Thirteen Athletes To Watch At OHSAA State Championships


(Broadcast begins on Friday at 9:30 a.m. EST)

The 2022 Ohio outdoor high school track and field season will culminate this weekend with the OHSAA State Championships, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.

In lead-up to the meet, review below 'Thirteen Can't Miss Athletes to Watch' during the two days of competition.

Related Content

OHSAA Heat Sheets & Schedule of Events

State Meet Results Central I Divisional State Rankings

Justin Braun/Westerville Central

Events: 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x400m Relay

Justin Braun isn't a stranger to winning state championships- he's the reigning OHSAA Division I state champion in the 100m, 200m, and 400m from 2021. 

We've already seen him run a national leading mark of 45.65 in the 400m from his regional meet, along with wind-aided marks of 10.47 in the 100m and 20.87 in the 200m.  It's pretty clear at this point that Braun is the up-and-away favorite in his individual events.

Yet, the question remains: how fast will he go?

The Division I state records of 10.38 (100m), 20.47 (200m), and 45.59 (400m) are all in serious danger with a guy like Justin Braun running like he has been all season. 

The state meet will give him the opportunity to flex his strength in quadrupling, along with the opportunity to secure his name in the OHSAA record books, too. 

Nick Plant/Canfield

Events: 4x800m Relay, 800m

You wanna know how good Nick Plant is? 

He's only lost one race in 2022- yes, in both indoors and outdoors, Plant has nearly won every single race he's competed in. 

His only non-winning performance came from the Penn Relays, an incredible event of its own, as he ran 4:07 in the mile behind Gary Martin and CJ Singleton. 

Plant's ability to run fast and perform well in tactical settings will set him up extremely well, as his 1:50.70 PR in the 800m is in good shape to get taken down this weekend. 

With the hype of the state meet, Marc Sylvester's 1:48.93 Division I state record in the 800m may be Plant's biggest competition of the weekend.

Connor Ackley/Hilliard Davidson

Events: 1600m, 3200m

With the 1600m/3200m double looming ahead of him at the state meet, Connor Ackley has some stiff competition to face against the extremely talented Division I field. 

However, with the way he's been running all season, steamrolling anybody in his path, Ackley seems poised to rise to the opportunity of great competition, already with 4:09 (1600m) and 9:05 (3200m) personal bests under his belt.

In showcasing his ability to run fast from the front, may we see him knock on the sub-9:00 barrier in the 3200m? Or even get right near the 4:05 barrier in the 1600m? 

The sky's the limit for the Hilliard Davidson junior, who is striving for his first outdoor OHSAA state championship.

Alex Smith/Hilliard Darby

Events: 100m, 200m, Long Jump

Smith is undefeated in long jump competition this spring by claiming meet titles in all four of his outings. The senior from Darby leaped an incredible 24-11.5 at OCC - Cardinal, a mark which stations him at the No. 1 position in Ohio's overall rankings and within the top 10 on the national leaderboard. 

Smith figures to contend in the sprint events, but is unquestionably considered the pre-meet favorite in the LJ. His resume includes a national championship at New Balance this past winter, as well as runner-up efforts at the '21 OHSAA and '22 OATCCC state meets. 

Camden Bentley/Gahanna Lincoln

Events: 100m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles, 4x200m Relay, 

There is no women's hurdler in the state of Ohio as dominant as Camden Bentley this outdoor season.

Finding herself winning every hurdle race except for one this outdoor season, Bentley has thrown down some wicked marks: 13.42 in the 100m hurdles, earning her the Division I state record; and 42.88 in the 300m hurdles.

After taking 2nd in the 100m hurdles at the 2021 OHSAA state meet, Bentley has clearly made this event her own- with the state record under her belt, the next obvious step would be to win the state championship in this event. 

As an added bonus, Bentley will have a good opportunity to repeat her state championship in the 300m hurdles as well.

Expect big things from Bentley this weekend.

Morgan Monesmith/Hathaway Brown

Events: 800m, 1600m

Morgan Monesmith is in a very unique position heading into the state meet: one of the fastest athletes in Ohio with the fewest races completed.

She only raced one time before the OHSAA state series began this spring, with an 11:01 3200m winning performance under her belt. 

Since then, making her next appearance at the district meet, Monesmith has been on an absolute tear, running impressive marks of 2:09.82 in the 800m and 4:47.62 in the 1600m to earn wins at her regional meet. 

This momentum with her racing over the last couple of weeks could set her up well to take shots at state championships this weekend, after finishing 2nd in the 800m and 4th in the 1600m in 2021.

Azariyah Bryant/Lakota East

Events: 4x100m Relay, 100m, 200m

While she's the fastest sprinter in the state of Ohio, Azariyah Bryant has a lot to chase after this weekend: state championships.

