GOSHEN — The Blanchester High School boys and girls track and field teams swept National Division honors Wednesday at the Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference championship meet here at Jim Brown Stadium.
But the two teams took home their championship trophies in dramatically different ways.
The boys led wire to wire, holding a 65-37 lead after the first day of competition then padding their lead with a solid performance on the track on the second day.
“We didn’t think anybody could come close to us,” BHS coach Tony Blevins said. “But you still have to worry about dropped batons or something.”
The girls, however, trailed Williamsburg after the first day but roared back for a commanding performance on the track on the second day. Still, Blevins was confident in his 10-girl contingent, eight of them he could put on the track.
“I prepared them for it,” he said. “I told them not to panic. If we had a solid day, not everything had to go our way, then we could come back and win it.”
The Ladycats comeback bid took a serious turn when Savannah Rhodes and Olivia Gundler took the top two spots in the 1,600-meter run to close the team points gap with Williamsburg to 101-78.
Emma Gundler and Alley Davis also went 1-2 in the 400-meter dash and suddenly BHS was down just three, 109-106. Blanchester took the lead, 134-131, with Mckenzie Hamm’s school-record setting win in the 800 and teammate Olivia Gundler’s third place finish. Hamm’s run of 2:28.22 broke Olivia Gundler’s mark of 2:28.96 set last season.
From there it was all about adding on as Asia Baldwin won the 200-meter dash, Rhodes won the 3,200-meter run and Hamm, Olivia Gundler, Mandy Gerlach and Emma Gundler teamed to win the 4×400-meter relay to give BHS a win in each of the final three events of the meet.
“It was little surprises,” he said. “Megan Highlander getting second in the hurdles. Then the 4×1 (relay). We had only run it once before (with that foursome). We thought we could win it but we also thought we could finish third.”
Blevins said it is only the second time this season he has put a 4×100 relay team on the track because he has just 10 athletes to utilize. This time Mandy Gerlach, Emma Gundler, Megan Highlander and Asia Baldwin clocked 54.52 and won the race by less than a second.
For the boys, Blanchester clearly outclassed the field with 169 points. The battle for second was close among the final five teams. Runnerup Clermont Northeastern had 79 points but led last-place Felicity-Franklin by just 18 points.
After holding a 28-point lead going into the running finals, Blanchester made certain there would be comebacks as Derick Bowman and Clayton Schirmer finished 1-4 in the 110-meter hurdles and the rout was on.
The Wildcats closed out the win by claiming the 4×400-meter relay in 3:37.21. Tanner Creager, Bowman, Cole Feirl and Dylan Miller made up the 4×400 team. Miller won the 400-meter dash.
The 4×100-meter relay team also finished first in 45.91 seconds and was made up of Brent Hopkins, Jacob Burden, Lucas Thacker and Dale Sturgill.
“We knew we weren’t going to have many individual champions but we were deeper than everybody else,” Blevins said of his boys squad.
Blanchester’s boys have now won eight league titles while the girls have won 13, including the last two SBAAC crowns. Blevins has coached 12 league championship teams in a combined 24 years at BHS.
