Following the cancellation of the 2020 OHSAA State Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Ohio will crown state champions for the first time in two years on Friday, June 4th.
As announced earlier this year, the meet will be held at three Central Ohio high schools in place of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, which has been the host site since 2004. The Division I state meet will be hosted by Hilliard Darby, the Division II state meet will be hosted by Pickerington North and the Division III state meet will be hosted by Westerville North.
Through a loaded field, featuring the top track and field athletes in Division II, we have identified four boys and four girls that you should keep an eye on this weekend.
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As one of the most well rounded athletes in the state, it will be interesting to see what events Rhoads chooses to compete in at the state championships this weekend. From one of the top hurdlers in the state to a national threat in the field events, Rhoads has the ability to win four events at this year's meet.
Rhoads won the 300m hurdles, pole vault, and long jump at the Lexington regional this past weekend, finishing second in the 110m hurdles. In addition, Rhoads was the runner-up in the pole vault at the 2019 state championships and has since improved, which helped him finish second at adidas Indoor Nationals.
Rhoads may or may not choose to compete in all four events this weekend, but whatever events he does compete in, he is instantly a threat to win it.
Entering the weekend, Graham has won all eleven of his appearances in the shot put, including his most recent victory in the Southeastern regional. Graham has been in a league of his own in the shot put competition this season and enters the weekend the favorite in the event.
Graham is also set to enter the discus competition at the state championships. Finishing second at the regional meet last week, Graham will be a contender for one of the top spots on the podium in this event as well.
Although Champa does not enter the state championship meet with any of the top marks in Division 2 this season, he has proven that when the lights are on that he will come to compete. In the fall, Champa ran away with the OHSAA cross country state championship and capitalized on that by winning the D2/3 Indoor Finale 3200m race as well.
Following an impressive victory in the 3200m at the Austintown Fitch regional, Champa is poised to compete for his third state championship across seasons, completing the long distance triple crown. Champa is also slated to compete in the 1600m following his third place finish in that event this past weekend as well.
Following a second place finish at the Piqua Regional in the 200m dash, Behanan will look to regain his momentum, which included an undefeated streak leading up to the event. Entering the weekend, Behanan holds the quickest 200m time in Division 2, having run a 21.77 and is sure to put on a show in one of the fastest events of the day.
Following a dominant winter indoor track season, Clinkscale has continued to do a lot of the same this spring, collecting 22 victories on the track in 24 appearances in the 100m and 200m dash events. Clinkscale's successes led to two Lexington regional titles this past weekend in the two events.
Clinkscale finished 8th place last time the state championships were held in 2019 and she will look to add two more victories to close out her high school career.
Hartman will be searching for her third and fourth state championship this weekend in the 1600m and 3200m, as she hopes to add to her 2019 outdoor track 3200m and 2020 cross country titles. After dominant victories in the Piqua regional in both events this past week, Hartman enters the state championship as the favorite in both events.
In the 3200m, Hartman has recorded a time of 10:40 or faster in all four races this season whereas only one other girl in Division 2 has gone under the 10:40 mark this season. Hartman's personal best in the event is a 10:24.53 and the junior is looking like she could squeeze it below 10:20 by the season's end.
Entering this weekend, Barker is the girl to beat in the 100m and 300m hurdle events at the Division 2 state championships. Barker is undefeated this season in the 100m hurdles, which includes a victory at the Austintown Fitch regional meet last weekend.
Barker also qualified for the 2019 state championship meet in the 100m hurdles. She finished 12th in the prelims and is set to improve on that finish this weekend, potentially standing atop of the podium once it is all said and done.
Laracuente is one of the most diversely skilled competitors in Division 2 and will compete in various events this weekend. Laracuente won the high jump and long jump events at the Lexington regional this past weekend and will enter the state meet as one of the top competitors for both. She also enters the state championship undefeated in both events, which gives her an edge on her competition.
After finishing third in the 200m dash at the regional meet as well, Laracuente will also compete in that event as well and will have a chance to land a spot on the podium in that sprinting event as well.