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Liberty-Benton's Butler sprints to sweep

06/08/2014, 12:02am EDT

Sophomore wins 100, 200; Eagle boys take 1600 relay

Liberty-Benton's Michaela Butler wins the Div. II 200 meter dash at the state meet. The Blade/Lori King

COLUMBUS — Despite winning a state championship last season as a freshman, Liberty-Benton sophomore Michaela Butler sought redemption and respect on Saturday.

Butler completed her mission when she won two state titles at the Division II meet.

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Butler captured both sprint events at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. She won the 200-meter dash for the second straight year with a time of 24.86 seconds. Butler also sprinted home to the title in the 100, clocking in at 12.15.

Butler finished second in the 100 last season, and she called her win in the much heralded event “a redemption thing.”

“Last year I got second, and I was crushed. I was in tears,” Butler said. “It’s completely different. I got out really well and had a good drive base. I’m at the top of the podium.”

Butler said she wanted to show that her victory in the 200 as a freshman was not a fluke.

“I wanted to prove that I could do it again,” she said.

The Liberty-Benton girls finished fifth as a team.

In the boys meet, Eastwood placed third as a team.

The Eagles won the final event of the meet, the prestigious 1600 relay. Junior Tim Hoodlebrink led off, followed by senior Joe Salinas, junior Brennan Seifert, and junior Devin Snowden. The quartet finished in 3 minutes, 18.09 seconds.

“We fed off the atmosphere,” Snowden said. “The crowd was going nuts. We didn’t change much. We all push each other in practice. I wasn’t sure if it was close or if they were cheering for me. In this case, it was for us. I love these guys.”

In the girls distance events, Wauseon junior Taylor Vernot took second in the 1600 (4:53.34) and was third in the 3200 (11:11.44). Vernot came on strong down the stretch in the 1600 to shatter her personal record by six seconds. The Indians, who also got a seventh-place finish from Seneca Wyse in the 400 (56.73), were 10th as a team.

In the 1600, Vernot came on at the end to pass Sarah Kanney of Coldwater. Vernot finished sixth in t the event in 2013.

“I knew I could get her. I know that my kick has helped me at the end in situations like this,” Vernot said. “I just ran my hardest at the end, and I caught her. I did not realize we were going that fast. It was a quick pace. When I looked at the clock I was stunned. I was not expecting that.”

Napoleon sophomore Peyton Lee placed third in the 100 hurdles (15.21). Lee finished fifth in the event last year.

“I’m really happy with the place I got, but my time could have been better,” Lee said.

Rossford freshman Regan Clay took third in the 400 (56.03).

Oak Harbor had three relay teams qualify. The 1600 team was fourth (3:58.67), the 800 team was eighth (1:44.46), and the 400 relay was sixth (49.81).

Liberty Center senior Robert Burns placed in three of the wheelchair events, which were held for only the second year. Burns was second in the 100, third in the 400, and third in the shot put.

“It’s amazing. I’m speechless to have gotten a silver medal,” Burns said. “I’m stronger and faster this year. I can’t even explain how much this matters to me.”

Eastwood’s 400 relay team placed third. Junior Grant Geiser, Snowden, Seifert, and Jake Hoodlebrink finished in 43.15.

Tim Hoodlebrink also placed third in the 800 with a time of 1:53.88, while Snowden finished sixth in the 300 hurdles (38.65).

“I PR’d, so I’m really happy about that,” Hoodlebrink said. “I knew if I kept on them I could run a fast time.”

Wauseon junior Noah Castle and Genoa senior Logan Bryer finished second and third in the discus. Castle’s throw of 180 feet, 2 inches was less than a foot short of the winning throw.

“It’s disappointing because the goal is to be state champ,” Castle said. “But it was a good perfomance overall.”

Bryer, who won the shot put on Friday, threw 171-4 for third.

Wauseon junior Quintin Reiser was fourth in the 1600 with a time of 4:21.02.

Otsego senior Cole Gorski, who won the pole vault on Friday, was sixth in the 200 (22.35) and placed ninth in the 100 (11.29)

Gorski’s junior teammate Brandon Avers finished sixth in the 1600 with a time of 4:22.16. Otsego tied Genoa for 10th place in the team standings with 16 points and Wauseon was 15th (13 points).

Eastwood, which won state titles in 2009 and 2010, won the 1600 relay for the first time in school history. Seifert said it was the quartet’s goal from Day 1 after they finished fourth last season.

“This was the last race of my high school career, and I wanted to end on a high note,” Salinas said. “It was 100 percent effort.”

Contact Mark Monroe at:, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.

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Tag(s): High School  Eastwood  Genoa  Liberty Benton  Liberty Center  Napoleon  Oak Harbor  Otsego  Rossford  Wauseon  Mark Monroe