By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — Piqua senior Ashley Ho was hoping for a higher finish in the high jump at the Division I state track and field championships Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Stadium.
But, Ho understood she had already won.
She was attempting to become the first Piqua girl to place at state since Autumn Reaves finished fifth in the shot put in 2006.
Ho just missed, finishing ninth with height of 5-4.
“The big goal was to get to state and I did that,” Ho said.
She made her first attempt at 5-0 and her second attempts at 5-2 and 5-4.
One less miss would have put her on the podium.
“Maybe it was the heat a little bit,” Ho said. “I had been over here since Thursday. Having to eat out every meal — and I decided to go to the zoo yesterday, which may not have been the best idea.”
But, in the end, Ho was satisfied with what she accomplished.
“Five-four is around what I have been doing all year,” Ho said. “So, it really wasn’t that far off.”
York has impressive finale
Russia senior Grace York finished off an amazing career Saturday, finishing second in the D-III 800-meter run.
Anna’s Kennedy Glover won in 2:13.12, while York was second in 2:14.55 and Minster’s Madeline Magoto was third in 2:15.43.
York was fifth in the 800 a year ago and also made several trips to the podium in the 3,200 relay in her career.
“I remember as a freshman not wanting to run and focus on field events,” York said with a laugh. “Obviously, that didn’t work out that well. It has been an amazing four years. I never expected to have a career like this.”
York came in with the fast time and immediately moved out front.
She opened up a lead with a 64.12 split on the first lap.
“It is really easy to get boxed in over here,” she said. “I wanted to get out front and be able to run the kind of time I needed to run.”
While she did that, Glover had an amazing final 300 for the win.
“You are never sure of winning until it is over,” York said. “She is one of the girls I knew could run a time like that. I am just really proud of how our region went 1-2-3 today. Finishing fifth last year and second today, I am really happy with that.”
And there was an added bonus.
Russia’s only girls state champion, Katie Borchers — who went on to be an All-American at Ohio State in the 800, presented the medals on the podium.
“That was really cool,” York said. “Katie (Borchers) is someone I have always aspired to be like as a runner. It is hard to believe this was my final high school race.”
O’Leary finds podium
Lehman Catholic junior Alanna O’Leary put in the work — and reaped the benefits.
In her third trip to the state meet, O’Leary finished seventh in the 400 in 58.28.
“I ran a PR for this year today, so I am happy with that,” O’Leary said. “My coaches and family encouraged me to put in some extra work this year. This is the first time I have done that and it paid off. So, I am going to continue to do that.”
O’Leary made a charge in the final 100, nearly catching district and regional champion Rayna Horner of Covington.
“As I said before, I like running against her because she pushes me,” O’Leary said. “I had more family here than yesterday and it is a lot louder as you are coming to the finish line. The atmosphere was incredible. I had never made it to the podium, so that definitely gives me big expectations for next year.”
Knepp takes 16th
Bradford sophomore Karmen Knepp got some great experience Saturday in the D-III 3,200-meter run.
Knepp battled the heat and some great competition to finish 16th in 12:02.13
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.