty finished second in the 200 (26.30 seconds), second in the pole vault (11 feet), third in the long jump (16-10.75) and was part of the winning 400-meter relay (Allison Thompson, Kendal Palte, Auchmuty, Jade Roeder).

Auchmuty hopes to not only qualify for the state meet in her individual events, but also in the 400 relay.

"We've been working on our hand-offs, trying to get those mastered," Auchmuty said about the 400 relay. "So, going into this, you're just hoping for the best. We had a good outcome, along with our other events. We've been working for this. We went (to the state meet) my freshman year and sophomore year in the four-by-one (400 relay). So, we're hoping to take it to state again."

Bluffton's Stackhouse is stacking up the wins

Last year as a sophomore, Bluffton's Griffin Stackhouse suffered a spine injury that kept him sidelined for the entire year.

This spring, Stackhouse not only managed to compete in track, but he has been nearly unbeatable.

At Saturday's finals at Ada, Stackhouse won the 100 (11.12), 200 (22.74), anchored the winning 800 relay (Gavin Bogart, Kizer Young, Carson Kruse, Stackhouse; 1:31.36) and the 400 relay (Noah Bricker, Gavin Bogart, Kizer Young, Stackhouse; 44.44).

"I got first in all four (events) today. So, it was another good day," Stackhouse said. "Last year, I was really hoping that I would just get a practice in. So, it feels good to get full meets in."

Stackhouse feels like he is primed to make a run in the postseason tournament.

"I'm feeling really good. I just have to keep it up. We have two weeks left, and we're done. My times are definitely getting better. I'm taking stretching and icing more seriously. I think it's coming along," he said.

Ada's Brown hurdling past the competition

Ada's Jackson Brown won Saturday's 110 hurdles (14.74) and was part of the 400 relay (Logan Jolliff, Trevor McGue, Brown, Gavin Oldfield) that finished second (44.99).

Last year, Brown did not make it to the Division III state meet as he finished seventh in the 110 hurdles at the regional meet.

"I put a lot of work in during the offseason. It looks like it's going to be a good year in the 110s," Brown said with a grin.

Coldwater's Zahn advanced in four events

Coldwater's Izzy Zahn won the 100 (12.16), 200 (24.31), long jump (18-11) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay (Audrey Alig, Becca Wenning, Kiersten Keller, Zahn; 4:04.96).

Last year as a sophomore, Zahn won the Division III state title in the 200 (24.39). She also placed fifth in the 100 (12.31), sixth in the long jump (17-5) and was part of the 800 relay that finished second (1:43.47).

**Complete results for the Division III district meet at Ada can be found on milesplit.oh.