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State Track: Stechschulte reaches finals in four events for O-G

By TED RADICK
staff writer
COLUMBUS — Madison Stechschulte had big plans on how to spend her Friday night in Columbus after the first day of competition at the OHSAA Division II Track and Field Championships.
No, those plans didn’t include a night out on the town.
“An ice bath. A nice, big, long ice bath,” the Ottawa-Glandorf junior said after qualifying for today’s running event finals in all four of her events at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
The Division II girls meet continues today with field events at 9:30 a.m. Running event finals begin at 1 p.m.
Stechschulte set personal records Friday in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and helped O-G’s 800 and 1,600 relays to their best times of the season as the Titans got the state meet started in fine fashion.
Stechschulte started her day with a 12.29 in the 100, good for the seventh-best qualifying time. She joined Megan Siefker, Michelle Maag and Elissa Ellerbrock to run a 1:43.87 in the 800 relay, the No. 6 qualifying time.
She ran the 200 in 25.25, the fifth-best time, and ran a leg of the 1,600 relay with Maag, Ellerbrock and Anna Bellman. The Titans finished in 4:00.70, the No. 4 qualifying time.
“It was really hard, but I knew this was what I’ve worked hard for all year,” Stechschulte said. “I wasn’t going to let it just slip. I went the hardest I could and tried to make everything my best. I PR’ed today, so I’m pretty happy.
“It was pretty fun. It was a good day, a good day. Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow.”
Bellman, meanwhile, got a podium finish in the discus by taking fourth at 125-6.
“It’s been a dream ever since my freshman year when I made it to regionals and finished ninth,” she said of medaling at the state meet.
The junior knows of heartache. As a sophomore, she placed fifth at the regional meet and missed a trip to state by 1 inch. She wasn’t going to let her first crack at the discus go without a reward and threw her best toss on her first attempt.
“Today, I came in feeling great,” Bellman said. “I knew that I had to be relaxed to throw, and when I threw it came off great. I’m perfectly satisfied. My goal was to get on the podium and to throw well, and I met my goal.”
Bellman was calm from the moment she entered the discus cage, and even before.
“Yesterday we came down and I stood in the circle, and it was like I was at home,” she said. “I was not nervous at all.
“Today, I went out there and took a deep breath and just threw. It’s nice to get the first one out there so you can take a deep breath. It was amazing.”
Liberty-Benton also had a solid day in the running preliminaries. Sophomore Michaela Butler won her heats in the 100 (12.01) and 200 (25.05) and will enter today’s finals with the fastest prelim times in both events.
“It’s my second-best 100 time ever and my best of the season,” she said. “Hopefully, considering it’s so close, I’ll be able to break 12 tomorrow.”
Butler is the defending state champ in the 200 and sees room for improvement over her performance in the prelims.
“In the 200, I’m not very happy with the time so hopefully that will come tomorrow as well,” she said.
Butler, Katie Hyre, Kelsie May and Megan Peplinski advanced for L-B in the 400 relay (49.89).
“Speaking for myself, I was a little bit nervous that we’d be able to consistently run these 49s, and we’ve done that consistently,” Butler said.
“I love having the girls here and running with them in the relay is amazing. They know what they need to do, so I’m confident when I get the baton. I’m very happy when I think of how far we’ve come in this relay since the beginning of the season.”

Other Area Finishes
3,200 RELAY — 14, Liberty-Benton (Leah Recker, Mackenzie Briggs, Devony Miller, Taylor Thomas) 9:44.51.
Radick, 419-427-8405
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