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Fans line up to go to the state track meet

The Beaver Local boys 800-meter relay team of (from left) Zane Kinsey, Dylan Moore, Caleb White and Joe Monte took fifth place at the Division II state track meet Saturday. (Photo by Ron Firth)

High school athletes weren’t the only winners at the 113th state track and field meet over the weekend.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association collected $361,905 in ticket sales, compared to $288,852 the last time it was held two years ago.

According to ticket sales released by the OHSAA, the three sites that hosted a division combined for 24,127 tickets.

Attendance was down from when it was held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University in 2019 when fans could see all three divisions for one ticket. The 2019 attendance was 28,852 for the two-day event.

But the OHSAA raised tickets to $15 from $10 in an attempt to make up for a lost 2020 spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic. That is why proceeds rose 25 percent despite attendance dropping 16 percent. It doesn’t include a $5 parking fee imposed this year.

Small-school Division III at Westerville North High School drew the largest crowd with 8,796 tickets.

Division I at Hilliard Darby High School drew 8,062 and Division II at Pickerington North High School drew 7,269.

“I like the fact it’s at a different place,” said South Range senior Michael Hvizdos, who was seventh in the Division II 800-meter run Saturday. “No one has been here. It kind of levels the playing field.”

Friday’s ticket sales were 12,907, while Saturday’s ticket sales were 11,220.

Everyone wants the state track meet to be at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, but that didn’t happen this year. The future site is still to be determined.

We found out people will go wherever the state track meet is held because it still features the best athletes in Ohio.

State notes

¯ Columbiana County athletes had 15 state placers over the weekend after having 14 state placers in the last state meet in 2019. The 2019 crew set a county record with five state champions.

This year, Columbiana County had one state champion (Beaver Local sophomore Caleb White), four state runners-up, one third-place finisher and five fourth-place finishers.

There could have been more state placers since six others finished in ninth place, one spot off the podium.

¯ Beaver Local totaled five state placers Saturday after having only two state placers in the previous 13 state meets.

The Beavers totaled six state placers in 2004 and five in 2003.

¯ The Columbiana boys 1600-meter relay team of seniors Gabe Heinrich, Kaden Green, Xathon Cross and Collin Schick was fourth in 3:26.78, breaking the school record set by the 1977 Class A state runner-up mile relay team of Joe Salmen, Mike Flohr, Ted Brookhart and Jeff Johnston.

¯ Canfield junior Nick Plant won the Division I boys 800-meter run in 1:49.79, the third-best time in state meet history.

He finished 52nd at the state cross country meet last fall.

¯ Pickerington North won the Division I boys team title Saturday in Hilliard.

Pickerington North, which hosted the Division II state meet, lost some of its student workers who went to the Division I meet with the Panthers in title contention.

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