COLUMBUS - A pair of Wellsville Tigers made their marks in a big way at the Division III state track meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Junior Shartece Taylor was the state runner-up in the girls 100-meter dash, racing to a personal-best time of 12.38 seconds.
Taylor used a huge jump to get in front of the rest of her competition. She led around the halfway point when Canton Central Catholic junior Kate Mokros managed to pass her.
"Usually my start is the worst part of my race," Taylor said. "Everyone starts all neck-and-neck, so I try to get ahead while I can. Yesterday I didn't come out as hard."
Despite the quick start, Taylor finished with the exact time she had in preliminaries on Friday. Still, after finishing fifth in regionals last year by one tenth of a second, missing out on state by a single spot, Taylor is satisfied with her result.
"For my first time here, I feel like I succeeded," Taylor said. "I know I did my best. I'm very satisfied."
Taylor also finished seventh in the 200 dash (25.95).
Mokros finished just ahead of Taylor in winning the Division III 100 dash (12.32) and 200 dash (25.25).
It's possible that Taylor improves her 200 result in her senior season, but it may be difficult to move up in the 100 dash. With both Taylor and Mokros returning for one final season, there may be a two-way battle for next year's crown.
"That's what I'm working on," Taylor said. "I want to top the podium. I'm going to work as hard as I can every single day. I'm going to do summer track so I can stay focused. I want to be the one on top of the podium next year."
Taylor's state runner-up finish is the highest by a Wellsville girl since 1996 when Amanda Davidson was the Division III state champion in the 100 hurdles.
Wellsville freshman Michael Reiner also competed at Columbus, though his situation was a unique. Reiner ran in the inaugural wheelchair event, finishing ninth in the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 30.70 seconds.Westland junior Tim Bailey won the event in 17.28.
"It was definitely an honor," Reiner said. "I wanted to represent where I'm from. I love where I'm from. They're the ones who got me the wheelchair and allowed me to compete in this in the first place."
It was a historic moment for both Reiner and Ohio track as a whole. Getting to compete in front of a packed Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is an experience very few are exposed to, let alone participating in the very first event of its kind.
"I'm very privileged to get to compete here," Reiner said. "There was such an incredible crowd. It was sweet. It was the first time, it wasn't second time, wasn't the third time. I'll always remember it. It's something to be proud of."
East Liverpool senior Nate Boyer finished 13th in the boys 3200 run (9:56.55) in his first state track appearance. Defians senior Abel Flores of Defiance won in 9:29.21.
Edison junior Katelyn Pollock finished 13th in the Division II girls long jump (16-1 1/4).