By MICHAEL BURWELL
COLUMBUS — Hardin Northern senior Nick Bame gave it everything he had one last time on Saturday.
And that resulted in two spots on the podium for the second-straight year.
Bame ran a personal-record 4:14.22 to finish runner-up in the 1,600-meter run and added a seventh-place finish in the 800 in 1:58.03 at the OHSAA Division III state track and field championships at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
“You always imagine yourself coming down here to the state meet at the end of the year running your best races, and I felt like I did that,” said Bame, who will run track and cross country collegiately for NCAA Division I Indiana State.
“I’m just happy to be able to do that, just go throughout the whole season, come here at the state meet and run my best.”
For the third straight year, Bame earned a spot on the podium in the 1,600 after finishing third last year and seventh in 2015. He was also sixth in the 800 a year ago.
Bame improved his 1,600 time at the state meet by more than 12 seconds since his sophomore year.
On Saturday, he hung around with Ottoville’s Brendan Siefker throughout the entire 1,600. Siefker, who won by just .53 seconds, held off Bame in the final 300 meters.
“I gave it everything I had that last 300 meters,” Bame said. “That was a fun race. That was probably the best race I’ve had and it was my last race, so it was fun.
“I trained all week to run around like a 4:15 because each year, I’ve dropped like seven seconds from regionals to state. I did that in practice this week, so I knew I could get down there and I was happy to see that “¦ Siefker, he was awesome.”
Bame was second after the first lap of the 800, but ran out of gas late in the final lap.
“I got to that backstretch and my legs, I just didn’t have it in me,” Bame said. “But I knew that whole way, I thought I had a good chance. I’m just happy to make it on the podium.”
Meanwhile, Kalida’s boys track team continued its impressive season with more school history.
In just its second year of having track and field, the Wildcats had an individual and relay team make the podium.
Sophomore Josh Verhoff placed third in the 200 (22.17) and anchored the sixth-place 400 relay team (44.07) that included seniors Caleb Siebeneck and Austin Nartker, as well as sophomore Trevor Vorst.
Those four became the first state placers in school history.
“I’m really excited. We really couldn’t have done it without our coaches,” Nartker said. “They really taught us well and I’d like to thank (Columbus) Grove for letting us use their track. That really helped us with our handoffs and I feel like that’s the reason why we’re here today is those handoffs we’re really key.”
They certainly were.
For the second straight day, Kalida executed its handoffs to perfection.
“I thought they were tremendous,” Siebeneck said. “The past couple weeks, we’ve only been focused on handoff after handoff after handoff at practice, and that’s all it was because those make or break the race. So we really pushed those hard and it paid off.”
Despite being seeded third entering the race, the quartet was happy to make history.
“We ran extremely well again, so we’re all really proud,” Vorst said. “It would have been nice to finish like yesterday, but it’s the state meet. Everyone’s really good, so sixth place is unbelievable.”
Patrick Henry’s 400 relay team of seniors Mitchell Bonner, Sean Norden, Alex VanDeBussche and Donny Johnson finished right behind the Wildcats in seventh (44.09).
“It’s kind of like a kid on Christmas, not really getting what you want but we’re still happy with what we got since we’re on the grand stage,” said Johnson, who was also ninth in the 200 (22.61).
“I’m really blessed to have these guys. It’s the way to go out “¦ I’m just really honored and blessed to be a part of Patrick Henry.”
Johnson and Bonner were part of the Patriots’ eighth-place 400 team in 2014 after having the second-fastest preliminary time.
They were glad to improve on that in their first trip to state since their freshman season.
“Freshman year, me and Donny had a sour ending,” Bonner said. “But to go out as seniors getting seventh in the state is a good feeling for the rest of our lives.”
The finish was satisfying as well for VanDeBussche, who joined track and field for the first time this year.
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I would do track. “¦ They tried getting me out and I didn’t feel like going then,” VanDeBussche said. “Then one day, I finally decided. Right when I joined the 4 by 1, I knew we’d go far.”
In the 400, Riverdale’s Kyle Evans placed fifth in 50.16 while Carey’s Gavin Woods was sixth in a personal-record 50.20.
For the boys seated wheelchair events, North Baltimore senior Brandon Lanning was seventh in the shot put (7-21/4), eighth in the 400 (1:34.46) and 800 (4:32.40) and ninth in the 100 (24.38).
Bluffton finished fourth in the Division III team standings with 21 points, while Cory-Rawson (20) was sixth. Ottoville (14) was 13th, Hardin Northern (10) 23rd, and Kalida (9) 30th. East Canton won the team title with 49 points.
OTHER AREA BOYS DIVISION III FINISHES
1,600 “” 16, Nick DeHaven (St. Wendelin) 4:46.93.
800 “” 11, Kyle Maag (Fort Jennings) 1:59.69.
3,200 “” 10, Trevor Cook (Carey) 10:04.29.
Send an E-mail to Mike Burwell