By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — Versailles High School senior Joe Spitzer would tell you it was ‘God’s’ plan.
But, Spitzer certainly carried it out to perfection.
“First, I have to thank God for giving me this great ability to run,” Spitzer said after winning the Division II state track and field boys 3,200-meter run Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium. “I have really been blessed throughout my career.”
And when Spitzer crossed the finish line in 9:14.97, nearly eight seconds in front of Zach Kreft of Buckeye Valley, he also had the Versailles school record previously held by Sam Prakel, who currently runs for Oregon.
Which was all part of the plan.
“I was shooting for 9:15,” Spitzer said. “I wanted to get the school record.”
And the usually stoic Spitzer reacted by spreading his arms out and yelling as he crossed the finish line.
“It was about winning a state championship and getting the school record,” Spitzer said. “The state championship has been a dream of mine for so long.”
And after finishing third a year ago, Spitzer knew exactly what he was going to do this week.
Spitzer also had one of the fastest times in the 1,600 — a race won by Kreft — after winning the regional last week and elected to scratch from that race Saturday.
“I ran a 4:19 at regionals,” Spitzer said. “I was pretty happy with that. I knew he (Zach Kreft) was running the 1,600. I thought that might take a little bit out of him. I wanted to break Sam’s record and I was able to do that.”
Spitzer pushed the pace from the start and on the final two laps, began to pull away from Kreft.
“With two laps to go I knew it (getting the record) was going to be close,” Spitzer said. “I just wanted to put some distance between him on the seventh lap and then go all out on the last lap.”
He did exactly that — and he wasn’t going to be denied, regardless of how hot and humid it was.
“I don’t like it (the heat),” Spitzer said. “But, everybody has to run it.”
Just none could do it at the record pace Spitzer did.
After tying for 11th in the high jump, clearing 6-0; Versailles senior Josh Steinbrunner had one race left in his high school career.
And he just happened to be defending state champion in the 110-meter high hurdles.
And Steinbrunner ran three-tenths of a second faster than a year ago, but finished fourth in 14.54.
“That was a really fast race,” Steinbrunner said. “I am disappointed I wasn’t able to defend my title. But, credit to those guys who beat me. I ran a PR, so I can’t complain about that.”
Steinbrunner has an appreciation for everything he accomplished at Versailles.
“I am very blessed to have made it to state all four years and have the career I have had,” Steinbrunner said. “A lot of people don’t get that.”
Or a state championship, which Spitzer and Steinbrunner can both say as they finish their prep careers.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.