By Josh Brown
COLUMBUS — The heat. The atmosphere. Tough competition.
Whatever was the cause at Saturday’s Division II state track and field finals at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Tippecanoe’s Kaili Titley and Katie Taylor and Milton-Union’s Beyonce Bobbitt found the going difficult, as none of them were able to find their way to the podium on the day.
Titley, a sophomore competing in the 800 at state for the second year in a row, finished 11th in a time of 2:20.94. Last season, she placed ninth as a freshman and was thrilled with that finish, but Saturday’s 11th-place finish left her upset.
“I don’t know,” she said when asked what was different this season. “I don’t know what happened. I’m disappointed. But I know I’m blessed to have gotten this far.”
Of the 10 people that finished ahead of her, though, seven were seniors — and Titley will have two more chances.
“Knowing that most of the other girls were seniors helps a lot,” Titley said. “I was one of only three sophomores in the race, so knowing that I have two more years left is very reassuring.”
Taylor also has two more years left — and she performed admirably in her first time competing in an individual event at state.
The Tippecanoe sophomore began Saturday’s 3,200 slow, sitting in 15th after two laps as runners No. 2 through 14 lumped themselves together in one big pack chasing the leader. Taylor was able to pick off a couple of those runners down the stretch, though, finishing 13th in 11:36.48.
Milton-Union’s Beyonce Bobbitt — a junior and three-time state qualifier — struggled in the shot put Saturday, not recording a mark on her three preliminary attempts, one of two athletes to foul out before the finals.
Bobbitt, who placed fourth in the discus on Friday, was a finalist in the shot put at state last year, finishing ninth. She entered Saturday’s competition with the 13th-best throw from the regionals.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.