Elks vaulters push each other to the limit

Centerville teammates Collin Jasin and Yariel Soto have brought out the best in each other.

Outstanding pole vaulters, it’s their mission each week to place 1-2, set personal bests and go one-up on the other, at least for the time being.

“We had a plan to get 1-2 and qualify for regional because it’s all about state,” said Soto after winning the vault with a leap of 15 feet during Wednesday’s first day of the Division I district track and field meet at Wayne. “We just go meet by meet and we’re doing what we want to do, go 1 and 2.”

»OHSAA: No more stacking teams

This is the first phase of three season-ending meets. The top four placers in each event advance to next week’s D-I regional also at Wayne.

About half the field events on Wednesday were finals and only the 4x800 relay was a running final. Most of the other racing was to qualify for Friday’s finals. Field events on Friday begin at 5 p.m. and running finals at 6:30 p.m.

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Middletown senior Aubriana Bellard (38-6.50) and junior Rachel Heidtman (35-8.50) went 1-2 in the shot put to stake the Middies to the first-day girls team lead, 18-17 over runner-up Centerville.

Soto also won the long jump (22-5). Combined with Jasin’s second in the vault (14-0), the Centerville boys posted a commanding 46-19 first-day advantage over runner-up Wayne (19).

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Already a decorated national age-group decathlete, Soto also advanced to the district final with the fastest 400 qualifying time (50.40) and ran on the second-best 4x400 relay.

Should they continue to advance, both Soto and Jasin are capable of winning state in the vault, although that could take a leap of 16 feet to do so. That’s well within their leap. Soto owns a career-best 15-9 jump and missed on one attempt at 16-0 on Wednesday. Jasin went 15-8 to win the Greater Western Ohio Conference overall championship at Troy last week.

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“It’s been fun,” said Jasin. “We’ve been competing against each other all year. We break each other’s record one inch at a time. It’s always fun to see each other PR and have a teammate who can do that.”

Other noteworthy winners:

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• Beavercreek won the girls 4x800 relay (9:22.71) by more than 25 seconds and should be in contention to place at state.

• Centerville won the boys 4x800 relay (7:58.37) and Bellbrook junior Hayden Bullock unloaded a 163-0 to win the boys discus.

• Springfield’s Quincy Scott is in great position to sweep four events in the D-I district at Piqua.

»RELATED: Sidney senior excels in shot put

Also on Wednesday, the senior won the long jump (22-11) and posted the best final qualifiers in the 100 (11.19) and 200 (22.06). He also anchored the Wildcats’ 4x100 relay to the best finals qualifying time (43.25).

Springfield senior teammate Jacob Yost was second in 200 qualifying (22.77) and also advanced in the 100.

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• Troy sophomore Lenea Browder (41-8) and Trojans senior Alaura Holycross (35-11.75) were 1-2 in the shot put at Piqua. Troy led runner-up Greenville 41-22 after the first day of girls competition. Butler led Northmont 35-20 among the boys.

The Piqua D-I district also resumes with field events at 5 p.m. Friday and running finals at 6:30 p.m.

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• Saturday’s D-II district finals are at Piqua (1 p.m. field, 2:30 p.m. running) and Graham (3 p.m. field, 3:30 p.m. running).

Saturday’s D-III district finals are at Piqua (10 a.m. field, 11:30 a.m. running) and West Milton (9 a.m. field, 10 a.m. running).

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