Fenwick senior pulls off best surprise, placing third in state

Fenwick senior Jonathon Hoerlein was sure he belonged among the state’s best in his specialty, the long jump. But that changed after closing on 23 feet in the midseason.

“I was really surprised just coming here because it’s my first time at state,” he said during Friday’s Division II state track and field meet at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “I’m the only one on my team, too, so it’s really putting my school on the line.”

Hoerlein represented well. His personal best launch of 22 feet, 11.5 inches was good for third.

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The only running final on Friday was the girls and boys 4x800-meter relay in all three divisions. All the other Friday racing was to qualify for Saturday’s finals.

All of the D-III field events were contested on Friday and half the D-II events. All of the D-I field events were scheduled for Saturday.

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Hoerlein experienced a tremendous growth spurt, shooting from 5 feet 9 as a freshman to 6-4 as a senior. That stretch also coincided with new-found hops. He didn’t start long jumping seriously until last year.

“It was about midseason when I went 22-5 at Winton Woods,” he recalled. “I thought, I can go to state this year. I kept working on it from there.”

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He also nearly launched himself out of the landing pit and was fortunate not to have hurt himself. He brushed a side retaining board while landing nearly out of the pit.

“I put my foot down to plant and my ankle slipped to the right,” he said. “I almost went out; it was super close. I was a bit scared of hitting my head on the side.”

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• Lakota East was in position to be super-charged by senior distance standout Dustin Horter and sophomore sprinter Serena Clark.

Horter is the defending D-I state champ in the 1,600. He’s enters with the state’s best clocking and burned a 4:08.38 in winning as a junior. He also is entered in the 3,200, but will face fresh competition from a deep field, including returning state runner-up Matt Scrape of Pickerington Central (9:00.87).

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As expected, Clark advanced in the 100 (11.72) and 200 (24.33). However, she’ll be hard pressed to overcome Dublin Coffman senior Abby Steiner, who reset her all-time meet and stadium records in the 100 (11.47) and 200 (23.17).

Clark also anchored East to the best final qualifying time in the 4x100 relay (47.47).

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• Fairfield senior Tyra Kennedy should be a contender in the 100 hurdles. She qualified fourth (14.40).

• Middletown junior Conant Smith also should contend in the D-I 3,200.

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