COLUMBUS—West Geauga’s Daniel Kearns and Perry’s Brayden Richards claimed state championships at the 2023 OHSAA Division II Track & Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
According to The News-Herald’s Chris Lillstrung, Kearns became the first Wolverine runner to win a state title since 1952 when Jerry Elliott won the Class B title in the mile.
Kearns won the two-mile in 9:25.60.
“I knew I could kick the last eight,” Kearns said. “I was debating kicking the last 12, but I didn’t think I could hold it at the time. It wasn’t about people behind me. It was about holding this kick as long as possible.”
After leading the Wolverines to a state runner-up finish in the 4×800-meter relay on Friday, Kearns was determined to climb to the top of the podium in the 3200.
“I was just seeking more motivation in my head,” he said. “I was thinking of all the training and the pain and suffering I’ve gone through with the training. I was thinking about outside things; I tried to keep it as fast as possible at the end.”
Kearns’ performance led the Wolverines to a 10th place finish as a team with 18 points.
Richards also had extra motivation on Saturday as he chased down the 300-meter hurdles state title.
He placed third in the pole vault on Friday, but that effort was marred by a broken pole on his second attempt at 16 feet. He also missed this third attempt and settled for third place.
That setback lingered overnight, and he came back determined to make up for it in the hurdles.
He did that and more when he ran a 37.61 to break his brother Javin’s school record and he outran the competition to claim his title.
“You know, this is great,” Richards told The News-Herald. “I came here, ran the 300 hurdles and broke (Javin’s school record). But I was not expecting to run a 37.6. I was hoping for that 37.9 range. But all of the competition and all the adrenaline helped me a lot.”
Thanks to Richards, the Pirates finished with 16 points, good for 11th as a team.
Hawken’s Leila Metres earned All-Ohio honors in two events.
She finished third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.68 seconds, and sixth in the 200 in 25.17.
Hawken’s Nick Garcia-Whitko placed fourth in the 1600 with a time of 4:18.07, and the Hawks finished third in the 4×100-meter relay.
Dominic Johnson, Jordan Johnson, Vlad Estrin, and Christian Anderson teamed up to finish that race in 42.43 seconds.
Wickliffe’s Colby Humbert added to the Chagrin Valley Conference contingent of All-Ohioans by finishing seventh in the 400-meter dash in 50.03 seconds, and Edgewood’s Sarah Coxon and Geneva’s Alyssa Palmisano placed seventh and eighth, respectively in the shot put.
Coxon tossed the shot 38 feet, ¾ inches while Palmisano had a best throw of 37-7 ½.
Beachwood’s 4×400-meter relay team of Braylen Eaton, Max Page, Vincent Crenshaw, and David Steckner earned a seventh-place finish with a time of 3:24.19.
Geneva’s Connor Boland stood on the podium following two top eight finishes in the Division I championships on Saturday.
Boland placed fifth in the 100 with a time of 10.71 and second in the 400 with a time of 47.46. He was the defending state champion in the 400.