May 10, 2017
SBAAC Track, Field Championship
@Goshen High School
TEAM SCORES: Blanchester 169 Clermont Northeastern 79 Georgetown 71 Williamsburg 68 Bethel-Tate 68 Felicity-Franklin 61
4×800 RELAY: 1, Bethel-Tate 8:29.94; 2, Blanchester (Tanner Creager, Cole Feirl, Tyler Holland, Ricky Davis) 8:34.25
110 HURDLES: 1, Derick Bowman (BL) 16.7; 4, Clayton Schirmer (BL) 17.31
100 DASH: 1, Jenkins (CNE) 11.56; 3, Brent Hopkins (BL) 11.82; 4, Dale Sturgill (BL) 11.90
4×200 RELAY: 1, Williamsburg 1:36.46; 2, Blanchester (Jacob Burden, Derick Bowman, Lucas Thacker, Brent Hopkins) 1:37.01
1600 RUN: 1, Coates (BT) 4:55.12; 4, Tyler Holland (BL) 5:09.66; 6, Sean Holland (BL) 5:19.48
4×100 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Brent Hopkins, Jacob Burden, Lucas Thacker, Dale Sturgill) 45.91
400 DASH: 1, Dylan Miller (BL) 53.54; 4, Cole Feirl (BL) 55.21
300 HURDLES: 1, Householder (G) 42.52; 2, Derick Bowman (BL) 44.53; 4, Clayton Schirmer (BL) 45.7
800 RUN: 1, Coates (BT) 2:01.48; 3, Tanner Creager (BL) 2:04.03; 4, Ricky Davis (BL) 2:07.82
200 DASH: 1, Perry (F) 24.04; 4, Brent Hopkins (BL) 25.47; 5, Jacob Burden (BL) 25.49
3200 RUN: 1, Coates (BT) 10:29.37; 4, Sean Holland (BL) 11;51.37; 6, Tyler Holland (BL) 12:12.51
4×400 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Tanner Creager, Derick Bowman, Cole Feirl, Dylan Miller) 3:37.21
SHOT PUT: 1, Joey Holcomb (BL) 49-10.5; 6, Matt Grogg (BL) 32-10
DISCUS: 1, Joey Holcomb (BL) 124-2; 2, Matt Grogg (BL) 109-0
LONG JUMP: 1, Doss (G) 19-10.25; 2, Jacob Burden (BL) 19-8.75; 5, Dylan Miller (BL) 17-11.75
HIGH JUMP: 1, Johnny Schirmer (BL) 5-8; 2, Dylan Miller (BL) 5-6
TEAM SCORES: Blanchester 168 Williamsburg 142 Bethel-Tate 77 Clermont Northeastern 54 Georgetown 43 Felicity-Franklin 33
4×800 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Mackenzie Hamm, Olivia Gundler, Savannah Rhodes, Alley Davis) 10:24.3
100 HURDLES: 1, Ellis (W) 17.08; 2, Megan Highlander (BL) 17.44
100 DASH: 1, Leonard (BT) 13.41; 2, Asia Baldwin (BL) 13.46; 7, Megan Highlander (BL) 14.21
4×200 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Mckenzie Hamm, Mandy Gerlach, Alley Davis, Emma Gundler) 1:54.73
1600 RUN: 1, Savannah Rhodes (BL) 5:39.83; 2, Olivia Gundler (BL) 5:56.03
4×100 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Mandy Gerlach, Emma Gundler, Megan Highlander, Asia Baldwin) 54.52
400 DASH: 1, Emma Gundler (BL) 63.46; 2, Alley Davis (BL) 64.79
300 HURDLES: 1, Asia Baldwin (BL) 51.41; 5, Mandy Gerlach (BL) 57.45
800 RUN: 1, Mckenzie Hamm (BL) 2:28.22 (BHS RECORD); 3, Olivia Gundler (BL) 2:37.2
200 DASH: 1, Asia Baldwin (BL) 28.13
3200 RUN: 1, Savannah Rhodes (BL) 12:46.68; 4, Alley Davis (BL) 14:17.25
4×400 RELAY: 1, Blanchester (Mckenzie Hamm, Olivia Gundler, Mandy Gerlach, Emma Gundler) 4:28.58
SHOT PUT: 1, Regan Ostermeier (BL) 36-1.75; 5, Morgan Delees (BL) 29-4.75
DISCUS: 1, Siekbert (W) 105-3; 2, Morgan Delees (BL) 101-9; 4, Regan Ostermeier (BL) 100-3
LONG JUMP: 1, Decatur (CNE) 14-8.75; 8, Megan Highlander (BL) 12-2
HIGH JUMP: 1, Leonard (BT) 5-0
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports