A large contingent of Suburbanite-area athletes headed south to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus over the weekend

A large contingent of Suburbanite-area athletes headed south to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus over the weekend and they emerged with several positive results, one spot on the podium and one bizarre tale that will live on in state track and field lore.

The top finisher among area athletes was Manchester junior Alyssa Matheny, who placed third in Division II in the high jump. Her best leap on the day, 5-4, was 3 1/4 inches below the height she reached at the regional meet the previous weekend, but it was still enough to earn her a spot on the podium.

“It was a very good feeling. My goal was top four and I did reach that even though I didn’t get first or second,” Matheny said.

She and teammate Grier Cowles reached the state meet together for the third straight season and were able to spend plenty of time together over the weekend. Cowles was on the infield when Matheny competed and Matheny was able to return the favor when Cowles placed 12th in the preliminaries of the 400 with a time of 58.52.

After ranking 15th in her previous two trips to Columbus, Matheny was able to exact better results in her third trip and credited a change in schedule with helping her perform at a higher level.

“I was able to have a couple more coaches go down with me and we woke up earlier and I was able to exercise and get warmed up before we went over to the track,” Matheny said.

She didn’t fare as well in the long jump, ranking 15th with a best jump of 15-1.

While Matheny was busy flying to third place in the high jump, Green distance standout Alyssa Thomas was running three-fourths of the 1,600 meters with just one shoe. Thomas, who entered the meet with legitimate hopes to reach the podium, ended up placing 11th after another competitor stepped on her foot during the first lap, causing Thomas’ shoe to come off.

She continued to race with just one shoe, turning in a time of 5:04.06, which was actually faster than her seed time for the meet. Not finishing on the podium left Thomas short of her goal for her final high school meet, but the sight of a runner going more than 1,200 meters with just one shoe is an image that those who saw the race won’t soon forget.

The seven-man contingent from Coventry also did its best to make an impact on the boys’ side of the Division II portion of the meet, competing in a total of four events. The Comets’ best result was 10th place in the 200 relay as the quartet of Dillan Raines, Treon Sibley, Jaret Skaggs and Tremayne Collins ran the race in 1:31.19. That wasn’t enough to reach the finals, but it was one of three races on the day for Sibley, who was one of the busiest athletes at the meet.

He also ran the final leg of the 400 relay, which came in 15th with a time of 44.53. Sibley also competed individually in the high jump, where he did not place after not clearing the 6-0 starting height. Coventry’s other individual competitor, junior Dusty Burkhart, was slightly off the 10.89 pace he set at the regional meet, crossing the finish line in 11.15 to rank 11th in the preliminaries and just miss out on a spot in the finals.

Mogadore senior Stephen Stott represented the Wildcats well in Columbus, placing 10th the 400 in Division III with time of 51.29. Stott missed out on a finals spot by .01 second, getting edged out by Jared Butcher of Mechnicsburg. 

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or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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