By Josh Brown
TROY — The only reason Troy’s Lenea Browder did not join the massive amount of Trojan girls setting new personal bests — mainly because she’s set that bar so high already.
But she did top her own Greater Western Ohio Conference meet record that she had set just two days prior.
Browder uncorked a throw of 45-10.25 on her final throw of the day in the shot put, topping the 44-3.5 that she threw during the divisional meet on Wednesday and easily winning both the shot put and discus Friday night at the Greater Western Ohio Conference All-Star meet at Troy Memorial Stadium, helping lead the girls to a fourth-place overall finish as a team.
The sophomore thrower — who already has shattered the Troy High School record in both events this season — began the day with a 41-1, which still would have been good enough to win, with her first throw in the shot put but followed that with a pair of fouls, sending her into the final three throws without momentum but still not shaken.
“Not really. I knew in my head I just needed to focus on myself,” Browder said. “I’ve been in this situation before, and I’ve had to learn how to get out of it, to stay focused.”
Browder landed a 41-10 on her next-to-last throw, and that gave her all the momentum she needed to launch the meet-record throw on her final one.
“Yeah, it did (help),” Browder said. “Sometimes I’m just in the zone, but sometimes I have to tell myself ‘you know what to do’ and focus and have fun. It feels good (to set the GWOC meet record) — I love coming out here and competing against these girls that all have the same mindset as you.”
Teammate Alaura Holycross added a third-place finish in the shot put (36-7.25), then the Trojans also doubled in the discus, with Browder winning (138-4) and Kylee Brooks finishing eighth (100-0).
The Trojans also got a big boost in the team standings from the pole vault. Christine Moser set a new personal best by clearing 12-0, tying the meet record and winning in the process, and Lilli Cusick also set a PR by clearing 10-0 and finishing sixth.
Camryn Moeller finished second in the long jump (17-3.75) and Annah Stanley was eighth (15-5.5). And the Trojans also scored twice in the high jump, with Jessica Goodwin, who was injured after her first jump, turning in a gutsy performance by finishing fourth (4-11) and Hallie Westmeyer finishing tied for fifth (4-9).
Once all the field events were scored, along with a handful of running events, the Troy girls — who won the overall GWOC title last season — were in first place with 72 points through 10 of 17 events, with Wayne and Centerville tied for second at 51.5 and Beavercreek a distant third with 35.5.
In the end, though, the Trojans — who were represented in every running event at the All-Star meet except the 200 — simply couldn’t score enough points to maintain that lead, finishing fourth with 82 points behind Beavercreek (93.5), Centerville (88.5) and Wayne (83.5). The girls finished off their eighth straight American North division title with 201 points to runner-up Greenville’s 87.
“I’ll tell you what. Shoot. I’m proud that we put ourselves in a position — and they expected to win,” Troy girls coach Kurt Snyder said. “They knew it was going to be an uphill battle, not having everybody healthy, but to win it last year and come this close this year says a lot about them. They put in the work. I always tell them you can’t control how fast the other kids are — we set so many PRs today, so we have nothing to be upset about. So many good things happened today.”
The Trojans were without one of their big weapons in Morgan Gigandet, a four-time state qualifier and state champion during cross country season in the fall. The points she would have likely scored in the 1,600 and 3,200 alone would have pushed the Trojans over the top — but Snyder and the team weren’t concerned about that, as coming that close without her was already an accomplishment.
“If you would have told me before the meet that, no Morgan, no Emma Shigley, I would’ve said we wouldn’t come close. But with two events left, we were still winning,” Snyder said. “That’s very impressive.
“If this was districts, Morgan would have ran. But there was no way we were putting this ahead of her health. And I’m proud of the kids that had the opportunity and took advantage.”
The 4×200 relay team of Evelyn Plunkett, Brennah Hutchinson, Katie Lord and Laura Borchers was fourth (1:48.23), the 4×100 team of Stanley, Moeller, Plunkett and Borchers was sixth (51.41 seconds), Hutchinson was sixth in the 100 (13.17 seconds) and sixth in the 400 (1:02.01), Stanley was seventh in the 100 (13.42 seconds), Goodwin was eighth in the 100 hurdles (17.7 seconds), Olivia Tyre was eighth in the 3,200 (11:51.25) and the 4×400 relay team of Hutchinson, Lord, Borchers and Ciena Miller was eighth (4:13.46).
Troy’s boys, meanwhile, entered the night in the lead in the GWOC American North standings, 115-92 over Butler, with two events to go — two of the Aviators’ best, the 800 and 3,200.
Butler picked up 15 points after the 800 and only trailed 115-107, then went one-two in the 3,200 and pulled ahead to win the division title, 125-121.
“That’s just the way the meet works out. It was a cliffhanger for us,” Troy boys coach Deon Metz said. “But I’m really proud of our guys. We did better than I think anyone expected. They came out and fought on Wednesday, put ourselves in a position to win, and it came all the way down to the 3,200 tonight. And that’s what we do here, we fight and put ourselves in a position to win every year.”
The Trojan boys won the division title last year and have won the North five times in the last seven years.
“Four points was the difference tonight, and that’s tough to swallow,” Metz said. “But I told the 3,200 runners that there were other places we could’ve picked up four points so don’t feel like this is all on you. But our guys did an outstanding job today, and most of these guys are back next year. So our hats off to Butler, but we’re coming back and trying to get it back next year.”
For Troy’s boys during the All-Star meet, Nick Mittelstadt was second in the high jump (6-3), Jaydon Culp-Bishop was second in the 200 (22.62 seconds) and eighth in the 400 (1:00.34), Spencer Klopfenstein was fifth in the shot put (47-8) and sixth in the discus (138-22), the 4×100 team of Culp-Bishop, Kobe Feltner, Caillou Monroe and Kevin Walters was sixth (44.19 seconds) and Jesse Westmeyer was eighth in the shot put (43-10.5). Overall, the Trojans finished 11th with 28 points.
Tippecanoe’s girls were 10th overall in the GWOC after the All-Star meet with 22 points. Lydia Stueve was third in the 100 hurdles (15.81 seconds), Katie Taylor was fourth in the 3,200 (11:25.19) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:17.56), Kaili Titley was fifth in the 800 (1:01.79), Ashlyn Tarzinski was sixth in the discus (101-9),
Tippecanoe’s boys were 15th overall in the GWOC after the All-Star meet with 8 points. Bryce McCullough was fifth in the 400 (51.44 seconds) and Matt Garber was fifth in the discus (140-4).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.