By Chris Chaney
The best competition in the state combined with adverse weather conditions prevented Clermont County from welcoming home a state champion in track and field in 2013. But for the five student-athletes who competed at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, each saw their seasons end as a success.
In Division II, New Richmond’s Olivia Behymer and Hannah Hall both placed at the state meet, while Goshen’s pair of Tiera Martinelli and Calvin Phillips did not have their best days, but were able to accomplish an early-season goal of reaching the biggest stage in high school track and field.
The Lady Lions’ pair of junior state qualifiers headed into the state meet with some of the highest expectations draped upon them. Hall qualified as one of the top jumpers in the state, winning the regional championship at the University of Dayton’s Welcome Stadium clearing 5-feet-4 inches.
Behymer qualified in one of her three regular events — the 400-meter dash — finishing in third place at the regional meet.
As the lone pair of athletes still active, New Richmond head coach Terri Flamm had the difficult task of training just two athletes.
“We had a full week of practice before the meet,” Flamm said. “Practicing with two kids, it’s kind of hard to get them motivated when they’re the only two on the track, but those two are dedicated and goal-oriented, so practice went well throughout the week. Hannah jumped well, Olivia ran hard.”
Hall competed in one of the first events of the meet, competing at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 7, but weather conditions were not ideal for jumping. She was only able to clear 5-feet, placing her in eighth overall.
“She didn’t have her best jumping day,” Flamm said. “The weather wasn’t great for high jumping.
“Winning regionals at 5-4 and to have only cleared 5-foot, she was a little disappointed, but on the other hand last year she didn’t make the podium at all, so to move up and be on the podium was a good deal for her.”
As for Behymer, she stayed consistent with her qualifying time, finishing fifth with a run of 57.52.
“She had the fifth fastest time going in and she finished fifth, again place higher than her freshman year (when she last qualified)” Flamm said. “It’s always good to improve and she ran her third fastest time ever. She ran well, but it was a really strong field.
“A big thing about her is that she is so routine oriented that not being able to run that 100 dash before the 400 changes the rhythm of things.”
Both Lady Lions are juniors and will be competing in indoor track in the offseason, which Flamm believes will help them to gain an edge entering their senior seasons.
Also on the girls’ side in Division II was Goshen’s Tiera Martinelli competing in the pole vault. Martinelli qualified via a fourth-place finish at regionals, clearing 10-feet-6 inches. She was only able to clear a foot shorter at the state meet, tying her for a 12th-place finish.
“Tiera has had an injured ankle pretty much all season long,” Goshen head coach Jack Bailey said. “We had to take (her training) easy on her from time to time. We tried to give her some days off last week, but it was still bothering her at the state meet. She cleared 9-6, but when it got to 10-feet, she just didn’t have the speed down the runway because of her sore foot.”
Martinelli’s male teammate ,Phillips, the lone male from Clermont, advanced to the state meet by virtue of his third-place finish at the regional meet where he threw the shot put 50-feet-9.25 inches. At the state, Phillips didn’t have his best day, throwing a long of 47-feet-10.75 inches.
“He didn’t have his best day (at state),” Bailey said. “He had thrown 50-plus feet three times before and couldn’t do it up there and so he didn’t finish as high as he would prefer.”
Despite disappointing state meets for the Warriors, both had successful seasons, Bailey said. Both set a goal heading into the season to reach the state meet, which they were able to accomplish.
In Division III, the lone state qualifier was Felicity-Franklin’s 100-meter hurdler Arica Stutz. Stutz finished fourth in the regional meet with a time of 15.71 seconds, garnering the last spot for state.
In Columbus, Stutz, a three-time state qualifier, was the recipient of some bad luck, nearly getting knocked down during her preliminary race.
“It happens every meet, it’s inevitable for someone to hit somebody else during a hurdle race,” Stutz explained. “I got hit and almost fell because of it and so I got put behind and needed to finish fourth to make to the finals, but I only got fifth.”
Despite the rash of bad luck, Stutz rebounded to run a respectable 15.80, missing out on qualifying for the final by .13 seconds, leaving her with an 11th place finish overall.
Stutz, a senior, will not return to the state meet for a fourth time, but she will continue to run track next year at Northern Kentucky University.