Liberty-Benton senior Chase Cook competed at the Division III state meet last season in the long jump (third), 200 meters (fourth), and 100 (fifth), and 400 relay (fourth). THE BLADE/LORI KING
Gibsonburg sprinter Colleen Reynolds considers herself to be a strong finisher and the junior has some unfinished business she would like to take care of in Columbus.
Reynolds etched her name into the school record books last year by winning the 400-meter dash at the Division III state meet.
Reynolds became only the second individual state champion in any sport at Gibsonburg. The other is wrestler Paul Sanchez, who won the heavyweight title in 1982.
“It's awesome. I have a banner in the gym,” said Reynolds, who ran a personal-best 56.57 seconds. “It's been pretty cool. I hope to I can do it again.”
But Reynolds is quick to point out that she was disappointed in her finish in two other events at state, taking fifth in both the 100 (12.57) and 200 (25.74).
“My blocks are where I'm lacking,” Reynolds said. “It's definitely my starts. I'm a finisher. You can catch up in the 400. Then you just try to hold on. Because of my speed out of the blocks, I need to catch up. I need to perfect my blocks.”
Reynolds swept the sprint events at the D-III regional meet, winning the 100 meters (12.40 seconds), 200 (25.38), and 400 (57.66). All three times were school records.
“She works extremely hard,” Gibsonburg coach Glenn Owens said. “She's very disciplined with her diet, and her routines. No matter what she is involved in she is positive and outgoing. Overall she is a great person.”
Colleen's twin sister Kendall also qualified for state in the 100 and 400. The Golden Bears finished sixth as a team, the highest in school history.
At the state indoor meet March 8, Colleen Reynolds defended her D-III title in the 400. Reynolds, who won in 58.13, said it takes dedication to reach the top of the podium.
“You have to focus on what it is you want and how bad you want it. You have to train for it, eat right, and then reward yourself,” she said. “You keep pushing for what you want and you'll get it.”
Owens said Reynolds' times right now are better than they were at this point last season.
“She has her goals that she wants to achieve. She did pretty well as a sophomore,” Owens said. “There is not a huge way to improve on [the state title]. But she wants to improve her finish in the 100 and 200.”
Last weekend at the Lakota Invitational, Kendall won the 100 and Colleen was second. In the 400, Colleen was first and Kendall was second.
The Reynolds sisters are among a number of Division III athletes that look to return to Jesse Owens Stadium.
Evergreen senior Carly Truckor should benefit from her team dropping down from Division II to Division III.
Truckor won the D-II state title in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.12 seconds.
Liberty Center junior Brittany Atkinson placed in two events last year, taking fourth in the 3200 (11:03.73).
Atkinson teamed with Paige Chamberlain (now a senior), Kelly Haubert (graduated), and Olivia Kundo (sophomore) to place third in the 3200 relay at 9:41.09.
The Archbold girls return two of four runners that placed third in the 1600 relay — juniors Meridith Short and Jensyn Garrow.
Van Buren placed third in the 800 relay and three of the four runners return — senior Abby Shroll, junior Lauren Wise, and sophomore Bri Lasley.
In the boys competition, Liberty-Benton senior Chase Cook helped lead the Eagles to a fifth-place finish in D-III at state.
He placed in three individual events and helped the 400 relay team finish fourth.
Cook took third in the long jump (22-feet, 1½ inches), fourth in the 200 (22.41), and sixth in the 100 (11.14).
Liberty Center senior Nick Demaline returns after placing second in the shot put with a toss of 59-11¾.
“I’m always disappointed if I don’t finish first,” Demaline said. “I’ve got one more year, but I’ll never be satisfied until I win it.”
Patrick Henry senior Zach Nye finished fourth in the 110 hurdles at 14.61.
Three of four members of the Pettisville 3200 relay that placed eighth are back. Seniors Jeremy Mann and Dominic Frey return along with sophomore Kyle Lantz. They ran a time of 8:17.59.