COLUMBUS - The dream of all-Ohio turned into reality for two area individuals and a relay team Saturday morning as the Division III track and field season came to a conclusion.
After qualifying rounds on Friday, the small-schools returned to the oval bright and early for the final day of the season at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Shadyside's Tara Tollett completed her brilliant prep career with a spot on the 3200-meter podium for the second straight season.
Tollett, who is bound for Ohio University in the fall as a member of the Bobcats' cross country and track teams, came to Columbus as the defending state runner-up and finished with the fifth-place medal, running a season-best time of 11:14.85.
"I am proud of myself," Tollett said. "I wanted to be higher on the podium, but some things got in the way (during the season), so just to place is an honor. I am excited to start the next part of running career."
Tollett, who will take at least a week off before amping up her training once again, has had a strong postseason after not finishing her specialty at the OVAC Championship last month.
"I had a minor injury that I didn't think was that much of a problem, but during (the OVAC) it got so bad that I just had to drop out," Tollett explained. "I went and saw a chiropractor and that helped it a lot. I am just thankful to be here today."
Barnesville's Jacob Anderson was one of those kids who had his eyes on the state meet and a spot on the podium all season after narrowly missing a trip here last spring in the regional.
Anderson fulfilled his goal of getting here last week when he was the regional runner-up and then added to his fine season with a medal on Saturday.
"After four years, it felt really good to make it here," Anderson said. "It really didn't feel any different, but I knew I had to push myself harder because everyone is so good here."
After qualifying by virtue of a second-place finish in his semi-final heat, Anderson didn't get the kind of start he wanted and actually got to the first hurdle with the opposite leg that he normally jumps with.
However, he got back into the flow of the race and eventually finished sixth in 39.56, earning all-Ohio accolades for the first time.
"Being on the podium was a feeling that I can't even really describe," Anderson said.
Anderson already has his goals set for himself for the next chapter of his track career as he heads to West Liberty.
"Starting working toward getting to the Division II nationals in the 400 hurdles," Anderson admitted.
Martins Ferry's girls 4x2 came to the state meet as the fourth-place qualifier from the regional meet. So, the squad of Sarah Applegarth, Sunshine Wrenn, Ashley Griffith and Talyr Jenkins came to the state meet with the idea that anything they accomplished would be "gravy."
The gravy turned out to be an all-Ohio finish as the quartet blistered a 1:47.03, which was good enough for seventh place. The Lady Riders wouldn't have even qualified for the finals had the OHSAA not made a decision a couple of seasons ago to expand the finals to utilize all nine lanes.
"We came here and did what no one thought we could do," Applegarth, who leads the race off, said.
Getting up Saturday morning as the ninth seed, Ferry's squad felt no pressure, according to Jenkins, who ran a sensational anchor leg on Friday to help the Purple advance.
"Whatever happened, happened," Jenkins said. "We knew at worst, we'd be ninth in the state and I'd certainly take that. But, we wanted that medal, so it's pretty cool to be seventh."
The lone senior on the squad, Wrenn, was able to end her prep career with her first state medal after being a multiple-time participant.
"It's great to be able to end the season, and my career, this way," Wrenn said. "Plus, it's great to be able to do it with my girls. I love these girls and this team and I thank them so much for helping me get here."
Griffith ran a solid third leg and executed a great pass of the baton to Jenkins in the final as she competed in her first state meet.
"This whole experience is pretty surreal," Griffith said. "Actually placing when we came here seeded 14th is just a great feeling."
Steubenville Central's girls - just two seasons removed from winning the Division III state team title - had another strong showing, scoring 18 points, which was good enough for a seven-way tie for sixth.
The Lady Crusaders were led by senior Monica Rigaud, who finished as state runner-up in the 100 meter high hurdles. She posted a solid time of 15.39 en route to the silver.
Steubenville Central's 4x1, 4x2 and 4x4 teams, comprised of Rigaud, Kara Kakascik, Michaela Gotta and Taylor Zapolnik made their way to the podium on three different occasions.
The 400 team was sixth in 50.54, the 800 team was fourth in 1:45.77 and the 4x4 was eighth in 4:06.54.
During Friday's action, Moriah Vosteen placed eighth in the high jump.
Steubenville Central's boys got on the scoreboard thanks to a sixth-place finish by senior high hurdler Doug Maslowski. He posted a time of 15.11.