The Icon chased down Bluffton High School track and field head coach Jason Diller for an overview of the 2022 spring season and postseason which ended on June 4 with nine BHS athletes competing at the OHSAA DIII championship meet in Columbus.
This is Diller’s first year as head coach after assisting Bill Theisen as well as having served as Cory-Rawson’s head coach for 7 years. With 65 athletes on the team, it’s a big job to coordinate workouts for so many individuals and events. He was assisted by a coaching team of:
Shawn Ribley, hurdles, high and long jump
Bill Theisen, long distance running
Jim Tabler, shot put and discus
Jeff Baker, pole vault
Mason Warnimont, relays and starts
As might be expected, Diller reports that the team had a very difficult season last year, after having no season at all the year before. In 2021, COVID protocols meant that the high school could not use the Bluffton University track. They were “a team without a home” last year; athletes ran in parking lots and traveled to other facilities to practice.
In 2022, the team felt very fortunate to return to familiar facilities in Bluffton. Practices began the last week of February for athletes who were not in winter sports.
The season proved to be one for the BHS record books with four chart-topping performances:
Senior Trey Boblitt, high jump, 6 ‘3 “
Junior Landon Armstrong, 800m, 1: 55.22
Junior Erik Nygaard, 3200m, 9: 48.23
Junior Bri Taber, pole vault, 11 ‘
Diller notes some BHS records go back to the 1970s and that it’s quite unusual for four records to be broken in one year. The three juniors listed above could very well break their own records next year.
The nine athletes who competed in the 2022 OHSAA Division III Track and Field Championships were as follows (with event, result):
Senior Trey Boblitt, high jump, 12th
Senior Ethan Bogart, 300 hurdles, 3rd and Personal Record; 4×400 relay, 2nd
Junior Eden Antrim, 1600m, 5th; 4×400 relay, 2nd; 4×800 relay, 3rd
Junior Landon Armstrong, 800m, 4th; 4×400 relay, 2nd; 4×800 relay, 3rd
Junior Sam Derstine, 4×800 relay, 3rd
Junior Justin Good, 4×400 relay, 2nd
Junior Erik Nygaard, 3200m, 10th; 4×800 relay, 3rd
Junior Bri Taber, pole vault, 8th
Sophomore Hayden Dearth long jump, 10th
Commenting on the seniors, the coach considers himself “blessed with great senior athletes on the boys and girls sides.” He remarked, “Ethan – especially – worked and worked and worked. Younger athletes typically will follow. Trey was the first one to move a tent and all the little things that others would give to freshmen to do. ” Camaraderie among students who weren’t friends outside of track was also noticed by Diller.
Two girls and eight boys on the team have graduated in 2022. That makes this year’s juniors a big group “ready to take that next step or two.”
The coach also commended the BHS track and field fans, who show up in the rain and snow: “The sense of community pride makes a big difference.”
This season ended at the other extreme – spectacular weather – at the state championships, which Diller says is typical: “You always start in bad weather and end in good weather. One of the invitationals at Bath had pea-size hail for 2-3 minutes during an event…. Inside sport people don’t know how good they’ve got it. “
Photographer’s notes: Marvin Foster comments that this is at least the 49th consecutive State Track Meet with a Pirate participating. He also spotted Athletic Director Alex Hanna and Coach Bill Theisen awarding Pirates with their medals on the podium.
See BHS team outdoor track and field records at https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/SchoolRecords.aspx?SchoolID=8273