Vote for the Greater Columbus high school boys track regular season athlete of the year


The postseason has arrived in boys track and field with district meets being held this week in central Ohio. The regional meets are next week, followed by state May 30–June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. 

Pickerington Central led the area a year ago with a runner-up state finish in Division I.

With the regular season finished, it’s time to determine who has been the top boys track and field athlete in central Ohio so far. Vote for your choice among the 13 candidates in this poll. The deadline is 4 p.m. Tuesday. 

In addition, keep an eye out for the annual All-Metro teams for spring sports in the days following the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards show, which is June 20 at Mershon Auditorium. 

John Apel, Watkins Memorial 

The junior led the Warriors at the Licking County League-Buckeye meet, winning the 400 meters (51.24) and running on the first-place 800 relay (1:30.69). He has a personal best of 21-½ in the long jump. 

Ben Gabelman, Westerville North 

The Division I state cross country champion last fall, the senior and Syracuse commit won the 1,600 (4:11.89) and 3,200 (program-record 9:04.05) and ran on the first-place 3,200 relay (7:44.7) in the OCC-Capital meet, leading North to the team title. 

J.T. Hiltscher, Marysville 

The senior led the Monarchs at the OCC-Cardinal meet, winning the 100 (11.06), 200 (22.85) and 400 (51.58). He has personal best times of 10.83 in the 100, 21.98 in the 200 and 50.83 in the 400. 

Nick Hoelscher, Westerville South 

The senior led the Wildcats at the OCC-Capital meet, winning the 800 (1:55.68). The Wright State commit holds program records in the 800 (1:53.79) and 3,200 (9:38.46). 

Nate Hollingsworth, Olentangy Liberty 

In his first season in the sport, Hollingsworth has emerged as one of the area’s top high jumpers. The senior won the event (6-6) at the OCC-Central meet and set the program record (6-9) in the Delaware County Invitational on May 3 at Olentangy Orange. 

Andre Jackson, Whitehall-Yearling 

The senior won the 100 (10.86) and 400 (49.38), finished third in the 200 (22.64) and placed fourth in the long jump (19-10 ½) in the Central Buckeye League meet, helping the Rams finish second behind Buckeye Valley. 

Sam Ricchiuti, Dublin Jerome 

The senior and Syracuse commit won the 1,600 (4:17.58) at the OCC-Cardinal meet. He established the program record in the 3,200 (8:59.7) in finishing fourth at the Huber Heights Wayne Invitational. 

Tyrell Russell, Beechcroft 

The junior led the Cougars in the City League meet, winning the 200 (22.09) and finishing second in the 100 (10.99). He holds program records in the 100 (10.55) and 200 (21.44) and ran on the program-record 800 relay (1:26.9). 

Turner Schmidt, Hilliard Davidson 

The senior finished first in the shot put (49-6) and discus (162-7) in the OCC-Central meet. A Robert Morris football commit, Schmidt has personal bests of 54-1 in the shot put and 162-8 in the discus. 

Richard Simpson, Pickerington North 

The junior finished first in the 100 (personal-best 10.89) and 200 (21.91) and second in the 400 (personal-best 47.45) at the OCC-Ohio meet, helping the Panthers win the league title. He has a personal best of 21.62 in the 200.

Ryan Smith, Worthington Kilbourne 

The senior is part of a deep field of distance runners in central Ohio. The Furman commit holds program records in 1,600 (4:16.53) and 3,200 (9:05.95). He finished second in the 3,200 (9:16.59) at the OCC-Capital meet behind Gabelman. 

Owen Towler and Gahanna Lincoln 

The junior remained unbeaten in the 800 this season by winning the event (1:54.68) at the OCC-Ohio meet. He finished second in the 1,600 (program- record: 4:14.51). Towler is second in program history in the 800 (1:52.64) behind 2010 graduate Harry McFann (1:52.48). 

A.J. Young, Canal Winchester 

One of the elite jumpers and hurdlers in the area, Young won the high jump (6-2) and 300 hurdles (39.38) at the OCC-Capital meet. He holds the program record in the 300 hurdles (38.26). He will compete in track and football at Ohio Wesleyan.