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State Track: Grove’s Roney finishes on awards stand

Columbus Grove’s Rece Roney lets the shot put fly during Friday’s OHSAA state track meet. Roney placed fourth in the event for the second straight year. (Photo by Matthias Leguire.)

By MICHAEL BURWELL
Staff Writer
COLUMBUS “” It was déjà vu for Rece Roney on Friday in the shot put.
But the discus was a tough surprise for the senior from Columbus Grove.
Roney led area athletes in the field events with his second-straight fourth-place finish in the shot put at the OHSAA Division III state track and field meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus. But for the first time in three state tournament appearances in the discus he did not make it onto the podium.
“I went all out in shot because I knew I had a good chance in that. I’ve been throwing that well previously,” Roney said. “And then I got to the disc and yeah, the clock struck midnight. But it’s all right.”
Roney’s top throw in the shot put was 57-6, the same mark as third-place finisher Josh Miller of Botkins. But Miller placed third as his nextbest throw was 57-0, just 21/2 inches farther than Roney.
Roney entered the event seeded second (58-1/2) behind Bainbridge Paint Valley’s Jacob Ott (59-41/2 ). Ott uncorked a 60-0 on his third throw and had his state-championship winning toss of 60-61/2 on his second-to-last throw of the day.
“I knew coming in that it was going to take 60 to win. That’s what we were all saying, we knew everyone was going to throw their best today,” Roney said. “It was great competition. . . . To make the podium, it’s an honor, obviously. It’s a big accomplishment.”
Roney entered the finals in fourth (55-4) and was passed by Liberty Center’s Ryan Demaline with a 55-10 on his first throw. But Roney came through with his top mark to reclaim fourth place and heaved a 56-91/2 on his final throw. Demaline finished fifth.
“I knew he did pass me, but I wanted to go back and see if I could throw better,” Roney said. “I was kind of a little bit on a roll there, and my last throw, I think it was a 56, which was a little short, but not too bad.”
In the discus, Roney’s top mark of 146-8 came on his final throw. He finished 12th after placing third a year ago and sixth in 2015.
Despite the tough finish in the discus, Roney’s career was filled with numerous highlights. He won a combined 14 shot put and discus titles in Northwest Conference and Putnam County League championship meets, including four NWC discus titles and four PCL shot put titles.
His regional-winning mark of 58-1/2 in the shot put at Tiffin also was a school record, breaking Cory Meuleman’s 57-91/2 in 2007.
“Coming from Grove, we’re known for our throws and our field events so it’s kind of cool carrying on that legacy,” Roney said. “Placing well, winning 14 out of 16 in my conferences, which is unbelievable. Not many people have done that, so I’ve carried on the legacy and hopefully future kids can keep carrying that.”
A pair of area juniors set personal records in their respective events in their first trip to Columbus. Bluffton’s Kaleb Jefferson finished ninth in the high jump with a leap of 6-2, which beat his previous best mark of 6-1 registered at the Tiffin regional meet.
Riverdale’s Taylor Bacon placed 10th in the pole vault when he cleared 13-10, which bettered his personal record of 13-2 previously set in the regional meet.