A ‘New World’

The head track coaches for the Marietta Tigers and Warren Warriors know what their athletes are up against when they travel to Pickerington today to compete in Division I regional track action.

“Regionals are tough,” said Warren girls head coach Sally Maddox following Thursday’s district meet at Don Drumm Stadium.

“There is a lot of tough competition up there.”

Maddox’s Lady Warriors had a nice showing at the district meet, finishing fourth out of eight teams and qualifying nine girls for the regional meet.

Danielle Church (800), Hannah Dugan (3200), Raelyn Gardner (Pole vault, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Josey Riffle (100 hurdles), Emma Ryan (Shot put, discus) and the 4 by 800 meter relay team of Natalie O’Dell, Sydney Brague, Raeli Barnes and Marlee Stollar will all represent the Warren girls team at Pickerington.

A fourth-place finish or better in any event means a chance to compete at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State for the state meet.

Ryan, bound for Ohio University in the fall, is no stranger to the state meet as she is looking to get there for the fourth year in a row.

“We hope to get a couple girls on to state,” Maddox said. “We’ll root for all of them and see what happens but it’s a different world up there.”

Marietta boys head coach B.J. Mayer echoed Maddox’s words.

“It’s a whole new world up there,” he said. “We’ll go up there and see what we can do. That’s all you can do.”

Mayer’s squad will send four athletes to Pickerington. Mitchell Grose (1600, 3200), Will Cogswell (Pole vault) and Quinton Coffield (200) all return to the regional meet while Caleb Hall (Pole vault) is a first-timer.

Grose smoked his competition at the district and ECOL meets and figures to have a great chance of representing the orange and black at state.

Two more Tigers on the girls side are regional-bound. Julie Fobes claimed a district championship in the 1600 meter run and was runner-up in the 800 to Warren’s Church. Erica Dawson is the other Lady Tiger competing at Pickerington as she was a second-place finisher in the 300 meter hurdles at Don Drumm.

“Both of them are going to have to work really hard to be able to get out of regionals,” said Marietta girls head coach Mollie Schramm. “It’s very difficult competition. It’s just a whole ‘nother level and everybody’s good at that level.”

Like its female counterparts, the Warren boys team will be have nine athletes competing today in the regional.

Cole Wigal was a district co-champion, along with Marietta’s Cogswell, in the pole vault. Warren’s other qualifiers were Parker Blain (3200, 4 by 800), Sam Goodman (3200, 4 by 800), Eli Duff (300 hurdles, long jump), Mark McDermott (300 hurdles) and Blake Staley (Discus). Aaron Mazurkiewicz and Austin Antil will join Blain and Goodman as legs in the 4 by 800 relay.

Warren head coach Al Riffey said it will take everyone’s top effort to advance on to state.

“The big thing is to get there,” he said. “You’ve got to do your absolute best because, when you go to Pickerington, as good as our people are, those big schools up there probably have eight or nine of our best kids on their team.”

Preliminaries and finals for the boys pole vault, girls high jump, boys long jump, girls shot put and boys discus will take place today, along with the finals for both 4 by 800 relays and semifinals for the rest of the races. The remaining fields events and the finals for the races will resume on Friday.