By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy girls track and field coach Kurt Snyder had a hard time narrowing down his thoughts when asked who had a good meet.
To be fair, the Trojans made it difficult on both he and boys coach Deon Metz … since they all did.
“I don’t want to leave anyone out, because so many kids had great days,” Snyder said. “A lot of kids ran and competed great today and took advantage of the nice weather and good competition.”
Troy’s girls cruised to a victory at the season-opening Up and Running Invitational Saturday at Troy Memorial Stadium, posting 153 points, with Fremont Ross being the distant runner-up with 62. The Trojan boys made it a sweep, as well, turning a slim lead into a 90.33-76 victory over second-place Northmont.
Senior Ashley Barr was a standout for the Trojans, with a first-place finish and a pair of seconds. She won the 400 in 59.51 seconds — the only runner in the field below one minute — and was second in the 100 (13.1 seconds) and 200 (27.18 seconds).
“She tripled today, getting two seconds and a first,” Snyder said. “We’ve never had a kid break 60 seconds in the 400 in the first meet of the season before. That says a lot about how hard she’s been working, not only this first few weeks of practice, but all winter long. And the times she ran in the 100 and 200 are really close to the times she ran at the end of last season. She’s in a real good spot right now, and she’s only going to keep getting better.”
Junior Morgan Gigandet had a solid day in her two races, despite skipping her best one, the 3,200. She won the 1,600 (5:13.09) and was second in the 800 (2:25.64).
“Morgan ran a 5:13 by herself in the 1,600, and she had some good competition in the 800 from the Northmont girl (Melissa Barrett, who was first in 2:22.67),” Snyder said. “She needs that. We’re going to put her in some shorter races that maybe aren’t her best because she needs to work on her speed. It was nice to see her get pushed, and sometimes it’s good to get beat. It can help motivate you a bit.”
That didn’t mean that Troy struggled in the 3,200, either. Sophomore Olivia Tyre won (12:34.17), Kate Pence was second (12:58.56) and Megan Myers was seventh (13:22.06).
Caitlyn Cusick, another senior, also had a solid day in three events, winning the 300 hurdles (50.41 seconds), taking second in the 100 hurdles (17.77 seconds) and fourth in the long jump (14-10). Teammate Annah Stanley won the long jump with a leap of 15-7.25.
“Caitlyn was sick all week but had a first, a second and a fourth,” Snyder said. “She was close to breaking 50 seconds in the 300, too. And Annah, we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to practice the long jump this preseason with the weather, but she did a nice job. She popped one farther than she did all of last year.”
The Trojan girls were solid in the rest of the field events, as well. in the shot put, Alaura Holycross was second (37-9), Lenea Browder was fifth (33-6) and Hannah Simister was eighth (30-7) . Browder was third in the discus (99-5) and Amanda Setser was seventh (90-2), Dasia Cole was fourth in the high jump (5-0), Christine Moser was third in the pole vault (10-6) while Lilli Cusick was seventh (8-0) and Breanna Stith was eighth in the long jump (13-7.25).
Emma Shigley was also second in the 1,600 (5:37.38) and Jenna Zimmerman was fourth (5:54.24), and the duo also placed in the 800, with Shigley fifth (2:36.42) and Zimmerman eighth (2:43.5). Celina Courts was seventh in the 100 (13.61 seconds) and eighth in the 200 (28.53 seconds).
Miami East’s girls were third with 52.5 points. Kaitlyn Mack was second in the 300 hurdles (52.21 seconds), third in the 100 hurdles (18.41 seconds). Jillian Wesco was second in the long jump (15-5). Gabrielle Hawkins was third in the 100 (13.14 seconds) and 200 (27.27 seconds) and fifth in the 400 (1:04.29). Liza Bair was third in the high jump (5-0). Maria Staton was fifth in the 100 hurdles (18.78 seconds). Josie DesAutels was sixth in the 3,200 (13:21.64). Emma Linn was eighth in the discus (87-3) and Mady Osborne was tied for eighth in the pole vault (6-6).
Milton-Union’s girls were ninth with 25 points, led by Beyonce Bobbitt, who won the discus (118-2) and shot put (38-2). Emily Hornberger was fifth in the pole vault (9-6) and Laura Billing was tied for eighth (6-6), and Allison Freisthler was tied for eighth in the high jump (4-6).
On the boys’ side, Troy held a one-third point lead in the middle of the meet, but a pair of wins helped the Trojans take charge for good as Keenan Kinnel won the 300 hurdles (42.73 seconds) and Kameron Block won the discus (139-8), with Keaton Pfeiffer also taking third (128-2).
“Once some of the throws came in, especially the discus, and Keenan won the 300s, that flipped it for us,” Metz said. “Before that, we were barely ahead of Northmont, which has a loaded team but is also on spring break.”
Troy also built a large number of points in the springs thanks to the duo of sophomore Jayden Culp-Bishop and senior Josh Browder.
Culp-Bishop won the 100 (11.31 seconds) and Browder was second (11.45 seconds), and in the 200, Culp-Bishop was second (22.97 seconds) and Browder was third (23.29 seconds).
“That’s what you need. You get competition from other teams, but it’s great to have competition within your own team,” Metz said. “That’s how you get better, when one teammate pushes another teammate. If we can get that in practice, not just in meets, who’s going to be that top dog in the sprints, they’ll benefit from that — and the whole team benefits.”
Nick Mittelstadt added a victory in the high jump (5-9) and Tucker Racksay was tied for second (5-9). Hayata Nagata was fifth in the 400 (53.53 seconds). Spencer Klopfenstein was fifth in the shot put (41-6.5) and Jesse Westmeyer was seventh (38-10). Frankie Hoening was sixth in the 110 hurdles (19.25 seconds). Hayden Jackson was seventh in the long jump (18-7). Anish Gollamudi was seventh in the pole vault (11-0) and Zane Small was eighth (10-0).
“We had great weather today, and we were able to run some great times,” Metz said. “Some of the guys were disappointed with their times, but as I told them, it’s the first meet and they’re going to get in better shape. The weather hasn’t been cooperative, and we’re going to get stronger. You’ve got to have a starting point.”
Milton-Union was tied for seventh with 37 points. Alex Moore won the 110 hurdles (17.57 seconds). Blake Smith was second in the 300 hurdles (43.3 seconds) and Moore was third (43.57 seconds). Shannon Milnickel was fifth in the 1,600 (4:46.99). Trevor Grile was seventh in the discus (115-7).
Miami East was 10th with 34.33 points. Justin Brown was tied for second in the high jump (5-9) and sixth in the long jump (19-0). Aaron Lawrence was third in the 110 hurdles (18.74 seconds). Taton Bertch was fourth in the 110 hurdles (18.76 seconds) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (45.97 seconds). Blaine Brokschmidt was fourth in the pole vault (13-6) and Kaleb Nichols was sixth (11-6). Dalton Taynor was seventh in the 200 (23.97 seconds). Daniel Baker was eighth in the 400 (54.99 seconds). Brennan Dalton was eighth in the shot put (37-9.5).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.