May 3, 2016


State Track: Avon Lake’s Max Seipel stays confident, finishes 2nd in discus

Avon Lake’s Max Seipel throws 179 feet, 6 inches to take second in the discus at the Division I state meet. RAY RIEDEL/CHRONICLE

Avon Lake’s Max Seipel throws 179 feet, 6 inches to take second in the discus at the Division I state meet. RAY RIEDEL/CHRONICLE

COLUMBUS — Max Seipel didn’t allow the negatives from shot put Saturday to sap his energy or compromise his confidence. Remaining headstrong, the Avon Lake senior rebounded to earn a second place in the discus at the Division I meet.

Seipel threw the discus 179 feet, 6 inches in the first round of finals to run away with second place. He took over second after prelims with a toss of 168 feet.

Fremont Ross senior Jared Ballenger took the top spot with 182-10. Ballenger will be Seipel’s roommate at Ohio State.

The way the day started was anything but good. Seipel fouled three of six attempts in shot put.

The most frustrating was on his sixth and final attempt. He fell out of the front of the ring with a potential 61-foot toss. He ended up in eighth (55-6¾). Seipel was sixth last year (57-6½).

“I’m very happy,” he said. “Shot put was upsetting. I went all out on my last throw. That was frustrating, but I’m very happy with how discus turned out.”

Seipel threw 179-6, 175-11 and 177 on his final three throws as the remainder of the field struggled. Tri-Valley senior Collin Prouty was a distant third (167-6).

“I was just trying to get my mark in (for discus) in prelims and wasn’t going my normal speed,” Seipel said. “For finals I just let it loose and let everything out of the tank. I felt pretty good.

“I got comfortable after the prelims. To lose to my future college roommate isn’t too bad. This puts the Buckeyes on top.”

“It was a good series for Max,” Avon Lake assistant Bob D’Andrea said. “His footwork was a little off for shot. Fortunately, he made up for it in discus. I was pleased with how he threw. Many of the other throwers were struggling.”

Wayne junior Robert Landers won the shot put (61-4¾) as he held off Mentor senior John Maurins (61-3).

Seipel entered the state tournament as the No. 2 seed (180-1) in discus to Ballenger (182-0). Seipel was making his first state appearance for discus and second for shot put.

“I’ve practiced in this (discus) ring before, last summer at camps,” Seipel said. “There wasn’t too much to adjust to. The key was just to try and have fun and to let loose. This was my last time throwing in high school for Avon Lake. I just wanted to have fun with it.”

Seipel’s second was the first top-two finish by an Avon Lake boy since Trey Stross won the 2005 Division I state high jump title.

“I think not throwing well in shot put loosened me up for discus,” Seipel said. “It reminded me that I needed to have fun with it. I needed to stop thinking so much.

“I think it actually helped me in discus. I could definitely have been hard on myself, but I pushed through it. Shot put was done and over. There was nothing I could do about it. I just needed to focus on discus.”

Amherst senior Mike Kardos finished fifth in the 800 meters with a personal-record 1:54.05. He turned the trick despite being seeded No. 14 (1:55.45).

“It’s a good way to come out of my high school career,” Kardos said. “I lived my whole life under my father’s (Mike) shadow. My dad ended his career with a sixth place (400 meters, 49.04 in 1988). It’s no sweeter feeling than to do one place better than my dad.”

Last year, Kardos placed 11th in the 800 (1:56.10). His performance Saturday was the best by an Amherst boy for that distance since Gianni Catalano took second in 2007 (1:53.92).

“I’m a lot stronger runner now,” Kardos said. “I can’t thank my coaches enough. It wasn’t just individual All-Ohio. It’s for all my teammates, all my coaches and my family because they mean the most. They’re the reason why I ran this race today.”

Lancaster senior Stephen Sparks won the race in 1:51.59 as he beat out Granville senior Tyler Otterstedt (1:52.82).

The Amherst girls 1,600-meter relay of sophomore Undrea Ballard, senior Lexi O’Connor, junior Alexis Szivan and senior Sher Champe redeemed itself from a rough semifinal to place sixth in 3:55.45. The Comets entered the final the No. 9 seed (3:57.70) after entering the state tournament as the fourth seed (3:54.72).

“We did the best we could do,” Szivan said. “We’re pretty happy with that. The level of competition was so much tougher than regionals.”

Pickerington Central was the class of the field (3:50.59), with Mason second (3:51.79). Fourth-place Gahanna Lincoln (3:54.01) and Amherst were the only teams back from last year’s state final.

Szivan earned additional All-Ohio honors 40 minutes earlier with a seventh place in the 800 (2:13.78). Champe was 13th in the same event (2:16.23). Thomas Worthington senior Ashley Forte won (2:09.55), followed by Centerville junior Alexa Jennings (2:09.73).

“I was hoping to do better in the 800,” Szivan said. “The lead pack just really picked it up. I wasn’t ready to go with them, but it was nice to do better than last year (13th, 2:19.76).”

Lorain senior Jocelynn Rogers earned the fourth All-Ohio award of her career. The 10-time state qualifier finished sixth in the 200 meters in 25.06. Solon senior Jelvon Butler (23.98) edged Lakota East senior Autumn Heath (23.99) for first.

“I’m blessed to be sixth,” Rogers said. “I wanted to be on the podium. As long as I’m on the podium, I’m happy. I felt great coming off the curve. I died a little at the end in the last 10 meters, but I used the curve well. It’s like a slingshot for me.”

Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or

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