SHELBY — Uriah Schwemley stunned just about everyone, including himself, when he won the Division II high jump state championship last spring.
Shelby’s ultra-athletic senior won’t have the luxury of sneaking up on anyone this weekend.
Schwemley earned a return trip to Columbus when he won a regional title with a leap of 6 feet, 7 inches last week at Lexington. He will be the second-seeded jumper when competition begins Saturday morning at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, behind only Springfield Sahwnee’s Robie Glass (6-8).
Last year’s state title capped a storybook season for Schwemley. He was talked into coming out for track for the first time in high school by fellow high jumper Cam Stine. The two had been teammates in junior high (Stine won a junior high state high jump title and Schwemley was second). Stine nearly joined Schwemley on the podium last spring, finishing ninth.
“Last year I was just kind of there,” Schwemley said. “This year I have to defend myself. There’s a little more pressure, but I feel like it is pushing me to do better to defend my title and defend my name.
“I feel like I’m ahead of where I was a year ago. I could have went higher (at the Lexington regional) but I decided to try for a school record instead. I feel like I’m more consistent.”
The Whippets are expected to challenge for the Division II team title this weekend thanks in no small part to a wildly talented distance crew headlined by Caleb Brown. The junior is the No. 1 seed in both the 1,600 (4:18.97) and 3,200 (9:36.16).
“I had pretty good competition in the mile. I’m trying to conserve (energy) and see where I’m at,” Brown said during the hour-long break between the 1,600 and 3,200 at Lexington last weekend. “You have to manage the heat and the elements, but everybody is dealing with it.”
Brown will be joined in both the 1,600 and 3,200 by teammate Sam Logan, while Shelby’s Blake Lucius is the No. 1 seed in the 800 (1:53.60). Brown, Logan and Lucius will be joined by Sam Swanger in the 4x800 relay. That quartet has the top time going into Friday’s finals.
Shelby’s 4x100 relay team of Schwemley, Grant Gossom, Caleb Henkel and Owen Fisher finished third at the Lex regional and is seeded fifth. Gossom earned an at-large state bid in the 200 after finishing fifth at the Lex regional.
Ontario’s Pitchell Pittman also earned an at-large big in the 800 and will be joined in Columbus by teammate Keandre Marlow. The senior won a regional title in the 110 hurdles and also qualified in the 300 hurdles.
“This is my first time trying hurdles and to make it to state is exciting,” Marlow said. “I’m happy to see what I do at state.”
Galion’s Colbey Fox won a regional title in the 400 and is part of the state-qualifying 4x200 relay team that includes Evan Barker, Kalib Griffin and Isaiah Alsip. Fox broke the school record in the 400 at the Lex regional.
“My biggest goal was to get the 400 record,” Fox said. “I’ve beat the school record twice, so now I’m trying to compete and run my best.”
Galion’s Jack McElligott qualified for state in the high jump, while freshman Hanif Donaldson won a regional title in the long jump with a leap of 22-4. Braxton Tate was regional runner-up in the 3,200.
Clear Fork freshman Ethan Staley will compete in the pole vault after earning an at-large bid with a regional vault of 14-feet. Bucyrus’ Harley Robinson-Koge qualified in the long jump.
Mansfield Senior’s Angelo Grose should be in contention for a long jump state title after winning a regional crown with a leap of 22-10.5. Grose has the top jump in the state this spring when he leaped 24-5.25 at Galion earlier this season.
Lexington’s Alex Green qualified in both the 100 and 200. Green finished second in the 200 at the Amherst regional and was third in the 100. Teammate Kyle Johnston qualified for state in the 800 after finishing second at Amherst.
Ashland’s 4x800 team of Daniel Arimi, Sam Boyer, Josh Hanley and Kaden Mendenhall won a regional title in 7:50.42 and is seeded fourth. Declan Rohr qualified in the pole vault.
Lucas’ Danny Desterhaft qualified in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. Desterhaft won a Tiffin regional title in the 110s and was runner-up in the 300s. Teammate Gavin Shindeldecker won a regional crown in the 1,600.
Colonel Crawford’s Alex Mutchler qualified in the pole vault, while teammate Braxton James earned an at-large bid in the 800. Both are members of Crawford’s qualifying 4x200 relay team, along with Alex Mutchler and Colton Rowland.
Wynford’s Alizhah Watson qualified individually in the 100 and as a member of the 4x100 relay team. He is joined by David and Kolten Bils and Matt McBride.
Crestview’s Ross Kuhn qualified in the 1600 and as a member of the 4x800 relay team, along with Leo Ringler, Ian Trent and James Barber.
Mapleton’s Drew Roberts won the Massillon Perry regional crown in the 3,200 by a whopping 15 seconds. Roberts is the No. 1 seed in the event.