Ohio Track Stars Realize Dreams

COLUMBUS – The dream of all-Ohio turned into reality for four individuals and four relay teams Saturday morning as the Division III track and field season came to a conclusion.

After qualifying rounds on Friday, the small schools returned to the oval bright and early for the final day of the season at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.

Shadyside’s Tara Tollett completed her brilliant prep career with a spot on the 3200-meter podium for the second straight season.

Tollett, who is bound for Ohio University in the fall as a member of the Bobcats’ cross country and track teams, came to Columbus as the defending state runner-up and finished with the fifth-place medal, running a season-best time of 11:14.85.

“I am proud of myself,” Tollett said. “I wanted to be higher on the podium, but some things got in the way (during the season), so just to place is an honor. I am excited to start the next part of running career.”

Tollett, who will take at least a week off before amping up her training once again, has had a strong postseason after not finishing her specialty at the OVAC Championship last month.

Barnesville’s Jacob Anderson was one of those kids that had his eyes on the state meet and a spot on the podium all season after narrowly missing a trip here last spring in the regional.

Anderson was the regional runner-up and then added to his fine season with a medal on Saturday.

After qualifying by virtue of a second-place finish in his semifinal heat, Anderson didn’t get the kind of start he wanted and actually got to the first hurdle with the opposite leg that he normally jumps with.

However, he got back into the flow of the race and eventually finished sixth in 39.56, earning all-Ohio accolades for the first time.

Anderson already has his goals set for himself for the next chapter of his track career as he heads to West Liberty.

Martins Ferry’s girls’ 800 relay team arrived at the state meet as the fourth-place qualifier from the regional meet. So, the squad of Sarah Applegarth, Sunshine Wrenn, Ashley Griffith and Talyr Jenkins had the idea that anything they accomplished would be “gravy.”

The gravy turned out to be an all-Ohio finish as the quartet blistered a 1:47.03, which was good enough for seventh place. The Riders wouldn’t have even qualified for the finals had the OHSAA not made a decision a couple of seasons ago to expand the finals to utilize all nine lanes.

Steubenville Central’s girls – two seasons removed from winning the Division III state team title – had another strong showing, scoring 18 points, which was good enough for a seven-way tie for sixth.

The Crusaders were led by senior Monica Rigaud, who finished as state runner-up in the 100 meter high hurdles. She posted a solid time of 15.39 en route to the silver.

Steubenville Central’s 400, 800 and 1,600 teams, comprised of Rigaud, Kara Kakascik, Michaela Gotta and Taylor Zapolnik, made their way to the podium on three different occasions.

The 400 team was sixth in 50.54, the 800 team was fourth in 1:45.77 and the 1,600 was eighth in 4:06.54.

During Friday’s action, Moriah Vosteen placed eighth in the high jump.

Steubenville Central’s boys got on the scoreboard thanks to a sixth-place finish by senior high hurdler Doug Maslowski. He posted a time of 15.11.

  • River’s Cassidy McCullough knew what she was up against when she arrived at the Division III State Track and Field Championship.

The River High senior proved once again that state champions don’t go away quietly.

Entering the meet, McCullough was seeded second and after Friday’s qualifying run she was still second in the 300 meter low hurdles.

All the West Virginia Wesleyan-bound McCullough did was respond in a big way.

Exploding out of the blocks, McCullough seized control of the race early and basically ran away from the other eight competitors en route to repeating as the Division III champion.

“Honestly, I think (the feeling) is even better the second time,” McCullough said beaming with her gold medal around her neck. “I think I worked harder every day in practice because I had the feeling (last year) and I wanted to experience it again.”

McCullough, who was dialed in and focused after placing sixth in the 100 (12.60), ran away from the field and won the race by more than a full second.

On top of winning the gold, McCullough achieved another personal goal on her last try. Her time is a personal best and the first time she dipped under the 44-second barrier.