On January 27, Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OATCCC) President Doug Joy announced that the traditional end-of-season State Championship would be replaced by the Indoor Finale. This was due to the fact that many usual high school indoor track and field meets were not held this season in light of COVID-19.
Although the Indoor Finale is not a 'State Championship,' the meet will still be contested by some of the state's best athletes and will produce some of the best races and field event competitions of the year.
Here are a collection of the top athletes to watch out for in the Division 2/3 meet, which will be held on Friday at the SPIRE Institute.
Follow Our Social Media Pages -
The 2020 60m dash OATCCC Indoor State Champion will return to Geneva to defend her crown at the end-of-season finale. Clinkscale is coming off an impressive season where she qualified for the adidas National Championship meet and placed 13th in the event. Clinkscale also won the SPIRE OATCCC Sprint Night 60m dash and ran a 7.57 personal best at the SPIRE Scholastic Showcase, where she finished 2nd. She is the top entry in the 60m and 200m dashes and will be the athlete to beat in those events.
While also competing in the 60m and 200m dashes, Suszek enters the Indoor Finale seeded first in the 400m dash. Suszek won the 2020 400m Indoor State Championship and will look to add another big victory on Friday. She's likely to be Clinkscale's top competition in the 200m dash.
Competing in both, the 800m and 1600m events, Garey will be the distance runner to beat on Friday. Entering the meet, Garey is seeded first in the 1600m, which came after a 7th place performance at the SPIRE Ohio Championship Preview, and second in the 800m. Garey placed 6th in the 1600m last year at the Indoor State Championship meet and stands a good chance to win this year's version of the event.
Similar to Garey, Johnson is the top seed multiple events, the 800m and 1600m races entering the meet. Johnson is coming off a spectacular season where she finished 2nd and 3rd at the SPIRE Ohio Championship Preview in the 1600m and 800m races respectively. The Penn State commit will look to cap her successful campaign off with a pair of victories at the Indoor Finale.
One of the most intriguing storylines for Friday's event will be focused on Stimmel in the pole vault event. Entering the competition, Stimmel owns the US No. 1 jump, which she recorded at the adidas National Championship in Virginia Beach, and won the national title in the event. Stimmel also competed at the SPIRE Championship Preview earlier this year where she broke the facility record en route to securing victory.
Also at stake for Stimmel on Friday is her ability to potentially break the National junior-class record of 14-10.25. Stimmel is comfortable and has taken several jumps at the SPIRE Institute facility. There is no better setting or Stimmel to challenge the record than SPIRE.
In the high jump, only two athletes are seeded above 6 feet. Beverly has competed at three of Youngstown State's meets this winter, jumping 6-2 twice before jumping 6-4 in his victory at the Youngstown State Open #4. Timberlake competed just once this year, jumping 6-2, which adds a lot of intrigue to Friday's high jump event.
With three shot put victories on the season, including one at the NEOITC All Star Scholastic meet, Metz enters Friday's event one of the favorites in the event. Metz is also seeded just a few feet behind the top seed in the weight throw, where she finished 2nd at the NEOITC All Star Scholastic meet. Although she is not the top seed in either event, Metz stands a great chance to win both events on Friday.
Beachwood Boys and Girls Relays
All of the boys and girls relay teams from Beachwood have a chance to bring home victories and a lot of points for their team on Friday. On the boys side, they are the top seed in the 4x400m and 4x800m events, which both include Gregory Perryman, Caleb Berns, and Jack McPhillips. The boys 4x200m also enters the event seeded sixth.
The girls enter two teams, both seeded 4th. The 4x200m and 4x400m relay teams, which both include Lauren Luxenberg and Amelie Cotta, will look to score valuable points for their team on Friday and potentially contend for two wins in the events.
* Note: When we refer to points, while there will not be official team scoring at this year's meet, informally, we know that many coaches and fans will be keeping track.
Good luck to all of the athletes competing!
MileSplit Ohio Student-Athlete Reporter