By David Fong
TROY — It was another banner year — literally, as red and gray reminders of all it accomplished in 2017 soon will be hanging around the school — for the Troy High School athletic program.
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at what the Trojans accomplished in the past calendar year. While there were dozens of moments to choose from, we tried to narrow it down to the top five moments of the year. We apologize in advance for those we may have forgotten — it wasn’t intentional. Congratulations to all of Troy’s sports teams.
Without any further ado:
5) Continued dominance
Some things at Troy are becoming so routine you could practically set your watch to them.
Quite simply, Troy has dominated the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division in four sports — cross country, girls track and field, volleyball and bowling — the past decade, putting together some impressive championship streaks.
This fall, the cross country team captured its 10th GWOC North title in a row and its 11th in the past 12 years. For some perspective he last time a team other than Troy won a North title, some of the members of Troy’s 2017 championship team were in kindergarten.
Also in the fall, the Troy volleyball team won its sixth North title in a row and its seventh in the last eight years. Since beginning its six-year run of dominance, the Trojans are a perfect 50-0 in GWOC North Division competition. Troy hasn’t lost a division match since Sept. 29, 2011.
Last spring, the girls track and field team captured its seventh North title in a row, earning every member of the team inspired T-shirts that read “Stairway to Seven” on them.
In the winter, the girls bowling team won its fourth North title in a row and its 10th and the past 11 years. That would lead to even bigger things for the Trojans in the postseason, which we’ll touch on later in this list.
4) How the North was won
Speaking of dominance, Troy’s athletic department as a whole returned to it during the 2016-17 school year, recapturing the GWOC North All-Sports Trophy after a one-year break.
Troy won five GWOC North All-Sports titles in a row from 2011-2015, but Butler ended that streak by winning the championship in 2016. Troy won its sixth title in seven years in dramatic fashion in 2017, however, nipping Butler on the final day of competition at the GWOC track and field championships.
Going into the GWOC track and field championships, division placements already had been decided in baseball, softball and tennis. With those three sports factored in, Butler had 93.5 points, while Troy had 91.5 points.
After the first day of the two-day GWOC track championships, Troy’s girls track and field team already had clinched a North Division title, while Butler was locked in at second place, giving both Troy and Butler 98.5 points, essentially making the showdown between the Trojans and Aviators in the race for the boys track and field title a winner-take-all contest that would also determined the all-sports trophy.
Troy’s boys track and field team would win the North Division with 96.5 points, while Butler was second with 84 points. That was enough to propel the entire Troy athletic program — which had been building up points all through the school year — over the top to win the all-sports trophy. Troy finished with 105.5 points, while Butler finished with 103.5.
3) No fluke
From 2012-15, the Troy football team went just 10-30. In 2016, however, the Trojans returned to their former glory, going 10-2, winning the school’s first conference title since 2000 and making it all the way to the Division II regional semifinals.
After losing a number of key players to graduation, however, many wondered if the Trojans could repeat what it accomplished, or if the year prior had been merely an aberration. When the Trojans started the season 1-2 last fall, some began to doubt the Trojans.
Troy would respond by winning its next seven games in a row, however, winning its second outright GWOC title in a row, qualifying for the playoffs once again and taking a 64-63-6 lead in its historic rivalry with Piqua, knocking off the Indians 33-0 in the final game of the regular season.
2) Rolling on
The Troy bowling program has become not only one of the best in the GWOC, but in the entire state, as well.
Just one year after winning a Division I state bowling title, the Troy girls bowling team followed that up with a second-place finish at the 2017 state bowling tournament. The Troy girls also finished second in 2009, while the Troy boys bowling team captured a state title in 2011.
The Trojans bowled a 3,276 in the qualifying round, earning the third seed in the head-to-head tournament. The top eight out of 16 teams in the qualifying round advanced to tournament play. Once in the eight-team tournament, the Trojans opened against sixth-seeded Gahanna Lincoln. The Trojans won the best-of-five match by a final tally of 4-1. In the semifinals, Troy beat Columbus Briggs, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, 3-2.
In the finals, Stow Monroe-Falls beat Troy 3-0.
1) Going the distance
Senior Morgan Gigandet had accomplished about all there was to do in her historic cross country/track career at Troy … with one notable exception.
Gigandet hadn’t won a state title.
All of that changed, however, when Gigandet captured a Division I state cross country title in the fall, losing her lead in the final half mile, then passing Solon’s Olivia Howell with about 20 meters left in the race to finish in 17:30 and become the first state cross country champion in school history. Howell finished in 17:32.
“That was fun,” Gigandet said of the final 20 meters, which saw her pass Howell, who seemed to slip slightly on the muddy course, as the fans watching from the grandstands broke into a raucous cheer. “I kind of was like, ‘Do I have to go faster?’ And then she passed me and I was like, ‘Well, I kind of don’t want to get second.’ So I thought I better try. So then I tried and then I passed her.”
It was Gigandet’s fourth trip to the state meet, having placed third as a sophomore and sixth as a junior. She’s also a three-time state placer in the 3,200 in track. She’ll close out her career at Troy with the track team this spring.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong