Marysville’s Jacob Ranker is pictured competing in the Division I 300-meter hurdle finals Saturday evening at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Ranker went from not qualifying for the state meet a year ago to finishing fifth in 2019.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Jacob Ranker, a 2019 Marysville High School graduate, recently concluded one of the biggest turn-arounds in MHS track and field history.
Ranker suffered through the disappointment of not earning a berth in the 2018 state meet at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The 110 and 300-meter hurdle standout, however, turned his world around a few days ago with a fifth-place finish in the 300’s during this year’s Division I state meet.
MHS head coach Luke Sundermeier took some time to reflect on Ranker’s accomplishment.
“Saturday was very exciting,” he said. “Jacob’s progression since his freshman year was amazing.
“He developed from someone contending for a spot on a varsity lineup to one of the best hurdlers in the state.”
A look at Ranker’s best times during his freshman, sophomore, junior and senior seasons reveals just how much progression he made.
His top clocking in the 110-meter high hurdles as a frosh was 18.59.
Ranker continued to whittle time off his personal records as his career progressed.
His top 100 time as a sophomore was 16.71, followed by a 15.36 during his junior season.
This past season, he garnered a best effort of 14.56.
Ranker’s improvement in the 300-meter intermediates, his best hurdle event, was just as dramatic.
He turned in a time of 44.07 three years ago and continued to reduce his numbers.
Ranker cut his clocking to 41.41 as a sophomore and down to 39.13 during his junior campaign.
Along the way, he established a new school record in the 300’s. His personal-best time of 37.87 this season erased the previous standard of 38.2, which was set by Brandon Baker in 2000.
He also holds the school’s record in the 110’s with automatic timing.
That method judged him at 14.56.
Warren Trees, who is a member of the Marysville High School Athletic Hall of Fame, holds the school’s hand-timed record of 14.40, set in 1981.
Sundermeier credited a member of the Monarch coaching staff for helping Ranker prepare for the state meet.
“Coach Scott Forney did an excellent job executing a plan to set Jacob up for a successful season,” said Sundermeier. “Given our logistical situation this spring, Coach Forney had to get creative to help Jacob put in the work necessary to compete at a high level.”
Sundermeier said Ranker’s state placement was also important for the entire Monarch program.
“It is outstanding to see an athlete like Jacob accomplish a big goal of being All-Ohio,” he said. “He does things the right way and sets a positive example for the program.
“Back in the winter, we had the opportunity to meet with Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta,” said the coach. “We spoke about our unique and challenging circumstances this season and her advice resonated with Jacob and the entire program.
“She reminded us that ‘physics doesn’t care,’” he said in reference to the track team’s displacement this spring. “She said we needed to find a way and plan for success.”
Part of that credit, Sundermeier said, belonged to Ranker.
“Jacob served as a strong leader for the hurdlers on the team,” he said.
Ranker is contemplating his track and field future.
Sundermeier, for one, feels he will be successful during the next stage of his athletic life.
“Jacob’s future is bright at the collegiate level,” said the coach. “He is currently weighing his options and talking with several schools about the possibility of running at the next level.
“His primary event in college could be the 400 hurdles,” said Sundermeier. “Brandon Baker went on to set the school record in the 400’s at Otterbein, so Jacob’s ceiling is quite high.”
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