COLUMBUS - It's amazing the difference in emotions in just a week's time.
A week ago, area competitors in Division II were racking up berths in the state track meet left and right.
However, once again this year, the Division II state meet was simply a different story for area competitors who ran into a very tough field at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Martins Ferry’s Sean McGee is presented his seventh-place medal after the Division II state shot put competition held Friday morning in Columbus. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
St. Clairsville’s Jaylon Brown sprints toward the finish line in the Division II 100 meter dash semifinal Friday afternoon. Brown qualified for both the 100 and 200 meter dash finals today.
Martins Ferry got on the scoreboard for the second straight season thanks to senior standout Sean McGee.
The shot putter earned his second consecutive all-Ohio finish with a throw of 53-ft-11 3/4, which was good enough for seventh place. He was a fifth-place medalist last season.
McGee, who is still unsure on his future plans, had some anxious moments during the event. Throwing in the first flight, McGee had just one mark on the board at 52-ft-0 3/4. However, that was good enough to squeak into the finals as the ninth thrower. From there, he moved up the ladder on his second-to-last throw.
"It was a little nerve-wracking waiting through that second flight," McGee said. "Once, I got in the finals, I knew all of the pressure was off and I only had three more throws left in my career, so I just let it all go."
Though disappointed he didn't finish higher, McGee was still pleased to get on the podium again.
"I never expected to be all-Ohio twice in the shot," McGee said. "I wasn't too bad as a freshman, but I never thought I'd be here twice."
Cambridge's Eric Fox finished second in the pole vault. He soared over 15-feet and trailed only three-time state champion Matt Rowland of Bellvue.
On the track, only three area competitors qualified for the Division II running finals.
St. Clairsville junior blazer Jaylon Brown continued his mission to get back to the awards podium after missing out last season in both the 100 and 200 meter dash. He blazed to a time of 10.95 in the 100 and is seeded sixth in today's final.
In the 200, Brown turned in a 21.93, which gained him an automatic berth in the final by virtue of his second-place finish in his heat. He owns the fourth-best time in the field.
Indian Creek's Alex Young continued his rise to track and field fame in the 400 meter dash. The Redskins' everyday shortstop has tamed one of track's most grueling races each time out since joining the team for the postseason.
Young ran around the Owens oval in 50.16, which was good enough for second in his heat and fifth-best overall.
Steubenville junior Robert Hayden grabbed the final spot in the 100 meter dash final, turning in a 11.07.
Several athletes, however, will compete today in distance races and field events in Division II.
St. C. senior Alyssa Robinson will try to end her brilliant prep career in grand style once again this morning. She'll go after a repeat state title in the shot put. She enters with the second-best mark in the field.
Robinson competed and finished 12th in the discus throw on Friday. The Penn State signee launched the platter to a mark of 114-ft-1.
Lady Red Devils' seniors Amy Castle and Julianna Madzia will be in the distance races. Castle will run in both the 1600 and 3200, while Madzia earned a trip here in the 3200.
St. C. senior Drake Walker will run in the 800 meters this afternoon as well.
Union Local's Kylie Russell will take part in this morning's pole vault.
Indian Creek's Max Lewis will join Walker in the 800 meter field this afternoon.
The balance of the Division II field failed to qualify to today or place.
St. Clairsville's Michael Eaton cleared 14-feet in the pole vault.
The Red Devils' 4x1 team of Brown, Jay Gossett, Isiah Green and Jesse Smith turned in a 44.28.
Martins Ferry's 4x1 team of Hunter Hill, Jack Fitch, Andrew Watts and Brian Styles posted a 45.11 in the sprint relay. The same foursome ran a 1:31.65 in the 4x2.
St. Clairsville's 4x2 team of Kennady Walker, Ayla Stewart, Alli Greenwood and Audra Vrotsos ran a 1:49.30. The St. C. 4x1 of Walker, Stewart, Vrotsos and Claire Slavik posted a 52.09.
Union Local's Collin Jones competed in the 300 intermediate hurdles. He finished in a time of 40.90.
Harrison Central's squad of Blake Yoho, James Thompson, Dakota Malcomb and Josh Moore posted a 3:29.63 in the 4x4.
Steubenville's Jaquan Lavender competed in the 400, but came up lame during the course of the race, but still managed to finish to a large round of applause.
Big Red's Joey Nodianos ran in the high hurdles, posting a 15.34. The Big Red 4x2 posted a 1:34.22.
Steubenville senior Toshchel Demus completed her prep career, running 15.47 in the high hurdles.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org