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South Point#039;s Smith first state meet qualifier

BYESVILLE - If Chris Smith was feeling better before the discus event Wednesday, imagine how he feels now.

A nagging back injury has bothered Smith the past month, but the South Point Pointers sophomore thrower overcame his problems to qualify for the Division II state track meet.

"My back feels a lot better. Last week I could hardly walk," Smith said.

Smith had a season-best throw of 159-11 to place fourth in the regional meet, thus earning his first trip to the state meet.

Smith reached the regionals last season but failed to place.

"I didn't know what to expect last year, and I came in with a swollen ankle," Smith said. "I know the people throwing here this year. I was just relaxed. It's nice to qualify as a sophomore. I hope I can make some noise (at the state meet)."

There were only a few finals held Wednesday. Most races were preliminary races qualifying the top eight runners for the finals. Field events begin at 5 p.m. and running events at 6 p.m. Friday.

Among those reaching the finals in Division II is Ironton's Mandi Boykin who was third in the state last year in the 100-meter dash. Boykin had the best qualifying time in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

Boykin teamed with Megan Crockrel, Ciara Taylor and Jessica Waddle to take third in the 4×200 relay.

Waddle was sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200. South Point's Sarah Lee was second in the 200 and fifth in the 100. Taylor was sixth in the 400 preliminaries.

Rock Hill's Jason Massie was fourth in the 100 and third in the 200.

South Point's Benji Smith was sixth in the 300-meter hurdles after a mishap in the 110 hurdles. Smith's starting block slipped in the 110 hurdles.

"Benji's block slipped and they usually don't let them run the race through. I asked the judge about the block slipping and he said he didn't see it," Pointers coach Randy Smith said. "He's been running a 14.7 and he ends up running a 15.5."

Ironton's Marc Carter was eighth in the 400-meter dash.

In the Division III meet at Pickerington North High School, Chesapeake's Aaron Ross placed eighth in the pole vault at 11-feet

and teammate Chad Simmons was eighth in the long jump at 19-8.25.

Coal Grove's Randy Pemberton (144-5) and Tyler Branch (140-5) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the discus.

Chesapeake's Jeff Thornburg qualified for Friday's finals as he was fourth in the 110-meter hurdles and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.