COLUMBUS – West Liberty-Salem junior Raiph LeVan was the only member of any Champaign County track team to adavance to the state meet this week in Columbus. LeVan placed second in the 400-meter run (50.49) at the Division III regional at Troy last weekend to qualify.
“Raiph LeVan is thriving in his first year on the team and keeps getting better with every meet. He is a driven athlete who wants to get better at each practice. He doesn’t get scared or discouraged with a tough workout,” WL-S Boys Coach Joe Taylor said.
That improvement has been on display even in the short span since the postseason started.
In the OHC championships, LeVan ran a 52.72 in the preliminaries and a 52.17 in the finals, finishing second each time to the opponent who beat him at the regional – Cedarville’s Deven Gruet.
At the Division III district at Milton-Union, LeVan ran a 51.96 in the preliminaries and a 51.09 in the finals, claiming a championship in the process over Riverside’s Ollie Jacobs (51.81).
And this past week at the regional, LeVan was close to running the race in 50 seconds flat, qualifying with a 50.41 in the preliminaries. Gruet ran a 49.75.
When the finals rolled around, Gruet again nipped LeVan, 50.12 to 50.49.
“We are really happy for Raiph as he gets to prepare for the state meet this week. I know one of the reasons he joined our track program was the tradition of success at the state meet. It’s really cool that he now is part of that success,” Taylor said.
LeVan has a chance to make the finals and the podium, as he will enter the state meet with the seventh-best seeded time, behind Kyle Evans (Riverdale), Tyler Eller (Waynesfield-Goshen), Isaac Naayers (Lancaster Fairfield Christian), Gruet, Jarred Miller (Mineral Ridge) and Matthew Burkhart (Barnesville).
The state preliminaries begin on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State. The boys’ 400 run will begin at 11:10 a.m.
Should LeVan qualify for the finals, he would race at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday.
Harlan makes All-Ohio
Triad’s Briley Harlan was named honorable mention All-Ohio in Division IV baseball.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.