TIFFIN — Wyatt Beltz leaped his way into a spot in the state tournament.
The Hilltop junior finished third in the long jump with a personal record 20-10 to highlight area performances on the first day of the Division III regional track and field meet at Tiffin’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium.
“He’s super excited. He did a great job today,” Hilltop track and field coach Nate Massie said. “... I think it was awesome.
“I think we had some jitters at first, that was a big stage... this was an experience and an opportunity to just accept the moment and enjoy it. He calmed down and found his ability to do that. It’s the best he’s looked all year, honestly.”
The top four finishers in each event advanced to next week’s OHSAA Division III state meet at Westerville North High School. Wednesday’s finals included boys pole vault, long jump and discus; girls high jump and shot put; and the 3,200-meter relay.
The top eight finishers in prelims advanced to Friday’s finals.
Beltz, who has consistently jumped around 19 feet all season, came through in a big way at regionals. After fouling his first attempt, his next two jumps were in the high 19s, according to Massie.
His first jump in the finals secured the state tournament berth, while his next two were also in the 20s.
Beltz was the lone area state qualifier from Wednesday’s finals.
Edon’s Gage Eicher finished 11th in the long jump with a 19-2.25, while Montpelier’s Jacob Lamontagne was 13th with an 18-9.50. Six athletes surpassed 20 feet, led by McComb’s Kavon Bailey (22-0.50). Sandusky St. Mary’s DeAron Newell was second (20-10.50).
In the girls high jump, Fairview’s Julia Arend finished tied for 12th with a 4-8.
In the running event prelims, both of Edgerton’s boys relay teams, as well as Edon’s 400-meter relay team and Fairview’s 1,600 relay team, advanced to finals. Edgerton’s Craig Blue, Jared Swan, Hunter Burke and Owen Roth finished fourth in prelims in the 800 relay in 1:35.85, while Blue, Swan, Burke and Carter Herman finished sixth in the 1,600 relay in 3:34.79.
Edon’s Trey Whitney, Drew Gallehue, Destin Hamrick and Eicher finished the 400 relay fifth in 44.74. Fairview’s Jeffrey Smith, Kyle Rabe, D’Andre Hastings and Treyvon Hastings finished the 1,600 relay seventh in 3:35.29.
Blue was second in the 300 hurdles in 41.00; Hastings was seventh in the 400 in 53.25 and Montpelier’s Andre Aguirre was seventh in the 110 hurdles in 16.28 to reach the finals.
Montpelier’s Thomas Jay and Chelsea McCord came up just short of finals in their respective individual events. Jay was ninth in the 200 in 23.43, while McCord was ninth in the 100 hurdles in 17.13.
Stryker’s girls 400 relay team of Kinsey Myers, Kaila Patterson, Brianna Breier and Sage Woolace finished 11th in 52.51.
Hamrick was 10th in the 110 hurdles (16.40) and 11th in the 300 hurdles (43.30) for Edon. Roth was 15th in the 200 (26.32) and scratched the 100 after qualifying in the event.
Montpelier’s boys 400 relay team (46.57) and 800 relay team (1:36.87) both finished 11th, while the Locomotives’ 1,600 relay team was 16th in 3:54.51.
The remaining field event finals will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with running event finals to start at 6:30 p.m.