COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two storybook endings, and one experience building moment.
A pair of seniors from the Ohio Valley Publishing wrapped up their prep careers on the podium at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at the OHSAA state championships on Saturday, while one local freshman made her state debut.
Lady Marauders senior Kassidy Betzing claimed third in the Division II girls long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 8 inches, coming on her second jump in the finals. Betzing — who’s also finished runner-up, fourth and seventh in the event in her career — was tied for the ninth-best and final qualifying spot headed into the finals, with a leap of 16 feet, 1 inch.
After stepping off the podium for the fifth and final time in her career, Betzing acknowledged her recent injury, and was ultimately happy to just be able to compete.
“It happened last Friday in practice, then I competed Saturday in regionals,” Betzing said. “It was really bothering me then, so I didn’t jump as much. I’ve been resting, physical therapy, dry healing, everything this week, but it’s still bothering me. I’m happy I was able to jump honestly, I’m surprised.”
Betzing — an Ohio University signee — also discussed the way she got into the finals and the extra motivation that brought.
“I fouled twice and couldn’t get a good jump in, I thought I was done,” Betzing said. “Everyone was over there crying with me, and they ran over and said I made it. Obviously I had to get a good jump in, because I had the chance to. Not exactly what I wanted, but I’ll take it.”
Betzing — who was also part of Meigs 4x100m that took eighth in her sophomore — reflected on her high school career before she takes the next step to compete for Ohio University.
Betzing’s performance gave the Lady Marauders six team points, placing the Maroon and Gold in a eight-way tie for 34th in the D-2 girls team standings.
Eastern senior Noah Browning claimed fifth in the Division III 400m dash with a time of 51.1 seconds. The Eagle senior — who was 16th in the event a year ago — is the first Eagle to score at the state meet since 2012, and the first EHS boy to make the podium in a running event since 2011.
After the event, Browning — who had the third-fastest qualifying time on Friday — wasn’t thrilled with his finals performance, but acknowledged what it meant to finish his career on the podium.
“It means the world, I just wish I could have done better,” Browning said. “I’ve practiced for it every single day, haven’t missed a single practice. I should have done better, but it’s definitely an accomplishment. At the beginning of the year I was running high 51s, practicing every day, working hard, and it made me get on the podium in fifth place.”
Browning’s fifth-place mark gave the Eagles four team points, putting them in a eight-way tie for 43rd in the D-3 boys standings.
River Valley freshman Lauren Twyman made her first appearance at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the Division II girls 800m run. Twyman — the first Lady Raider at the state meet since 2011 — placed 18th in the race with a time of 2:30.97.
The 2019 OHSAA boys team champions were Pickerington Central in Division I, Shelby in Division II, and East Canton in Division III. Lakota East was the girls Division I champion, Indian Hill won the D-2 girls title, while West Liberty-Salem won the D-3 girls crown.
Visit www.ohsaa.org for complete results of the 2019 state championships.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.