OHSAA track and field: Which central Ohio boys athletes won titles on the final day of state?

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A group of veteran distance runners and a first-year high jumper led central Ohio boys in the Division I state track and field meet Saturday at Welcome Stadium

In the 3,200 meters, Dublin Jerome’s Sam Ricchiuti won a race that featured four Columbus-area runners. 

In the field events, Olentangy Liberty’s Nate Hollingsworth won the high jump to cap his first season in the sport.

Westerville North senior Ben Gabelman won the 1,600 after helping the Warriors’ 3,200 relay win a state title Friday.

Pickerington Central’s Christopher Turntine, Juell Scott, Micah Coates and Lorenzo Brazzell won the 800 relay. 

Four central Ohio teams earned top-10 finishes in Division I. Pickerington North and Westerville North tied for third (25) behind Elyria (30) and Huber Heights Wayne (29), while Olentangy Orange was fifth (24) and Olentangy was sixth (22).

In Division II, Marion-Franklin earned the top team finish, tying for 11th (14) behind champion Huron (40). Junior Dawayne Galloway led the Red Devils, finishing second in the 100 (10.78) and joining Nazsir Jackson, Taliq Black and Aaris Billingsley on the third-place 400 relay (42.2).

Sam Ricchiuti of Dublin Jerome cruises through the raindrops to a first-place finish in the 3,200 meters at the Division I state meet Saturday.

Dublin Jerome’s Ricchiuti caps prep career with win in 3,200

Competing in his final state meet, Ricchiuti earned his first title, taking the 3,200 (9:03.71). He finished ahead of three other seniors from central Ohio: Worthington Kilbourne’s Ryan Smith (second, 9:04.83), Gabelman (fifth, 9:06.8) and Olentangy Orange’s Saketh Rudraraju (sixth, 9:09.86). 

Ricchiuti was close to the title last year, but settled for second (9:06.59) behind Hilliard Davidson’s Connor Ackley (9:05.5). Ricchiuti and Gabelman will join Ackley at Syracuse in the fall.

“The whole season, I wasn’t focused on winning; it was about racing and moving on,” Ricchiuti said. “This is the state meet, so you know you have to go all out. I’m really happy with my plan.” 

Olentangy Liberty’s Hollingsworth leaps to success

A former outfielder for Liberty’s baseball program, Hollingsworth capped an impressive first year in track by winning the high jump (program-record 6 feet, 11 inches). With his state title secured, he missed on three attempts at 7-0. 

The senior, who switched to track because of a shoulder injury, edged runner-up Markeise Smith of Akron Garfield (6-10). Orange’s Levi Davis was third (6-7) and Westerville Central’s Elijah Harris was fourth (6-6). 

Hollingsworth set the previous program record (6-9) earlier this season. He has committed to Miami University, and his father, Jamie, was a high jumper at Ohio State.

“I never really thought I would win,” Hollingsworth said. “I thought I could maybe get here and then as it progressed throughout the season, I built more and more confidence in myself and my jumping ability and now we’re here.” 

Westerville North's Ben Gabelman won the 1,600 a day after anchoring the state-champion 3,200 relay.

Gabelman relishes first spring state titles

Although he fell short in his pursuit of sweeping the 1,600 and 3,200, Gabelman was pleased with his weekend. 

After earning his first spring state title by anchoring the 3,200 relay, he won the 1,600 (4:08.75).

Last year, he finished second in the 1,600 (4:09.07) behind Ackley (4:07.1).

“I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder the entire season,” Gabelman said. “Just knowing that I was the second-place finisher last year (in the 1,600), so I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to win this season. I’m real excited that I came out here and won.” 

Orange’s Matthew Schroff was third (4:10.53) and Jerome’s Charles Guerrera was fourth (4:12.09). 

Gabelman, who won the Division I state cross country championship last fall, fell behind early in the 3,200 and could not reel in the leaders. 

“I knew it was going to go out fast,” Gabelman said. “I came out here trying to win but I took home two championships in the outdoor season, so getting one fifth place (in the 3,200) never hurts anyone.” 

Lorenzo Brazzell anchored Pickerington's championship 800 relay.

Pickerington Central relay shines 

Despite losing a key contributor during the regional preliminaries, Central showed its depth by winning the 800 relay (1:25.59). 

“I’m proud of the boys, I’m happy for them,” coach Jason Roach said. “That’s a tough race.” 

The Tigers were without Xavier McCoy, who suffered a hamstring injury at regional. He was replaced by Coates, who ran the third leg at state. 

“When you win without your fastest kid, that’s special,” Roach said. “At the regional meet, we didn’t know what we were getting into. We replaced (McCoy) with Micah Coates. … They said their brother was down, but they were going to win it for him.”