After missing out on a regional title by less than half a second last week in Pickerington, there was no way Olentangy Orange senior Hunter Moore was going to be denied again.
With less than half a second separating their two times at regionals, it’s no surprise that with half a lap to go, Moore and Pickerington Central junior Matt Scrape were the only two runners with a chance to win the Division I boys 3,200 meters at Saturday’s OHSAA State Track and Field Championships at OSU.
“He kicked me last week … I knew he was going to be there,” Moore, who pretty much led from start to finish, said. “With 200 meters to go, I took a peek at the scoreboard to see how close he was and saw he was gaining on me, so I just gave it all I had. I left it on the track out there. I was not going to get outkicked again.”
Moore won in a personal-best time of 8:58.47. Scrape finished second in 9:00.87 and Cleveland St. Ignatius’ C.J. Ambrosio smoothed out the top three with an effort of 9:07.49.
“It’s awesome,” the senior said of winning his final race as a Pioneer. “My school has never had a boys individual state champ, so I came in here with that as a goal and got it done. It’s four years of progress right here. With injuries and everything else I’ve had to overcome, I’m so blessed to be on top of the podium right now.”
Moore was Delaware County’s only state champ, but he headlined what proved to be a parade to the podium for local athletes.
Orange had a pair of runner-up finishes, too. After recording the fastest time in Friday’s preliminary heats, junior Jayden Rodgers finished second in Saturday’s Division I boys 110 hurdles final with an effort of 14.09 seconds. Senior Anna Watson, the defending state champ and current outdoor state record holder in the girls pole vault, closed second as well.
Watson and Walsh Jesuit senior Allie Stern went back and fourth in what was one of the most exciting finals of the meet. Tied for first after missing all three attempts at 13-4, the two went into a jump-off.
They got an extra attempt at 13-4, which they missed, before the bar went down three inches to 13-1 — a height both cleared easily.
The bar was then raised back to 13-4 and both missed. Both then missed 13-1 and, with the bar at 12-10, Watson missed her attempt and Stern didn’t, giving her the state championship after finishing eighth in the event last year.
The Olentangy area was well represented in the event, with three others — Olentangy’s Siobhan Szerencsits and Madeline Barnes and Liberty’s Sam Silber — each earning spots on the podium. Szerencsits finished fourth (12-08), Barnes finished sixth (12-08) and Silber closed eighth (12-0).
As if that weren’t enough success for one school district in a single event, Olentangy senior Kyle Brookshire nabbed runner-up honors in the boys pole vault thanks to an effort of 15-04.00.
Other area standouts who reached the podium and earned all-state honors included Buckeye Valley junior Zach Kreft, who finished fourth in the Division I boys 1,600 (4:10.10); Orange sophomore Allison Guagenti, who finished third in the girls 1,600 (4:48. 23); Big Walnut junior Abe Myers, who finished fifth in the boys discus (168-07.00); and Big Walnut junior Brandon Mosher, who finished eighth in the shot put (56-06.00).
Orange’s boys 4×200 relay team (Joel Sarpong, T.J. Coates, Kevin Acheampong and Rodgers) earned a spot on the podium, finishing seventh in 1:29.27, while Orange’s 4×400 team (Christian Wright, Tyler King, Coates and Tommy Heiden) and Olentangy’s 4×400 quartet (Jeremy Kendle, Anthony Sasso, Joel Michael and Zach Balthaser) finished sixth and seventh in respective times of 3:21.18 and 3:21.42.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.