A State Meet to remember for Big Walnut’s Olivia Small

By Gary Henery

March 12, 2014

Olivia Small had a State Indoor Track Meet to remember!

The Big Walnut senior closed out her high school indoor career with four top three finishes, including state titles in both the long jump and triple jump as she helped lead the Golden Eagles to a ninth-place finish with 20 points in the final Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Division I State standings over the weekend at the University of Akron.

Small took state indoor titles in the long jump at 18 feet, 4 inches, her third indoor long jump title, and in the triple jump at 37 feet, 3.5 inches, her second indoor triple jump title.

“We are all so proud of Olivia!! What an awesome day and an awesome career! (and she’s not done yet),” Big Walnut girls indoor coach Joe Evener said. “Olivia owns the indoor state record in the long jump (18-8.25) from last year’s performance. She really wanted to break that record again, as well as break the indoor triple jump record (37-7). she came so close, and was a little disappointed, but it is hard to be disappointed when you walk out of Akron with your fifth title in three years. as a coaching staff we were hoping she would do both, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Evener said Small put on a dominating performance in both events.

“She is the most dominating jumper in the state. Her hard work, and her athlete/coach connection with coach Mike Ryder is so much fun to watch.” he said. “They seem to work effortlessly in tandem, but I know how much work they put in during the countless weeks to make it look like that.”

Anna Mackey, Hannah Griffith and Avery Kerns contributed to the Golden Eagles’ effort. Mackey, placing tenth in the triple jump, was just shy of making the finals with an effort of 32-1, Griffith placed 16th in the weight throw with a distance of 30-2.75, and Kerns, who did not make the opening height, placed in the top 14 in the state in the high jump,was just shy of making the finals

“Anna did a great job all year in the triple jump. Her form and technique is second only to Olivia’s … and that is a great spot for her to be in,” Evener said. “The excitement of the meet may have caught up with her, but finishing tenth is quite an accomplishment.”

“Hannah Griffith did a great job for us the past two years. She really caught on to the weight throw, and having won the CDI (Central District Indoor meet) the week week and qualifying to the state meet is such a huge accomplishment,” Evener said. “Coach (Dora) Riggs is really putting together a strong throws program in her third year. Hannah worked hard to learn an event that is not competed very often, but it paid great dividends for her and for the team.”

“Avery didn’t finish the way she wanted to. There was some confusion on her marks, and she could not get her steps right,” Evener noted. “But, being a junior, this is a great learning experience, and she will benefit from it next year. I fully expect her to work even harder next year and get back to the state, and use this as motivation to make her presence felt.”

Big Walnut’s indoor girls track program continues to leave its mark. Since the inception of the meet in 2005, the Golden Eagles have 84 indoor State qualifiers with 29 state placers and five state champions. This year’s performance marks the fifth time in six years that the program has been in the top 10 as well as the top 15 in the state the past six years. The last five years against Division I State Indoor competition, the Golden Eagles have placed 30th (2006), 38th ( 2007), sixth (2009), fifth (2010), 15th (2011), fourth (2012), fourth (2013) and ninth (2014).

Of the 157 teams represented at the Division I State Meet 59 teams scored. Area teams placing included Gahanna Lincoln fifth with 26 points; Pickerington Central seventh with 21; Granville and Big Walnut ninth with 20; Dublin Coffman 12th with 18; New Albany 17th with 15; Bishop Hartley 19th with 14; Olentangy, Thomas Worthington and Chillicothe 21st with 11; Canal Winchester 25th with 19; Westerville North and Watkins Memorial 28th with 8; Hilliard Davidson 33rd with 6; Upper Arlington 37th with 5; Dublin Scioto 45th with 3; Delaware Hayes and Pickerington North 49th with 2; and Reynoldsburg 55th with 1.

“After such a strong indoor season, I am excited to get the outdoor season started,” Evener said. “We were able to get so much work done, and get a big start on the season. We can use the performances I have seen, and the success we have had the past two weeks to really spring board into March and April, as the we get ready for outdoor season.”