Following stellar efforts in the 2019 season, culminating in state-placing performances, a group of area track and field stars will take home some more hardware as Crescent-News Track Performers of the Year.

FIELD EVENTS MALE PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

Bryan senior discus thrower Keegan Brown has thrown multiple times over 150 feet this year, including one massive throw at the NWOAL track meet held on Bryan’s home turf.

There, Brown uncorked a league record throw of 181 feet, six inches. That league record throw and overall strong performances throughout the year, including a Division II regional title, earned Brown The Crescent-News Field Event Performer of the Year.

Unfortunately, Brown had a down day at state, with his best throw 152 feet, which left him off a chance to make the Division II finals.

“Keegan also played football, but the last two years of his career, he was a year round discus thrower and really honed his craft,” said Bryan coach Richard Will. “You just don’t get kids that work that hard year round. Several good throwers like Keegan have at least one monster throw in them and Keegan had that at the league meet.

It was a great day for him and when he let that one go, you knew it was going to be good. It was priceless.”

FEMALE FIELD EVENTS PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

After her first two jumps at state, indoor long jump and triple jump champ Carlee Siefker found herself in fourth place in the Division III long jump. But she then unleashed her state champion leap on her third jump. That jump, 18 feet, five inches, turned out to be just enough to defeat runner-up Alexis Prater of Ridgewood. Prater’s best came on her first attempt, at 18 feet, four inches. But she didn’t jump that far again and like Siefker, fouled on three of her jumps.

However, Siefker, who also set a regional meet record of 18 feet, 10.75 inches, because of her wins at regional and state, is The Crescent-News Female Field Events Performer of the Year.

It was a great senior year for Siefker, who failed to qualify for state her junior year, because of a quad injury. Wit the injury that occurred right before last year’s regionals, Siefker was only able to jump just over 14 feet.

“(After the season), she took some time off and away along with some rehab work with our trainer here at Leipsic,” said Leipsic track coach Gary Kreinbrink. “She was able to play last summer in her volleyball and basketball tournaments. Carlee has put in a tremendous amount of time to perfect her run throughs and jumps. Besides her work at the school, she would go to Findlay University during the winter to continue her training sessions with an instructor. Her workouts there, made a significant difference in her confidence. She also gained confidence with the indoor track season.”

FEMALE RUNNING EVENTS PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

As a junior, Archbold’s Dakota Stamm won her first state title in the 400 with a time of 56.4 seconds, topping defending champ Lynsey Shipley of Portsmouth. But, it appeared that in order to repeat, Stamm was going to have to run 0.5 seconds faster in order to win again. That’s because Abby Suszek of Willoughby Cornerstone Christian entered the state meet with a regional best time of 56.14 seconds.

The night before the race, Stamm found a Bible verse specifically for her: First Corinthians 9:24.

“It says, do you not know that of all those in the races, only one will win the prize, so, run in such a way as to win the prize,” Stamm said. “I felt God gave me that verse for the race.”

Sure enough, Stamm vaulted into the lead with 75 meters to go and held off Suszek, with a personal-best time of 55.82 seconds, ahead of last year’s state championship run. Suszek finished a close second, in 56.0 seconds.

In winning a second consecutive Division III state title in the 400, Stamm has earned The Crescent-News Female Running Events Performer of the Year.

“All season long, I have been working harder than before, to get to this level,” said Stamm, who was hampered by a shin injury late in the year. “As I was running down the home stretch, it was the tightest my legs have felt. I knew I needed to be mentally tough, to get to the line first. It feels really good to win a state title.”

Stamm’s heroics didn’t stop with the 400. She also ran the anchor leg on Defiance’s 3200 relay, 800 relay and 1600 relay. The 1600 relay also finished first, with Stamm getting the handoff in third place and passing two runners to help Archbold win that event. Also, both the 3200 relay and 800 relay finished third in the state, helping Archbold get the state Division III runner up team trophy, Archbold’s first state team trophy in track.

MALE RUNNING EVENTS PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

After finishing sixth in the Division III state finals in the 200 as a junior, Kalida senior Josh Verhoff was determined to come back and win at least one state title.

“Josh is a very self motivated individual,” said Kalida track coach Scott Miller. “He came back this winter and got back to work. He puts a tremendous amount of time in the weight room working on power and explosion all year round. As far as sprinting, he started back in December beginning to work sprint technique and work on getting faster through out the winter with three days a week of sprint training in December, January, and February.

Going into the state meet, the hard working Verhoff was undefeated for the season, in both the 100 and 200.

But after finishing second in the 100 to Wellsville’s Justin Wright, Verhoff was even more determined to come away with the school’s first boys state title.

Verhoff did just that, winning the 200 in a Division III state meet record time of 21.39. Wright finished second, in 21.65.

“Of course, I really wanted to win this one and once I got the lead with about 70 meters to go, my thought was, just keep going, to the line,” Verhoff said. “This state title is big for the school. Also, in reaching that low of a time, I didn’t know if I would do it today, but I did.”

With his state title in the 200, along with a second place finish in the 100, earns Josh Verhoff The Crescent-News Running Events Performer of the Year.

“Winning Kalida’s first boys state track title is absolutely an amazing accomplishment for this young man,” Miller said. “Many don’t realize or understand some of the difficulties that Josh goes through as he is a type I diabetic. But he would never mention that or make one excuse. He has been a perfect role model for all of the younger athletes. As a coach if you have your most talented athlete also be your hardest worker then you have something, and Josh is that. I had mentioned to (athletic director) Adam Huber before his 200-meter race that there may not be a more deserving person to win a race. He deserves all of the credit and honors he has received. He has been the heart and soul of Kalida boys track and field for four years.”

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