United’s Fillman graces podium
COLUMBUS – United junior Riley Fillman was the only area athlete standing – on the podium – at the 107th annual state track meet Friday.
Fillman became the second United long jumper in school history to place at state as he took sixth in Division II.
“I was coming in hoping for better than I got,” he said.
Fillman had a best jump of 21-feet-6 1/2 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, nearly a foot off his personal best of 22-5.
He took off his medal immediately after getting off the podium.
“I was really frustrated,” Fillman said. “I wanted to come in and jump something I know I can.”
It was his second straight appearance after fouling all three times in Division III last year.
He may not have had his best day, but he did better than last year,” United boys coach Troy Brunner said.
Fillman fouled on his first attempt Friday and three of his opening four, bringing back memories of last season.
“I don’t think he would say it was, but I’m sure it was in the back of his mind,” Brunner said.
“When I fouled on my first jump, I thought about it,” Fillman said. “I wanted to get a good jump off so I could place this year.”
He did on his second attempt. He added jumps of 20-11 1/2 and 21-2 1/2 on his last two.
“You have so many people watching and the adrenaline is flowing. Your stride gets long and messes your steps up,” Fillman said.
He did a better job of handling it on his second trip to state.
“You’ve got to be able to deal with the pressure and calm yourself down,” Fillman said.
Gallia Academy senior Logan Allison was able to do that with an impressive string of jumps to win the state title. He had the top two jumps (22-5 1/2 and 22-3) with all six going over 21-9.
Fillman joins Galen Brandt as the only Golden Eagle long jumpers to place at state. Brandt was the 1978 Class A state runner-up (21-10 1/2).
Fillman will be watching United teammates Luke Cooper and Allison Parks in today’s state finals.
Parks will be going for state titles in the girls 800- and 1600-meter runs, while Cooper competes for a second straight day as he throws the discus.
Cooper finished 12th in the shot put with a toss of 48-feet-2 1/2 on his first attempt Friday. He fouled on his next two.
Eight Division II throwers went over 54 feet. Genoa Area senior Logan Bryer had the top three throws, including a winning toss of 55-8.
“The shot was kind of a surprise (for Cooper),” Brunner said. “We never would have expected it.
“The discus is where his heart is and it shows.”
Six competitors went over 160 feet last year, while Cooper was one of nine others in the 150-foot range.
“It was good he got a little taste of it today and, hopefully, will be more settled (Saturday),” Brunner said.
Minerva senior Maddie Fischer did not reach the finals after placing fourth in the Division II discus last season. She finished 11th with a toss of 118-9 after opening with a pair of 112-footers.
Eight girls went over 121 feet. Chesapeake senior Jordan Porter won with a toss of 137-8.
Friday got off to a solemn start as public address announcer Andris Baltputnis reminded the crowd that it was the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
As he always does, Baltputnis asked everyone to stand for the National Anthem “in gratitude for those who have served or are serving.” There were some tears.
Baltputnis, who has retired as the Crestview athletic director, is in his 13th season as the public address announcer at the state meet.