Wayne wins first girls track state title in school history

Jun. 1—The Wayne High School boys and girls track teams didn't have a track for most of the season and still almost pulled off a sweep of the Division I state championships Saturday at Welcome Stadium.

The girls track team won a state championship for the first time in school history. The boys fell one point short of their third title and first since 2000.

"It's awesome," longtime coach Michael Fernandez said. "It's a combination of a lot of things this season."

The Wayne track had to be resurfaced. Where did the athletes practice?

"Everywhere," Fernandez said. "At the park, on the sideline, in the gym, on the turf until they kicked us off to do the track."

Wayne did get on Vandalia Butler's track during the week of the conference meet and trained there twice a week until the work on its own track was finished last week.

"To be able to do this at this level and throughout the whole year with the minimal resources that we have, it's an incredible feat for these young ladies," Fernandez said.

Wayne scored 46 points to beat Mason by four. Sophomore Ric'Keya White starred, winning the 110 hurdles (14.28 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (42.69).

"It's definitely a great achievement," White said. "I'm proud of myself. I wish I could have ran faster but with the headwind, you can't control it. I came here and won what I wanted to win."

White scored 20 points with two championships. Here's how Wayne scored its other 26 points:

100 (9 points): Junior Te'aira Branham-Patrick finished third (11.97), and White was sixth (12.19).

200: (9): Branham-Patrick placed third (24.55), and Bibbs placed sixth (25.04).

4x100 relay (8 points): Branham-Patrick, White, Kendall Turner and Trinity Bibbs placed second (46.87).

While the Wayne girls accepted their trophy with excitement, there was disappointment on the faces of the Wayne boys as they took the runner-up trophy because of how close they came to winning the championship.

The boys scored 29 points and lost to Elyria by one. Elyria sprinter Mateo Medina won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes to score 30 points by himself. He's one of six athletes in state history to win a state championship by himself.

The Wayne boys team won state titles in 1995 and 2000 and was state runner-up in 2002.

There were other state champions from the area crowned in D-I:

—Lebanon senior Calvin Kilgallon won the 800 (1:51.23). He finished third a year ago (1:52.73).

Kilgallon had to hold off a challenge from Olentangy's Hugh Jacobsmeyer in the final meets. He could see Jacobsmeyer trying to catch him on the big screen on the south side of the stadium.

"I didn't let that change how I did anything," Kilgallon said. "I've been the guy who has caught people at the last second. I've (chased) people down in the last meets. I know that's something you always have to be careful of. I never let that happen."

—Lakota West's Kenyon Norman, Amare Minor, Rece Mason and Joel Nimoh won the 4x100 relay (41.67).

"Did what we came to do," Norman wrote on X (Twitter). "Really doesn't feel real. First 4x1 state title in school history!! Wouldn't have wanted it to be with anyone else. ALL GLORY TO GOD."

—Troy senior Devon Strobel won the Division I state championship in the discus (181 feet, 8 inches).

"It means everything to me," Strobel said. "This has been my goal for a year now. I feel so great accomplishing it."

Strobel finished seventh last year (158-1) and entered the state meet with the best qualifying distance (182-8).

—Beavercreek's Lance Caswell, Liam Gluck, Aaden Hildebrand and Kaden Ellerbe won the last race of the day, the 4x400 relay (3:15.25). Ellerbe ran the final leg and was behind when he took the baton but raced to victory.

"We're excited," Ellerbe said. "We worked all year for this. We were second last year, and we weren't going to let that happen again."

Ellerbe, Gluck, Malachi Chapman and Ben Watson made up the relay a year ago. The team finished in 3:14.14, less than second behind St. John's Jesuit. This time, they beat a team from Moeller by less than a second.