Another year, another epic state meet
COLUMBUS — The heat sheets and time schedule come first.
Sift through the names, find the ones from Mahoning and Trumbull Counties, along with those from Grand Valley, Pymatuning Valley, Garfield and Windham.
Blue highlighter, sometimes yellow. Whatever is the closest in hand. Use it and start marking those local names.
That’s the plan a couple days before making the pilgrimage across I-76 and down I-71.
Destination? Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. State track and field meet, an event I’ve covered for this paper since 2001. Ironically, that year it was in Dayton. Good facility. Great hosts. Just an hour west of Columbus on I-70. If you’ve ever went that way, you know that drive is a snoozer.
The meet in Columbus returned in 2004. There’s those memorable moments at the state meet, must-see moments and athletes — ones that will keep you awake. Here’s a couple of record breakers set at The Ohio State University facility.
The brevity of silence before 10,000-plus filled the stadium with a wall of sound heading eastward, seeing then-Cleveland Glenville hurdler and current NFL wide receiver Ted Ginn dominate the Division I 110-meter hurdles in a time of 13.40 seconds, which is the state meet and stadium records to this day. No one has come close.
Boardman’s Mark Lipinsky took third in that race with 13.96 and former Ohio State receiver and GlenOak standout Brian Hartline, who later played for the Cleveland Browns, took fourth (14.06). Hartline won the state title the next season.
However, it isn’t the state record. That still belong to Ohio State legend Chris Nelloms from Dayton Dunbar, who ran 13.30 in 1990 when the meet was held at Ohio Stadium. Ginn did run 13.26 in the state semifinals in 2004, but ran a wind-aided time, clocked a 2.8-miles per hour, deeming the time not a state record.
Saturday, these eyes saw another legendary figure down the straightway of Jesse Owens Stadium — Dublin Coffman’s Abby Steiner. The University of Kentucky-bound sprinter and soccer player won seven state championships in the individual Division I 100- and 200-meter runs. She’s swept all four years of 200 races in Division I, but only three in the 100.
The only roadblock to four straight there was former Warren G. Harding standout and Syracuse University runner Justice Richardson in 2015. Richardson ran 11.85 to Steiner’s 11.89. That’s the last time Steiner would be denied in the 100 as she exacted revenge over the WGH standout by winning 11.87 to 11.89 in 2016.
Saturday, Steiner ran 11.38 seconds in the 100 and 22.73 in the 200. Her 100 time is ranked sixth in the nation, while the times are all state, state meet and stadium records.
The last time someone dominated the girls side was Girard’s Cachet Murray, who won four straight Division II 100 and 200 state titles and two in the long jump in her junior and senior years.
She held state records in the 100 and 200 for more than a decade until Findlay Liberty-Benton’s Michaela Butler broke her 100 mark in 2015 with 11.67.
Murray set the state records in the 100 and 200 back in 2004 when she was a junior with 11.82 and 24.05.
Her 200 record fell Saturday to Beachwood’s Mia Knight, who won the 100 earlier in the day, with 23.96. Knight’s 11.65 in the 100 broke Butler’s record.
Then, almost a decade ago, there’s the pure power coming from Canfield in Dustin Brode. The shot put thrower went 71 feet, 7.5 inches in 2010. It still stands as an Owens Stadium Record. It was amazing seeing the Cardinals thrower brush the shot put off his chin and heave it farther than his competition.
Then, it goes without saying, there’s Chad Zallow, the former John F. Kennedy standout and Youngstown State hurdler.
He set the state-meet record in 2015 in the 110 hurdles in Division III with 13.62 (a time he’d like to see when he competes in the NCAAs Wednesday night). Soon after, riding the momentum, Zallow went 10.55 seconds in the 100. Those state-meet records remain to this day.
Another is McDonald’s Matthias Tayala, who was one half of the Blue Devils boys team that won the D-III state team title. Tayala’s mark of 193-3 still stands at the discus area outside Jesse Owens.
There’s more records out there to be broke in Columbus in years to come, hopefully ones that are on my list to cover.