Van Wert sophomore Blake Henry cleared a height of 6-2 in the boys high jump at the Division II district championships in Defiance on Friday, winning the title. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Van Wert sophomore Blake Henry cleared a height of 6-2 in the boys high jump at the Division II district championships in Defiance on Friday, winning the title. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
DEFIANCE — The weather Friday was almost the exact opposite at Defiance’s Fred Brown Stadium as it was on Wednesday for Division II Track and Field District action.

It was cooler and much wetter, while it was windy both ways. Still, after a weather delay, track and field athletes went at it to try to earn spots to next week’s Piqua Regionals.

Van Wert had a pair of champions to lead the pack into the next event.

Junior Megan Braun took first place in the girls long jump (17-0 1/4), while sophomore Blake Henry was champion in the boys high jump (6-2).

Braun didn’t have to “do” too much to earn her title.

“I jumped twice early; I knew I was in the lead and didn’t want to use up to much energy because I was in three other events later,” Braun said. “I kept an eye on things and if I needed to come back again and jump, I would. I had my run-through and then the two jumps and everything was fine; my form held up and everything was flowing.”

Being the weather was much different, there was some different things she had to do.

“You really have to warm up really well when you’re jumping so you don’t pull a muscle or anything. It’s also harder to stay warmed up,” she said. “The only thing you can do mentally is not let the weather bother you. Everyone else has to deal with the same conditions, so you have to try to be the best that day.”

Henry agreed with that assessment.

“Everyone else is jumping with the same environment; I try to focus on staying positive about the weather and try and use that to my advantage. Let everyone else worry about it,” he said. “I think that is one of my strengths; my ability to stay low-key and laid-back. Other competitors have told me that is a bit intimidating to them; I’m so calm and cool and they’re very much stressed out.”

Still, there is growth that has to occur to get to this point, Henry said.

“Last year, the weather really got to me. I was a freshman and I didn’t have a lot of experience, so it affected me,” he said. “I am very much a punctual athlete as to when I have to start warming up — it’s the same time every meet; I keep looking at my watch. Then you know you’re facing some great competition — for me, Gunnar Oakes (Swanton) in particular is a tough one — and you just have to compete. I’ve done 6-4 before; I didn’t do that today but I figure if I can do 6-2 in these conditions, 6-4 is possible, once you consider that it starts warming up.”

Other Lady Cougars that placed in the top four and are moving on to Regionals include:

Braun, third in the girls 200-meter dash (27.42) and third, along with the trio of Caylee Phillips, Cassidy Meyers and Nicole Clay, third in both the girls 4x200-meter relay (1:50.13) and girls 4x4 (4:14.05); and Tabatha Saum was third in the girls shot put (37-1).

For the boys, Brandon Hernandez was second in the 300-meter hurdles (40.9), while he, along with Jacoby Kelly, Dylan Lautzenheiser and Thane Cowan, ended up fourth in the 4x400-meter relay (3:34.29). Lautzenheiser was fourth in the 800-meter run (2:00.95),

Other Lady Cougars that placed but didn’t advance are:

Caylee Phillips, fifth in the girls 200-meter dash (27.76); Julia Springer, sixth in the girls 1,600-meter run (5:50.4); Abby Jackson, seventh in the girls shot put (34-6);Cassidy Meyers, eight in the girls 800-meter run (2:33.47); Peyton Fleming, eight in the girls 100-meter hurdles (17.36);

For the boys, Henry, along with Kelly, Cowan and Eli Rager, were sixth in the 4x200-meter relay (1:35.53); Gage Chiles ended up sixth in the 3,200-meter run (10:38.4); and Holden Reichert was seventh in the 1,600-meter run (4:51.3).

Wednesday, the Lady Cougars’ Kirsten Clay finished second in the discus (121-9), while their 4x800-meter relay of Meyers, Springer, Clay and Jerica Huebner was third (10:22.72).

Laney Werts tied for eighth in the girls high jump (4-6).

Also Wednesday, Austin Clay was runner-up in the boys shot put (51-3). On Friday he was fourth in the discus (141-9).

Rager took fourth in the boys long jump (20-10 3/4), with Kelly was sixth (20-7 1/2).

Cowan, Lautzenheiser, Riechert and Hernandez took fifth in the boys 4x8 relay (8:43.11);

The Van Wert boys finished fifth (61 points), as did the Lady Cougars (59.33).