By David Fong
PIQUA — Right around this time last year, Nick Mittelstadt was watching the Division I district track and field meet from the stands.
The Troy High School high jumper learned Friday the view from atop the podium is much sweeter.
“Looking back to the beginning of the year, if you had told me I was going to be a district champion, I would not have believed you,” said Mittelstadt, who won a district title Friday at Alexander Stadium in Piqua with a jump of 6-2. Last year, Mittelstadt was a scratch at districts. “I’ve made a lot of improvements. I’m kind of speechless.”
The Trojans will be sending a pair of high jumpers to regionals, as sophomore Tucker Raskay took third place with a leap of 6-0, good for third place. The top four in each event earned spots at the Division I regional meet at Wayne High School.
“In our first meet this year, I jumped 5-9, and it was kind of a letdown, because that’s what I was jumping last year,” Mittelstadt said. “But I just kept working. Now I want to try and advance and keep working toward the bigger things.”
Trojan relays qualify
Figuring the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts, Troy boys track and field coach Deon Metz decided to load up his relay teams with his top sprinters, rather than have those runners focus on the open sprints.
The move paid off Friday, as Troy qualified for regionals in all three sprints. Leading the way was the 4×200 relay team of Jaydon Culp-Bishop, Kobe Feltner, Caillou Monroe and Noah Young, which won a district championship in 1:31.30.
“This feels great,” Feltner said. “This is what we’ve been working for all season. We are putting it together at the end of the season. We’ve been working hard every day in practice.”
Culp-Bishop was trailing when he took the baton for the second leg of the relay, but came storming back to give the Trojans a lead they would never relinquish.
“I wanted to come out and catch everyone,” he said. “I felt like they were getting tired and couldn’t finish, so we just kept pushing them.”
One of the key elements for the team in the postseason has been Young, a converted hurdler who has helped push the relay team to the next level in the postseason.
“I’ve got the best team around me,” he said. “We want to go all the way to state.”
Monroe ran the anchor leg for the Trojans, never letting the competition make a serious threat.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “We wanted to come out and crush everyone.”
Troy also qualified the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams to state. The same foursome that ran the 4×200 finished third in the 4×400 (3:33.47). The 4×100 team of Blake Burton, Culp-Bishop, Monroe and Feltner placed fourth in 44.08 seconds.
Smith places fourth
Troy senior Andy Smith had a little extra motivation to run well Friday.
With former Troy head coach and distance coach Bob Campbell cheering him on from just outside the track, Smith ran the best 3,200 of his career, finishing fourth in 10:07.12, good enough to earn a trip to regionals next week.
Having already won a district championship Wednesday, Troy junior Spencer Klopfenstein became a double qualifier for regionals Friday, placing third in the shot put with a throw of 46-9.
Troy places fifth
The Trojans placed fifth in the team standings with 66 points. Springfield won the meet with 110 points, while Butler was second (92), Northmont was third (86) and Trotwood-Madison was fourth (85).
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong