COLUMBUS — Mount Vernon hurler Lucas Ferguson stood on the podium for the third straight year as an All-Ohio athlete on Saturday. Actually, he got to do it twice.
The senior placed third in the discus and eighth in the shot put among Division I boys at the 2009 OHSAA Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
Ferguson hurled the discus 182-foot-4, which was just shy of his personal record. Only Corey Linsley of Youngstown Boardman (191-2) and Cody Riffle of Toledo St. Johns (191-1) bested him.
“My warm-ups went pretty good,” said Ferguson, who wanted to do better. “I just didn’t get it done. I was up against two guys who both PR’d today and I didn’t.”
His best toss in the shot put (53-2) was short of the top throw of the day by Dustin Brode of Canfield (62-11 1/4). Linsley took second (62-9) and Riffle was third (62-0 1/2).
“It didn’t feel too good,” Ferguson said. “It was slipping in my hand.”
Ferguson, who wrapped of a great career with the Yellow Jackets, was expecting to do even better than he did.
“I got sixth my sophomore year, third last year and I thought that I would do better than third this year, but I didn’t,” he said. “I was hoping, if I went three times, I would get a state championship out of it, but I never did and that’s all that really matters.”
Teammate Danae Rockwell is also an All-Ohio athlete after running a stellar 100-meter hurdles. She placed fourth in girls Division I with a time of 14.67 seconds. She finished behind Hilliard Davidson’s Brittany Cheese (14.20), Euclid’s Tamica Harbour (14.28) and Amber Smith of Cleveland Collingwood (14.37).
“Everything went right,” said a relieved Rockwell. “There was a slight headwind so my time was just a little bit slow.”
Rockwell is just thankful to have a chance to compete with champions.
“Last year, I was 11th in the state, and when I told some people, they would say, ‘That’s OK, you’ll do better next year,’” said Rockwell. “Sometimes people don’t realize that there are hundreds of girls going for this and it takes so much to just get here. Even being 15th of 16th is fabulous. Standing on the podium is awesome.”
Sarah Baker, who was an All-Ohio top-25 finisher in cross country last fall, finished 14th in the Division I girls 3,200-meter run. The junior wanted a better time than her 11:33.83, but was happy to do so well in her first try in the state track championships.
“My time was not what I wanted it to be,” said Baker. “You just have to expect for a group like this to be fast and you have to mentally pace yourself where you know you can place. You don’t want to burn yourself out.”
Baker has another year to reach the podium in track.
“Next year, I hope to do a lot better than I did,” said Baker. “Some of my competition will be gone. You know there will be freshmen coming up, but hopefully, I will be strong enough to get back here and get All-Ohio in my senior year.”
Fredericktown’s Isaac Potes ascended the podium as an All-Ohio athlete after a seventh-place finish in the boys Division III 3,200, turning in a 9:41.81. Nick Gilha of Garfield Heights posted a 9:28.16 to win the event. Potes, who was battling a handful of runners for the final few spots, was a solid eighth as he entered the final lap.
“I was just running it the best I can,” said Potes. “I was just hoping I would do well.”
From there, the pace built to a crescendo at the finish with several runners, including Potes, leaning into the finish to get those final spots on the podium. Potes was one of the fortunate ones.
“The pace got hot at the end,” said Potes. “The pack just has a mind of its own. I don’t judge. I just go with it. I just got a good lean in at the end. (Going to the podium) was the goal.”
Justin Hornick of Johnstown, who was running out of gas in the final lap, managed 13th place in the Division II boys 3,200. He was happy to run 9:48.61, which was close to his PR.
“I left it all in the track,” said Hornick. “It was a fast group. I tried to make a run at it, but I couldn’t.”
Johnstown’s Mychelle Furlan, coming off a disappointing performance in the girls Division II discus on Friday, made the most of her attempts in the girls Division II shot put on Saturday. Furlan finished fifth overall with a best toss of 40-2 3/4.