Minster Field Events Play Their Part

Minster's Grace Butler vaults over the bar in girls pole vault in  the Division III state track and field meet on Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

In their quest for its first state title since 2004, the Minster track team did its part on Friday.

And so did the field events.

 

The Wildcats entered Day 1 of the Division III state track and field meet with three athletes competing in field events, and each came away reaching podium.

 

Now the ball is back in the Wildcats’ track team.

No pressure girls.

 

Senior Paige Thobe got the day started with a fifth-place jump of 17 feet, 3.75 inches, topping her seeded mark of 16 feet, 10.75 inches.

“I would have always liked to go higher on the podium, but I think, all in all, I did my best,” Thobe said. “I am proud of everything I have done.”

 

Something else Thobe did Friday was get her team points, finishing with four points on the evening.

Thobe, whose personal record is 17 feet, 6.75 inches — a mark she reached at last season’s state meet — said she was happy with the distance she finished.

 

“I hadn’t jumped 17 all year so just getting that 17 felt really good,” she said.

 

Another Wildcat who is happy with where she finished was pole vaulter Grace Butler.

 

Like Thobe, Butler came in as a two-time state qualifier and was even a state qualifier in indoor track this winter, but had yet to reach podium.

 

Until Friday, when she reached 11 feet on the bar for just the second time this season, landing her with a fifth-place finish and four points for Minster.

“I have been waiting for the 11-foot mark to come and last week, I had 11-04.00, so it was great to see to again last week,” she said. “It wasn’t 11-04.00, but I am still happy with what I got.”

 

In her first trip to state last season, Grace finished ninth with a vault of 10 feet, 6 inches, and she said she finished ninth in indoor track as well.

“So getting on the podium this year made me happy,” Butler chuckled. “Really, I just wanted to get on that podium and get those points. Every point is crucial and ending in fifth; I know that will give us a few points.”

 

And it’s been a good ride for Butler, who becomes the first Minster pole vaulter to reach podium at the state level since Maria Heckman finished as a runner-up in 2015.

 

“That (reaching podium) was actually a New Year’s Resolution,” Butler said. “At state last year, I was ninth and indoor state, I was placed ninth. So I told myself, ‘I am going to get on that podium, I don’t what place it will be, I want it to be high up, but I do want to get up on the podium.”

The third and final Wildcat to place for Minster on Friday was Max Prenger.

 

The senior ended his career with a third-place toss of 160 feet, 11 inches — despite fouling in his final two throw — in boys discus.

 

Not including Prenger’s six points, which counts toward the boys scores, Minster picked up eight points in their field events, ending Day 1 with 18 points, thanks to Minster state title in the 4x800-meter relay, putting Minster in third place to enter Saturday, behind Newton Falls (19) and Liberty-Benton (20).

 

So now heading into Saturday, it will be up to the Minster track team to do the rest.

 

The Wildcats will have three relay events — the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400, as well as the 800-, 1600- and 3200-meter runs, which could all yield big points.

 

“Our 4x8 started off really strong today and that was an awesome accomplishment for them and I think that just brought us an overall happy feeling,” Thobe said. “Hopefully we can have a good weekend at the end of this.”