Two from Trumbull accomplish rare doubles

Staff photo / Brad Emerine Maplewood freshman Caleigh Richards stands on the podium after winning the Division III 3200 run at the state meet on Saturday. She also won the Division III state title in cross country last fall.

COLUMBUS — Two Trumbull County athletes accomplished rare double feats on Saturday during their respective state track meets.

Niles senior Chante Clinkscale won state titles in the girls 100- and 200-meter dashes in the Division II meet held at Pickerington North. Meanwhile, 25 miles and 31 minutes away at Westerville North, Maplewood freshman Caleigh Richards won the Division III girls 3200 to give her a season sweep after winning the state cross country crown last fall.

Clinkscale finished the 100 in 11.86 seconds and the 200 in 24.3.

“My goal coming in was to win both,” said Clinkscale, who will take her talents to the University of Dayton on a scholarship. “I won the 60 and 200 in the indoor state meet, so I had confidence I could do this. But you can’t put anything into a picture frame until the job is done.

“This means a lot to me, our coaches and to Niles. The last time we had a girls state champion was in the 1980s. I hope this puts Niles back on the map.”

Clinkscale was eighth in the 100 at state as a sophomore.

“This was the first time she ran the 200 at state,” coach Alan Caldwell said. “She ran a wonderful 100, nearly perfect, and that set her up for the 200. We figured out a strategy after the prelims when she didn’t see (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s Kya Epps) come up on her, and it worked just as we thought.

“I’m so, so proud of her and I think Niles is, too. It’s been over 20 years since we had a champion and she did it twice today.”

Richards won in 11:07.23.

“I knew coming into to it that I had a shot based on the times statewide, and I have some confidence after last fall,” Richards said. ” But that doesn’t mean too much given the amount of great competitors here. It could be anybody’s day.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a bad day. It was awesome. I just pushed to the very end. Whoever went out, unless they went out front crazy hard, I was going to stick with them.”

Richards became the first Maplewood girls track athlete to win a state championship.

“It’s an honor to be able to win today because I know we’ve never had a girl win a state track title,” she said. “It’s pretty humbling and exciting to be the first.”

The Mahoning Valley won six state championships on Saturday. In Division III, McDonald junior Ryan Henry won the boys discus (170 feet, 2 inches) and Valley Christian’s 4×100 relay won in 42.86. In the Division I meet at Hilliard Darby, Canfield junior Nick Plant won the 800 in 1:49.79.

Kennedy senior Jesse Likens was runner-up in the Division III boys 100 with an 11.28 to follow only Dalton’s Ozzie Miller (11.20). Likens competed in the 100 and 200 at state as a sophomore and did not place.

“That’s something you dream of your whole life, competing in the state championship meet in the finals,” Likens said. “And it comes and goes that quick. It’s so fast, it’s crazy. I was well prepared and I ran my best race I could today and I got what I got. You can’t be upset about (finishing second) when you put the work in and do the best you can.”

Also placing second were Girard junior Ricky Marsico in the Division II boys 800 (1:55.36) and Fitch senior Nate Leskovac in the Division I boys high jump (6-6).

Marsico was second behind Woodridge’s Zayd Elkurd (1:55.23) and Dover’s Joey Farthing edged Leskovac with a 6-7.

“Nate is pretty disappointed because clearly his goal was to win it all,” Fitch coach Seth Steiner said. “He was the leader going into the finals after bouncing back from a slow start. He’s resilient and he bounced back great. He made 6-6 on his first try and (Farthing) made it on his last try. But (Farthing) made 6-7 on his second try and Nate never made that. He’s upset because his PR is 6-8, so the title was attainable for him.”

Other girls who placed included Girard sophomore Sieasia Triplett in the 200 (sixth, 25.85) and in the 100 (seventh, 12.61) in Division II, Champion senior Kaylee Gania in the Division II long jump (sixth, 17-3 1/4) and Howland sophomore Courtney Clark in the Division I shot put (sixth, 41-3).

Clark, who has a PR of 41-9, was the highest-placing underclassmen in the field.

“My main goal was to get on the podium,” she said. “I didn’t want to set the bar higher and be disappointed. My best throw was on point and I came smiling back to my coach. Now I’m going to make sure I get in the weight room a lot and see what I can do next year.”

Other area boys placing were Garfield junior Ryan Stoller in the Division II 110 hurdles (sixth, 15.40) and Mineral Ridge seniors Randall Miller in the 110 hurdles (sixth, 15.53) and Nathan Kurjan in the 3,200 (seventh, 10:03.13) in Division III.


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