Three trips to podium

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Mike Ullery | Daily Call David York of Russia looks to clear the bar in the boys Division III high jump event.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Lauren Heaton of Russia crosses the finish line in the girls Division III 400 meter dash.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Leah Francis of Russia runs the Division III 100 meter hurdles prelims at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus on Friday.

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Nick Colby of Russia throws the discus in boys Division III competition on Friday.

By Rob Kiser

COLUMBUS — David York — couldn’t have asked for anything more than the way he ended his career at the D-III state track and field meet Friday at Jesse Owens Stadium on the Ohio State University campus.

Nick Colby, like York a Russia senior, was hoping for a little more.

York saved his best for last, taking sixth in the high jump, while Colby was seventh in the discus.

And it was two clutch jumps that got York to his final position.

Having never cleared 6-4 before, York was down to his third attempt at that height and had to clear it to get to the podium.

He did exactly that and then made 6-5 on his second attempt, when he brushed the bar, but it remained up.

“On that attempt (his third at 6-4), I remember a change coach had made this week,” York said. “I hadn’t been doing it and then he reminded about it before that jump. I have been working on standing taller and not arching my back as much.”

He was close on his attempts at 6-6.

“On the one, I thought the bar might stay up, but it didn’t,” he said. “This is a great way to go out. I am pretty satisfied with what I did today. To get a PR and finish on the podium.”

Colby, who hadn’t lost all year before finishing second at the regional meet with a throw of 162-9, was hoping for a similar performance Friday.

His best throw of 154-2 didn’t come until finals.

“It is disappointing coming off of a big regional,” Colby said. “I did the same thing last year over here. It was the first time being up against some ranked guys, which is tough. But, I just felt like I would follow up with another big meet after the regional.”

Colby showed marked improvement in the finals.

“I had figured out what I was doing wrong by the finals,” he said. “My last throw would have been even further, but it finished just outside the right sector (for a foul).”

The positive for Colby was to end his career on his podium.

“I didn’t get that last year when I finished ninth,” he said. “It was nice to be up on the podium in Jesse Owens Stadium.”

The Russia girls had started the day with a fifth-place finish in the 3,200 relay.

The foursome of Shaelynn Goubeaux, Grace York, Emily Borchers and Lauren Heaton’s time of 9:32.62 becomes more impressive when you realize it was faster than they ran when the Lady Raiders were state champs two years ago.

“School record, state medal — you can’t ask for anymore than that,” Heaton said after moving the Lady Raiders up from seventh to fifth on the anchor leg.

Goubeaux started the Lady Raiders off in solid position.

“I was kind of jealous because we weren’t over here last year,” the sophomore said. “It was great to be up on the podium. The crowd really makes you want to run hard.”

Fellow sophomore York kept the Lady Raiders in solid position.

“This was amazing,” York said. “Hearing all those people cheering. You just wanted to smile the whole time you were running.”

Emily Borchers, like Heaton a member of the state championship team two years ago, moved Russia up to seventh and gave Heaton a chance to make a run.

“In a way, it is hard to keep yourself from going out to fast,” Borchers said. “But, you just have to run your race. It is a good way to start the state meet — up on the podium.”

Leah Francis is looking to improve on two straight fourth-place finishes in the 100 hurdles and got off to a good start.

She won her heat of the 100 hurdles in 15.30 and the Lady Raider senior has the second fastest time going into Saturday’s finals.

“Winning a state title is a hope I have,” Francis said. “It is something that is out there. That (15.30) is a good time. It feels good to get out on the track

I am shooting for a 15.11 (in the final) — that is my all time best.”

Heaton is the defending champion in the 400, but came in with just the fifth fastest time.

And she qualified with the fifth fastest time of 58.38.

“It was just about getting to tomorrow (Saturday),” Heaton said. “They are some great girls in this race. It just gives me a chance to go chase them. I love a challenge. We will see what happens.”

The 1,600 relay (Francis, York, Borchers, Heaton) also advanced with the ninth fastest time of 4:05.98.

“It is always close,” Heaton said about holding off four girls for the fourth place finish in the first heat. “There was a big group. I just wanted to get all of them. We will see what happens tomorrow.”

York agreed.

“I didn’t see any of this coming,” York said about the possibility of two state medals. “We will see what happens tomorrow, but it would be great (to get back up on the podium).”

Borchers and Molly Kearns will run in the 3,200 today for the Lady Raiders as well.

“It would be great way to get up on the podium twice,” Borchers said. “It would be a nice way to finish.”

Just like the Raiders start.

Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.