Liberty Center’s Nick Demaline, center, won the Division III shot put with a heave of 66 feet, 3½ inches on Friday in Columbus. THE BLADE/LORI KING
COLUMBUS — One week after registering the No. 1 shot put effort in the nation among this year’s high school athletes, Nick Demaline was primed and ready to close his prep career in style at the 107th annual Ohio boys track and field meet.
The explosive 6-foot-2, 300-pound Liberty Center senior did just that Friday afternoon, winning the Division III state title with a heave of 66 feet, 3½ inches at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“Last week I hit 68-10½ to lead the nation, but today I was just coming and getting my first throw in to win the state title,” Demaline said. “No one can take that away from me now. I was trying to get that 70-foot mark, but it just wasn’t in the books today.
“I’m still on cloud nine [from nation’s top throw] but I figured I worked this hard to get it, and I really did enjoy everything about this. It was awesome.”
On May 30 at Tiffin, Demaline produced his extraordinary throw in winning at regionals. It was more than 17 feet better than the runner-up there and more than five feet farther than even he had ever thrown before.
Now the holder of the all-time D-III record, Demaline was eying the D-III state-meet record of 68-8¼ set by D.J. Duke in 2009. All six of his throws were clean, and each went 63 feet or better, but he wasn’t able to produce another record-setter this time.
“That first one [63 feet] got me amped because my first throw is usually around 60 or 59,” Demaline said. “It had a nice release and had everything so I knew it was going to be a good day.
“I wanted a state record and I got it, and I wanted a state championship and got it. I’m off to nationals next week. I’m going to try to get a national championship and an ‘All-American’ after my name. Then I go to Western Kentucky and try to make my name there.”
Demaline was the only area athlete to secure a D-III title on Friday, the first day of competition.
Liberty-Benton senior Zach Garver cleared 6-6 to take third in the D-III boys high jump, and the Pettisville boys and Liberty Center girls each placed sixth in their respective 3200-meter relay finals.
The Pettisville squad, which ran a time of 8 minutes, 7.04 seconds, included sophomore Kyle Lantz and seniors Jeremy Mann, Dominic Frey, and Austin Dykstra. Liberty Center, which ran a 9:34.59, included senior Paige Chamberlain, junior Brittany Atkinson, sophomore anchor Olivia Kundo, and freshman Cheryl Davenport.
Qualifying for the D-III running finals in multiple boys events were Archbold junior Levi Wyse and Patrick Henry senior Zach Nye.
Individually, Wyse ran a time of 10.99 seconds to qualify third in the 100, ran the 200 in 22.37 to qualify fifth, and covered the 400 in 50.03 to qualify seventh. He also ran anchor on the Blue Streaks’ 1600 relay, which qualified fourth for today’s finals at 3:25.41.
Nye made the finals by qualifying third in the 110 hurdles (14.77) and ran the second leg on the Patriots’ 400 relay team, which qualified second at 43.79. Joining him in the finals will be PH junior Jacon Ehlers and freshmen Mitchell Bonner and Donny Johnson.
In the girls competition, qualifying for the finals were Gibsonburg junior Kendall Reynolds, who was third in the 100 at 12.65 seconds, and Golden Bears junior Colleen Reynolds, who was tops in the 400 at 57.64. Toledo Christian sophomore Micah Johnston qualified seventh in the 400 at 58.94.
Johnston was also part of the Eagles’ 400 relay team that qualified fourth at 49.85. Joining her were seniors Darian Westmeyer and Brianna Stewart, and freshman Bebe Adebivi.
Evergreen senior Carly Truckor, who won the Division II state title in the 300 hurdles last year, qualified third for the finals at 44.88.
The Archbold 800 realy squad of juniors Meridith Short and Jensyn Garrow plus freshmen Delanie Driver and Emily Roth qualified third at 1:45.07, and the Blue Streaks’ 1600 relay team had the top prelim time with a 3:59.04. That Archbold unit includes Roth, Short, and Garrow along with sophomore Alicia Hernandez.