Bryant hasn't won an individual state championship yet, but this weekend points to a very golden opportunity to capitalize on her successful regular season and OHSAA postseason tournament to this point.  

Her personal bests of 11.73 in the 100m and 23.81w in the 200m both lead the state of Ohio, and she has not lost a single race out of her 20 performances this outdoor season. 

It would not be surprising to see Bryant pick up four more individual wins, including preliminaries and finals, which would give her two state championship titles.

Not to mention, she'll be competing in the 4x100m relay as well, giving her another opportunity at glory this weekend.

Olivia Pace/Westerville Central

Events: 100m, 200m

Pace doubled at Region 3 - Pickerington going a personal best 11.84 in the 100 to go along with her 24.73 winning effort in the 200. The sophomore from Westerville Central ran her PR in the 200 during preliminary round competition last week, a 24.60 mark. In ten races this spring between the two events, Pace has crossed line first in nine of them. Her lone set-back, a 3rd place finish in the 200 at District's, was quickly redeemed with her decisive win in the finals. 

Pace, a two-time state champion indoors at the 60 and a sprinter with national level meets experience, figures to have spirited battles with the aforementioned Azariyah Bryant this weekend at Jesse Owens Stadium. 

Ryne Shackelford/Keystone

Events: 100m, 200m, Long Jump, 4x100m Relay

Clearly Ryne Shackelford is the face of Division 2 sprints in Ohio, as he posts the top mark in the 100m and 200m heading into the state meet. 

His 100m time from this season, a blistering 10.54 at the LC8 Conference Championships, is among his eleven victories in as many starts (including prelims and finals) at the distance this season. 

Then there's the long jump, with his 24-8 mark already surpassing the state record as well- there should be no surprises there this weekend, either.

Coming off of a 200m personal best at his region meet, with a 21.53- the 200m state record of 21.29 might very well be in danger thanks to Shackleford, who has been on a tremendous roll. 

The OHSAA Division 2 record book is going to need some rewriting after this dominant season from Shackelford. 

David Adams/Indian Valley

Event: Pole Vault

The senior from Indian Valley will look to improve upon the runner-up showing he displayed at the OATCCC Division II/III Championships back in March by securing his first state title in the pole vault event. 

Adams, who was 5th at last year's state meet, has put a remarkable '22 campaign together that's included eight victories in as many starts. His accolades this spring are further anchored by a personal best vault of 16-4.5, which places him on top of Ohio's overall leaderboard and at No. 30 nationally.

Elizabeth Whaley/Indian Hill

Events: 800m, 1600m, 4x800m Relay, 4x400m Relay

Even though she's in Division II, Elizabeth Whaley is clearly right atop the precipice of being the fastest women's distance runner in the state of Ohio. 

Her 4:39 personal best in the 1600m from Region 8 - Piqua leads Ohio's all-divisions combined rankings and stations her at No. 8 nationally. 

What makes her regional performance even more impressive was that Whaley won that race by seven seconds, pointing to her ability to run fast in solo race settings. 

We could very well see some magic from the Indian Hill star at the state meet this weekend, who is also slated to run the 800m and a personal best, only being less than two seconds away from the 2:08.91 Division II state record.

Brady Yingst/Lima Perry

Events: 1600m, 3200m

The fastest 1600m runner in the state of Ohio, with a 4:09 personal best to his name, Brady Yingst looks to claim his first state championship on the track this weekend. 

The reigning OHSAA Division 3 state champion in cross country, for Yingst completing the 1600m/3200m double at the state meet would be a great finish to a stellar 2021-2022 campaign. 

Considering he already owns the Division 3 state record in the 1600m, it would not be surprising to see Yingst chase down Chad Johnson's 3200m state record, which is 9:05. 

Since the Lima Perry star just ran his 9:18 personal best at his region meet, winning by nearly ten seconds, that momentum should be able to carry him to an honest attempt at that state record. 

Kenna Stimmel/Margaretta

Events: Pole Vault, 100m, 100H, 4x100m Relay

Kenna Stimmel is going to have a busy weekend at the state meet. 

Currently the #3 ranked pole vaulter in the US, Stimmel will contest that primary event, along with the 100m and 100m hurdles.

She is the reigning state champion in the 100m from 2021, as well as the pole vault- those state championships could certainly be repeated in 2022. 

Then there's the 100m hurdles: she hasn't set a personal best in 2022, but has steadily dropped her time down, setting her up for success just at the right time, right when it matters most. 

We should be seeing very great things from the Margaretta star this weekend.

Preview by MileSplit USA freelance writer Brett Haffner with contributions from Mark Dwyer

Images by MileSplit OH photographer Shawn Conlon with contributions from Bill Shearn