Versailles’ 7 state qualifiers all earn medals in Columbus

By Kyle Shaner kshaner@civitasmedia.com

June 7, 2014

COLUMBUS — All seven of Versailles’ state track and field competitors left Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday with medals as the Lady Tigers made the podium in all three of their relays and freshman Jenna Frantz made the podium in pole vault.

The Versailles girls 4x400-meter relay finished second, the girls 4x200-meter relay finished third, the girls 4x100-meter relay finished eighth and Frantz finished seventh in the pole vault during the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state competition.

With the four state-placing events, senior Lauren Bohman, senior Amanda Winner, junior Valerie Francis, junior Taylor Winner, sophomore Haley Winner, freshman Camille Watren and Frantz all stood on the podium at the state meet.

“I feel like it just shows our team depth and shows how passionate we are for running and how determined we are to get up on the podium and do what we dream of,” Amanda Winner said.

The top performance of the weekend came from Versailles’ 4x400-meter relay team of Haley Winner, Taylor Winner, Watren and Amanda Winner. The girls broke the school record in the event in the preliminaries on Friday and then re-broke the record in the finals on Saturday, finishing second in 3:57.11.

“It was awesome,” Amanda Winner said. “I was so glad that we could run with these girls and go out there and get it.”

Breaking the school record on back-to-back days and finishing as the state runner up was an incredible feeling, Taylor Winner said.

“I think the feeling is indescribable, especially being with my teammates,” the Lady Tiger junior said.

The 4x200 relay with Bohman, Watren, Amanda Winner and Haley Winner finished third in the finals with a time of 1:43.33, which was just 0.08 seconds off the school record.

“It’s awesome,” Bohman said. “We did a great finish to it today. We did what we were supposed to, and we placed better in the 4x2, and that’s all we could ask, that we improve our last meet of the season and that’s exactly what we did. I couldn’t be happier.”

The Lady Tigers’ other relay team — the 4x100-meter relay of Bohman, Watren, Francis and Haley Winner – finished eighth in 50.06 to earn the final spot on the podium in the event.

“It feels great,” said Francis, a first-time state competitor. “This has always been a dream of mine, to be able to stand on podium, eighth place. I couldn’t ask for a better end to my first time at state. It was great.”

Versailles’ lone individual competing at state, Frantz, matched her personal best mark in the pole vault by clearing 10 feet 8 inches and placing seventh.

“That was so exciting,” the Lady Tiger freshman said. “It was the best birthday I could have expected.”

Frantz, who was celebrating a birthday during Saturday’s competition, said her freshman season exceeded all her expectations.

“Extremely exciting,” she said. “Making it here as a freshman was just, like … I didn’t even think that would happen, and now I’m on the podium, and that’s just amazing.”

At the end of the day, Francis, Frantz and Taylor Winner each had a medal; Bohman and Amanda Winner both had two; and Watren and Haley Winner left Columbus with three each.

“It’s something that you can only dream of and being able to live it has been a really good accomplishment, and I’m glad I could be up there with my teammates,” Haley Winner said.

As a team the Versailles girls scored 17 points and finished ninth in the Division II team standings. That broke the Lady Tigers’ streak of five consecutive years of finishing as the state champion or state runner up as a team, all of which were in Division III prior to moving up a division this year.

However, considering they moved up to Division II where the competition was tougher, the Lady Tigers were very pleased with their performance.

“Being in Division II is a big step up from Division III,” Watren said.

For complete results from the OHSAA state track and field meet, visit ohsaa.org.