Years of planning went into Peyton Bloomer’s state title

Mark Griffin

Oak Harbor senior Peyton Bloomer started high-jumping in the seventh grade, mostly because her older sister, Ally, did the same event some years before her.
“My sister had done it in middle school,” Peyton said. “That’s where I kind of got the idea to start. My eighth grade year I jumped five feet and that seemed to be a big deal to my coaches, so I thought I should probably stick with this.”
Bloomer made her third trip to the Division II state meet in the high jump last Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, and she made it count. Her winning jump of 5 feet, 5 inches tied her school record she set more than a year ago. She is the 2019 Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Co-Athlete of the Year.
“A couple weeks before the week before state, I wasn’t jumping very well,” Bloomer said. “I was in a rut. I was in my head and I couldn’t clear the heights I wanted to, and that just made everything worse. The week of state, I had a really good practice on Monday and cleared 5-4. That kind of boosted my confidence for the state meet.”
Bloomer placed sixth at last year’s state meet with a jump of 5-3. She finished 10th (5-2) her sophomore year.
“I didn’t jump as well as I wanted to my sophomore and junior year at state,” she said, “so I had that creeping in my head. This year I was telling myself this is my senior year and I had to give it everything.”
Oak Harbor girls track and field coach John McKitrick said he and the 6-foot-1 Bloomer felt she had a good chance to win the state title this season.
“We talked with her about about putting herself in pressure situations during meets for a chance at state,” McKitrick said. “She didn’t get beat very much this season. The only time she lost was at districts. When she made that 5-5 jump, that was a huge pressure jump. I really thought 5-6 was going to be the (winning) mark. She’s been so close to that, I thought for sure that day she was feeling it.”
Bloomer missed twice at 5-4 and missed once at 5-5 before clearing the bar at that height. She had three attempts at 5-6 but hit the bar on all three.
“My second jump was the closest,” Bloomer said. “I just grazed it. I thought I had to go 5-6 because four girls cleared 5-5. I thought there were too many girls and one of us was going to make this. I was going to the line thinking, make it or break it. I was the first jumper out of the four left. Once I missed at 5-6, I was hoping it would work out.”
Runner-up Haidyn Wamsley of McDermott Northwest and third-place finisher Kitanna Rakestraw of Indian Valley both jumped 5-5, but they also had two misses each at that height.
Bloomer became the Rockets’ second individual girls track and field state champion, joining Tammy Gackstetter, who won the Class AA 300-meter low hurdles in 1984 and ‘85 in meet-record times of 45.38 and 43.99 seconds, respectively. Bloomer said she started crying and hugged McKitrick when she was announced as the winner. Stepping onto the awards podium was emotional as well.
“I just kept looking at my parents (Michael Bloomer and Michelle Roberts), the coaches, and my sister,” Bloomer said. “It kind of took a while before it actually hit me. I was picturing last year and where I was, and where I was sophomore year.”
Bloomer, a first-team All-Ohio middle hitter in volleyball as a junior and senior, will play volleyball and study occupational therapy at Cleveland State University this fall.
Several other Oak Harbor girls competed in the D-II state meet.
The 4x100 relay team of junior Sophia Eli, sophomore Paige Clune, freshman Hannah Schulte and sophomore Elayna Krupp took 12th (50.12) in Friday’s prelims. The 4x400 relay of sophomore Emily Haar, junior Hope Sievert and sophomores Abby Below and Elayna Krupp finished 10th (4:04.30) in the prelims.
Krupp finished 15th (12.96) in the prelims of the 100 dash, while Below was 12th (59.82) in the 400 prelims. Sophomore Emma Zibbel placed ninth (5-2) in the high jump, Sievert was 17th (2:28.13) in the 800 finals, and junior Emily Wolf placed ninth (125-7) in the discus and 17th (34-11) in the shot put.
Lake’s 4x200 relay team also competed in the D-II girls meet, taking 10th in the prelims. Junior Colette Askins, freshmen Ava Ayers and Olivia Hayward and senior Mya Staczek finished in 1:45.49.
Oak Harbor boys set school records
Oak Harbor senior Brandon Elmes and the 4x100 relay of Elmes, senior Ajay Riechman and juniors Tyler May and Aidan Barton set school records during the D-II boys events.
Elmes qualified to Saturday’s finals in the 300 hurdles after taking sixth (39.08) in the prelims. He finished fifth on Saturday with a school-record time of 38.76. He also competed in the 110 hurdles and took 11th (43.33) in the prelims.
The 4x100 relay advanced to Saturday’s finals after placing eighth (43.33) in Friday’s prelims. The Rockets’ foursome then took fourth in the finals with a school-record time of 42.76. Oak Harbor’s 4x200 relay of senior Nick Pfeiffer, Riechman, Barton and May took 10th in the prelims in 1:29.90. The 4x400 relay of Pfeiffer, May, Riechman and senior Marcus Hartlage took 15th (3:29.51) in the prelims.
Fowler places third in 800
Northwood senior Trinity Fowler, a four-time state qualifier, qualified to the state meet in the 800 and 1,600 but chose to forego running the mile in order to focus on the 800 in the D-III girls events.
“My 800 times were faster and I didn’t think I would have a shot of getting on the podium in the mile,” Fowler said. “We thought I could place higher in the 800 and it would be safer than to run both. We thought around 2:10 was what it would probably take to win. We were just guessing. I knew it was possible, but I thought I could be around 2:13.”
Fowler sat out the 1,600 last year at state and ended up taking second place in the 800, in a career-best time of 2:15.64. She finished third on Saturday in the exact same time as last year in Columbus. Her state-qualifying time was 2:17.54.
“She started out strong (on Saturday),” Northwood coach Jeremy Lewin said. “She came out hard in the front of the pack. The last 200 meters, two other girls started pulling away and she fought for third. She had to fight off some other girls at the end. She ran a really good race. It’s not what she wanted, but third is still a great place.”
Fowler took 13th in the 800 at the state meet as a sophomore, and she ran the anchor leg on the Rangers’ seventh-place 4x400 relay as a freshman. She plans to run the 800 and 1,500 and study management at Bowling Green State University this fall.
“She is the most accomplished runner in Northwood history,” Lewin said. “She was also a two-time state qualifier in cross country, and the accolades speak for themselves. She did a phenomenal job.”
Woodmore’s Sotak fifth in pole vault
Woodmore junior Cole Sotak got on the awards stand in the D-III boys meet. He placed fifth in the pole vault with a vault of 15-4, which was four inches higher than his best vault at regionals.
Three Woodmore girls competed in the D-III meet. Sophomore Ava Beam placed 11th (5:19.02) in the 1,600, junior Claire Rothert was 16th (49.11) in the 300 hurdles prelims, and sophomore Olivia Thatcher placed 14th (12:00.14) in the 3,200 finals.
Genoa’s 4x100 relay of senior Reaghan Pietrowski, sophomores Taylor Simmons and Sara Partin and junior Rylee Fredericksen placed 10th (50.64) in the prelims. The 4x200 relay of Fredericksen, Simmons, freshman Lacy Frias and Pietrowski took 11th (1:47.76) in the prelims; Pietrowski was 13th (26.31) in the 200 dash prelims.
In the D-III boys meet, Gibsonburg’s 4x100 relay of junior Theo Hernandez, seniors Brad Mendoza and Brady Jaso and junior Jon Auld placed ninth (44.32) in the prelims. The relay then took ninth (44.22) in Saturday’s finals.
Northwood senior Joey Heise took 18th (44.79) in the prelims of the 300 hurdles.

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