By David Fong
TROY — Had you asked Deon Metz back in late March or early April what his team’s chances of winning the Greater Western Ohio Conference North title were, you likely would have received an answer as cold as the weather outside.
“If you had told me back then that after the first day of the GWOC meet, we’d be in first place, I would have told you that you were crazy,” said Metz, the Troy boys track and field coach. “Because we were not healthy. We were having trouble putting together a team. We had big holes in our lineup and Jaydon (Culp-Bishop) was ailing.”
What a difference a few weeks can make.
Since then, the Trojans have filled many of those holes and Culp-Bishop appears healthy and rounding into form as the postseason approaches. As a result, Troy — which routinely finished behind Division II and III teams in meets early in the season — was atop the GWOC North leaderboard after the first day of competition at the GWOC Division Meet Wednesday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
With two events remaining Friday, Troy leads the North with 115 points, while Butler is second with 92 points. Troy will have to fight to hold onto that lead Friday, however, as Butler is expected to score major points in the two remaining events, the 3,200 and 800.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be in this position, because Butler is such a solid team,” Metz said. “But we scored just enough points (Wednesday) to make it interesting. The Butler coach said we are like a cat that is hanging on to a wall and just keeps scratching and clawing.”
After struggling with injuries early in the season, Culp-Bishop appeared to be back to his old self Wednesday, winning the 200 (22.72 seconds) and 400 (50.80), taking second in the 100 (11.60) and joining Kobe Feltner, Caillou Monroe and Kevin Walters to take second in the 4×100 (44.19).
“We loaded up Jaydon and tried to use him to score as many points as we could,” Metz said. “He did a great job. I know he was really down on himself early in the season because he just couldn’t get healthy. But the weather has finally started to warm up, which helps, and he’s finally starting to feel healthy again. I’m so proud of him, because of the way he kept working hard when things weren’t going his way.”
Troy’s other title came in the high jump, where Nick Mittelstadt won with a leap of 6-1. Also in the field events, Spencer Klopfenstein was second in the shot put (45-7), while Jesse Westmeyer was third (44-4). Klopfenstein was third in the discus (125-9), while Westmeyer was fourth (121-0). Feltner was fourth in the long jump (19-11).
“We scored some big points in the field events,” Metz said. “Nick Mittelstadt is a kid who has steadily gotten better all year long. I know the throwers didn’t have the kind of day they wanted, but they still scored a lot of points for us.”
Metz said it was a total team effort that put the Trojans atop the leaderboard going into Friday.
“They are definitely buying in right now,” he said. “Once they start buying into the program, these are the results they can expect. To get into this position, the only chance we had is if kids came out and went above and beyond what they were used to doing. That’s what they did.”
Tippecanoe in fourth
The Tippecanoe boys track and field team is in fourth place in the GWOC North standings with 35 points after Wednesday’s competition.
Bryce McCullough placed second in the 400 (52.05 seconds) and fourth in the 200 (23.66). Matt Garber was second in the discus (136-5).
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong