The D2 OHSAA State Track and Field Championship will take place this weekend at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University. Below is a preview of some of the exceptional athletes who will be vying for state titles in Columbus.
Meadowdale's Wayne Lawrence Jr. is favored to win the 400m race as he brings an Ohio #1 (overall) time of 47.15 with him to Columbus. Lawrence Jr. could leave the state championship with a rare triple as he also leads the state in D2 in the 100m and 200m events with times of 10.63 and 21.45 respectively. Wayne Lawrence Jr. is likely to face strong challenges from Demetri Keaton of Warrensville Heights High School and Streetsboro's Dakari Carter in the 100m and Demetri Keaton and Streetsboro's Keshun Jones among others in the 200m. In the 400m, St. Vincent-St. Mary's De Amonte King has had a terrific season which is highlighted by his win at the Division 2 Region 5 meet last weekend. King posted a time of 48.43 which represents an Ohio #7 (overall).
Woodridge's Jacob Mally enters the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship with a D2 leading time of 14.60 in the 110m hurdles. Mally could also contend for state titles in the 300m hurdles and High Jump events where he brings highly ranked results of 39.14 and 6-4 to Columbus with him.
Cole Lovett of Carrollton High School is ranked 1st in D2 in the 1600m with his 4:14.69 result from the Northeastern Buckeye Conference meet and Heath's Taylor Hopkins is also likely to be in the running for the 1600m win. Hopkins is ranked 2nd in D2 with his 4:15.55 effort from the Division 2 Region 6 meet.
Napoleon's Sam Meecce brings exceptional throwing credentials with him to the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship. Meece leads D2 in the Shot Put event with his throw of 60-3 at the Napoleon Dual meet and he's also ranked 1st in the Discus event with his massive throw of 200-11 which took place at the Golden Bear Invitational in April. Sam Meece is ranked 1st in all of Ohio and 12th in the country in the Discus event and he is the defending D2 state champion.
Hillsboro High School's Austin Goolsby is ranked 1st in Ohio (overall) and in a tie for 32nd in the country with his vault of 16-0 from the Hillsboro Tri-Meet. Goolsby is the favorite heading into the state championship, but he could be challenged by Liberty Union's Blake Morman. Morman occupies the 2nd position in the D2 state rankings with his 14-6 vault at the Mid State League Buckeye Division meet.
Beachwood's Mia Knight, Ravenna's Azsah Bradley and Anna Podojil of Indian Hill High School are all top contenders for both the 100m and 200m titles. Knight, who is the 2017 200m indoor state champion, is currently ranked 2nd in the 100m and 5th in the 200m while Bradley is ranked 4th in the 200m and 7th in the 100m. Podojil leads D2 in the 200m and she occupies the 5th position in the 100m rankings. Anna Podojil is also ranked 5th in the 400m D2 rankings from her 56.14 effort at the Division 2 Region 8 meet. Other 400m runners to watch out for include Aziza Ayoub of Jonathan Alder High School and Tuslaw's Ke'Aijhan Strong. Ayoub ran a 56.11 at the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference Championship to earn her 3rd place ranking and Strong recorded a time of 55.79 at the Division 2 Region 5 meet to solidify 2nd place on the D2 state list. Aziza Ayoub is also ranked 1st in D2 in the 800m event with her 2:09.25 result from the OHSAA Division 2 District - Westerville South meet.
Anna Podojil is ranked in the top 5 in D2 in the 100m, 200m and 400m events.
The 100m hurdles race is setting up to be a highly competitive contest as six athletes have run under 15 seconds this season. This group is led by Perry's Leah King who is ranked #1 in D2 with her 14.48 result from the OHSAA Division 2 District - Perry meet. In the 300m hurdles event, Sara Foster and Karlie Zumbro enter this weekend's action as the top two seeds. Foster of St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School leads D2 with her 43.77 result at the Division 2 Region 5 meet and John Glenn's Zumbro is ranked 2nd in D2 with her 44.25 effort at the Division 2 Region 7 meet.
Karlie Zumbro is ranked 2nd in D2 and 15th overall in Ohio in the 300m hurdles event.
A strong field is assembled for the 1600m race, as the top three seeds are separated by only one second. Carrollton's Maddie Dunlap is ranked 1st in D2 with her 5:01.78 result Division 2 Region 7 meet and she's followed closely by Lexington's Mackenna Curtis-Collins who posted a time of 5:02.54 at the Division 2 Region 6 meet and Annie Zimmer of Chagrin Falls High School who ran a 5:02.80 at the Division 2 Region 5 meet.
Beachwood's Leah Roter is favored to take the 3200m win at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship. Roter's 10:29.53 result from the OHSAA Division 2 District - Perry meet is 25 seconds faster than the 2nd ranked D2 athlete.
Orrville's Alex Eby leads D2 in the Pole Vault rankings with her 12-4 vault at the Division 2 Region 6 meet, but she'll face strong opposition from West Geauga's Alison D'Alessandro and Jenna Frantz of Versailles High School. D'Alessandro and Frantz have both vaulted 12-0 this season.
Good luck to all of the athletes who will be competing at the D2 OHSAA State Track and Field Championship and thank you to Shawn Conlon for providing many of the pictures that were used in this preview.