EATON TWP. — If the grass is worn out behind the visitors stands at Adelsberg Stadium, you can blame Lucas Ball.
The Elyria Catholic senior was busy running back and forth between the pole vault and the discus Thursday afternoon and, more importantly, earned a regional bid in both events to highlight the opening day of the Midview Division II district meet.
“It’s new for me,” said Ball, a two-time state qualifier in the pole vault. “This running back and forth, I’m not really used to it, but I think it’s fun. It helps me stay nice and warm, so I don’t have to worry about tightening up.”
Ball opened his day by uncorking a toss of 138 feet, 11 inches in the discus on his second attempt to be among the leaders heading into the finals.
He then jogged over to the pole vault, where he cleared his opening height of 13 feet — more than enough to finish second — before taking a crack at breaking the meet record of 15-6.
Ball then had enough time to catch the final standings in the discus and celebrate earning the fourth and final bid to next week’s Lexington regional. Fellow Elyria Catholic standout Ted Achladis twirled the disc 154 feet for the title.
“I knew pole vault I would make it out, because all I had to do was get one bar, but discus I had to throw well,” Ball said. “Everything just felt good. The release felt good and, once I got used to the conditions, I was throwing really well. Not my best, but enough to get me through.”
He almost secured the perfect day as Ball tried 15-7 in the pole vault and had the would-be record by an inch, but barely knocked over the bar on his way down.
“I’m happy where I’m at,” he said of the pole vault. “I’ve got a pole I’ve never been on before, so we’re in good shape. I’m ready for next week.”
The Panthers’ performance in the discus was matched on the girls side as Lutheran West sisters Johanna and Sarah Ragland finished first and third, respectively, in the shot.
Johanna tossed the shot 41-1, while Sarah cleared 34-1.
A pair of local 3,200-meter relays punched their tickets to regionals, with Firelands and Vermilion moving on.
The Falcons’ team of Michael Adkins, Cullen Grude, Derek Reynolds and Jordan Ruffner clocked 8:26.78 and was the only unit able to handle the blistering pace set by eventual champ Bay (8:22.22).
“We didn’t run our best race,” Ruffner said. “I don’t know what it was, because coming in we were mentally prepared, but if we’re going to do it here at this meet, I would rather do it here and run our best times next week at regionals.”
Vermilion’s Justin Carlson, Ryley Miller, Zach Myracle and Austin Carlson locked up the final regional bid in 8:39.89.
In the girls 3,200 relay, Lutheran West was third in 10:30.81 to advance for the second straight year, thanks to the efforts of Anna Maxwell, Amanda Elkins, Olivia Vasiloff and Michaela Bierly.
“This was the first time in a long time that I haven’t felt sluggish or tired or my legs heavy,” said Bierly, a Vermilion resident. “This feels good. Last year we were fourth, so it feels really good to make it again this year.”
Long after the high jump competition was over, Vermilion senior Hannah Bartlome was still there practicing. The two-time All-Ohioan and 2013 district champ was third, clearing the bar at 5-0.
Orrville’s Trinnity Hall won the event with a leap of 5-2, while Buckeye’s Olivia Hartley beat out Bartlome on misses for runner-up.
“My approach has been messed up for a couple of weeks now,” said Bartlome, who has battled back from a high ankle sprain sustained during basketball season. “I thought I could clear 5-2 because I normally do, but I didn’t. That’s all it was.
“The district meets aren’t usually my best meets, I usually make my best meet regionals. So it’s nice to know I still have some in me.”
Keystone’s Jenna Quillen was fourth with a jump of 4-10 to round out the local regional qualifiers.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
Top four relays and individuals advance to next week’s Lexington Regional.
Team standings (after 4 events): T-1. Orrville, Northwestern 26, 3. Elyria Catholic 23, 4. Bay 18, 5. Norwayne 10, 6. Triway 9, 7. Firelands 8, 8. Chippewa 7½, 9. Waynedale 6½, 10. Vermilion 5, T-11. Buckeye, Brookside 4, T-13. Fairview, Wellington, Keystone 3.
(Top 4 placers in each event)
Discus: 1. Ted Achladis (EC) 154-0, 2. Peter Sullivan (Bay) 143-4, 3. Jeff Burkholder (Nwn) 141-7, Lucas Ball (EC) 138-11.
Long jump: 1. Lincoln Ballinger (O) 21-8½, 2. Malachi Nolletti (Nwn) 21-1½, 3. Tyler Smith (Nwn) 21-1½, 4. Kyle Strock (T) 20-6¼.
Pole vault: 1. Brock Morris (Nor) 14-0, 2. Ball (EC) 13-0, T-3. Nico Veemara (O), Zeke Rhamy (Way) 12-6.
3,200 relay: 1. Bay 8:22.22, 2. Firelands 8:26.78, 3. Northwestern 8:36.73, 4. Vermilion 8:39.89.
Team standings (after 3 events): 1. Orrville 30, 2. Lutheran West 22, 3. Triway 20, 4. Northwestern 12, 5. Buckeye 8, 6. Vermilion 6, 7. Keystone 5, 8. Chippewa 4, T-9. Fairview, Clearview 3, 11. Elyria Catholic 2, T-12. Brookside, Firelands 1.
(Top 4 placers in each event)
Shot put: 1. Johanna Ragland (LW) 41-1, 2. Mariah Cruise (T) 39-4 ½, 3. Sarah Ragland (LW) 34-1, 4. Emily Dawson (T) 33-10¼.
High jump: 1. Trinniti Hall (O) 5-2, 2. Olivia Hartley (Buc) 5-0, 3. Hannah Bartlome (V) 5-0, 4. Jenna Quillen (K) 4-10.
3,200 relay: 1. Orrville 10:13.66, 2. Northwestern 10:22.40, 3. Lutheran West 10:30.81, 4. Triway 10:33.64.