Shelby boys win Division II district track title behind multifaceted performances

·3 min read
Shelby's Huck Finnegan (left) and Mason Hendrickson (right) finished 1-2 in the 3,200 meters at the Division II District Tournament in Ontario.
Shelby's Huck Finnegan (left) and Mason Hendrickson (right) finished 1-2 in the 3,200 meters at the Division II District Tournament in Ontario.

ONTARIO — The humidity Saturday afternoon didn't seem to faze the Shelby boys track team.

The Whippets qualified in an impressive nine events for next week's Division II Lexington regional meet en route to edging second-place Huron 108-103 for a district team title.

"Oh, it was great," said Shelby coach Chris Zuercher. "We had nine events we qualified in for regionals. Real solid performance by the guys, and we're ready to go after it next week. It's not so much about winning the team title but it's all about advancing people."

Advancing to regionals for Shelby were Connor Henkel and Andre Hill in the long jump; Garrett Baker in the pole vault and 100 meters; Xander Wilkins in the shot put; Trae Smith in the 200; Marshall Moore in the 800; Luke Dininger and Caleb Vogt in the 1,600; Huck Finnegan and Mason Hendrickson in the 3,200; and Finnegan, Hendrickson, Moore and Dininger in the 4x800 relay.

Shelby's Luke Dininger won the district title in the 1,600.
Shelby's Luke Dininger won the district title in the 1,600.

Finnegan and Hendrickson, possibly the top two runners in the 3,200 in Richland County, had a one-two finish, with both taking charge in the last three laps. Their distance teammate Dininger had a fine showing in his 1,600 win, running 4:34.16.

"I felt good out there. Weather-wise, it was a little hot out but I fought through it," said Dininger, this year's 1,600 MOAC champion. "Very excited to go to regionals. Looking to set a PR (personal record) in the 1,600 and trying to get my time in the 4:20s."

Regional qualifiers for the Shelby girls were Kayla Gonzales in the 1,600; Ava Bowman and Olivia Barnard in the 100; Alainah Carmel in the 200; Reyna Hoffman and Channon Cundiff in the 800; the 4x100 relay of Tessa Slone, Bowman, Carmel and Barnard; the 4x200 relay of Serena Ramsey, Carmel, Bowman and Slone; and the 4x800 relay of Emma Montgomery, Gonzales, Cundiff and Hoffman.

Shelby's Kayla Gonzales was victorious in the 1,600.
Shelby's Kayla Gonzales was victorious in the 1,600.

Overall, Ontario's boys (10th place) and girls (sixth) both finished outside the top five in the team rankings but still produced some quality individual results.

Ally Potter won the district title in the 400 and anchored the Warriors' third-place 4x400 relay, which also included Hadle Schultz, Sophie Humphrey and Arial Bischak. Chasity Mies won the pole vault and Sarah Strickler came in fourth.

One of the more convincing performances of the day belonged to Ontario's Ellie Maurer, who was basically in cruise control the entire way in her win in the 3,200. Maurer's time of 11:37.40 was more than seven minutes faster than the second-place finisher.

Ontario's Ellie Maurer won convincingly in the 3,200.
Ontario's Ellie Maurer won convincingly in the 3,200.

"So, I was pretty nervous going into this race but I was excited for it because I knew if I just win I would qualify," said Maurer. "I really wanted a PR, but after that first mile the heat really started to get to me and really slowed me down, but I'm still happy how I performed. I'm super excited to go with my team to regionals."

Miles Meisse was another standout for Ontario, winning the 800 and anchoring the Warriors' third-place 4x400 relay that also included Grayson Ginn, Nathan Slater and Bodpeg Miller. Slater also placed second behind Meisse in the 800.

Ontario's Miles Meisse running in the 800 meters.
Ontario's Miles Meisse running in the 800 meters.

"Going into it I didn't feel my best but I just had to push through it. I didn't start too fast but I worked my way up, gave it my all and left it all on the track. I'm pretty happy about that," said a smiling Meisse. "Hopefully, I make it out of regionals and get one of those top four spots. That's my goal."

Regional qualifiers for Clear Fork were Jocelyn Dornbirer in the 1,600; Rebekah Conrad in the discus; Deven Freeman in the 100; and Ethan Staley in the pole vault.

Regional qualifiers for Galion were Raygann Campbell in the 3,200; Zaynah Tate in the 800; Andy Sparks in the 300 hurdles; and Kyle Foust in the high jump.

jsimpson@gannett.com

Twitter: @JamesSimpsonII

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Multiple athletes lead Shelby boys to district track title