By David Fong
PIQUA — Kurt Snyder may teach his students math, but his track teams are making history.
The Troy girls track and field team captured its fourth district title in a row — to go along with its unprecedented run of eight straight Greater Western Ohio Conference titles — at the Division I meet Friday at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium. Prior to Troy’s current run of district titles, no Troy team had ever won two in a row.
Troy finished the meet with an astounding 179 points. Northmont was second with 92 points and Greenville was third with 89. Adding in the regional qualifiers from the opening day of competition Wednesday, Troy qualified for regionals in 14 out of 17 events. Just as impressive, of the 13 individual (non-relay) events, Troy qualified two athletes in seven events.
“Our seniors have won a district title ever year they’ve competed,” Snyder said. “The seniors that competed (Friday) all qualified for regionals. They’ve been doing that for four years now. We never take this meet for granted. At this point in the season, you have two types of kids — kids who are ready to compete and move on, and kids who are ready for the season to be over. We had a bus full of kids who were ready to compete and move on.”
Camyrn Moeller is one of the best volleyball players in Ohio. Moeller — who will begin her college volleyball carer in the fall — is establishing herself as one of the best track athletes around, as well.
Moeller, who just began competing in track and field last spring, won a district title in the long jump, was part of two relay teams that won district titles and placed second in the 200 as she led the Trojan onslaught.
In the long jump, Moeller leaped 17-10.5, more than 7 inches better than her personal record. In the 200, she placed second in 26.08 seconds, more than 1.5 seconds better than her previous best. Her long jump was the third-longest in school history, while her 200 was the fourth-fastest in school history.
Last year, Moeller placed fourth at districts and then seventh at regionals. This year, she’s hoping to place in the top four at regionals and earn a trip to state.
“I have a lot more confidence going into regionals this year than I did last year,” she said. “I think state is possible this year. I’ve just got to keep up my legs and stay healthy. It’s pretty weird; I never expected to do this well at track, but it does feel good.”
Snyder said he hopes more Troy athletes will continue to follow Moeller’s lead in the future.
“Track athletes should be two-sport athletes,” he said. “That’s how you build a good program. We don’t care if our kids play other sports. If they want to play another sport, that’s fine. We will work around their schedules. We don’t worry when Cam has to skip a track practice for (Junior Olympic) volleyball, because we know she’s getting more explosive and getting a good workout there.”
Troy’s incredible depth was on display at the district meet. After winning the 4×800 relay Wednesday, Troy added district championships in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays Friday. Also, the 4×400 relay team placed third, meaning all four of Troy’s relay teams will be headed to regionals.
The 4×100 relay team of Moeller, Annah Stanley, Evelyn Plunkett and Laura Borchers placed first in 50.68 seconds.
“This feels awesome,” said Stanley, who was part of the Troy 4×200 relay team that qualified for state last year. “This is my third year in a row going to regionals on a relay team, and it feels good. We have had different people on the relay team every year, but it’s great, because we always have people who hype each other up.”
This will be the first trip to regionals for Plunkett, who is running varsity for the first time.
“This is awesome,” Plunkett said. “I love being a part of this team.”
The 4×200 relay team of Moeller, Laura Borchers, Katie Lord and Brennah Hutchsinson placed first in 1:45.59.
“This is so awesome,” said Hutchinson, the lone freshman on the relay team. “I’m so excited.”
Lord said she is looking forward to competing at regionals for the first time.
“I was an alternate for the relay at regionals last year,” she said. “It feels good to be going this year.”
The Trojans jumped out to an early lead in the event and were never threatened the rest of the way. Borchers anchored the relay and slammed the door shut as Troy won by more than 3 seconds.
“I had no idea how close anyone was,” Borchers said. “I saw that I had a great lead and didn’t want to lose it.”
To close the night, the 4×400 relay team of Ciena Miller, Hutchinson, Borchers and Lord placed third in 4:11.11.
Browder wins again
After winning a district title in the shot put Wednesday, Troy sophomore Lenea Browder added a district title in the discus to her resume Friday.
Browder won with a throw of 122-8, while teammate Kylee Brooks also qualified for regionals with a throw of 106-4, good for third place.
As was the case in the shot put, Browder was pleased to win, but not entirely happy with her performance, which was about 22 feet shorter than her career best.
“I feel like I throw better when there is more competition pushing me,” Browder said. “I think some of it is the adrenaline, but I also think I just hate to lose to anyone. I know I’ll need to throw a lot better at regionals. I’m going to have to come out and do my best.”
Gigandet wins again
A healthy Morgan Gigandet is a dangerous Morgan Gigandet.
The Troy senior distance runner — a Division I state cross country champion last fall and a three-time state placer in track and field — reminded the rest of the state of that fact Friday. Gigandet has been hampered by a hip injury all season, which eventually led to her sitting out of last week’s GWOC Championships.
Feeling as good as she all season, Gigandet blistered the field in the 3,200 Friday, easily winning her fourth straight district championship in 11:13.10. Teammate Kate Pence also qualified for regionals, placing third in 12:14.55.
“I feel better,” Gigandet said. “I can actually run without having any pain. It’s pretty much been bugging me all season.”
With an eye on staying healthy for the regional and state meets, Friday was the first time in her career Gigandet only ran one race at districts.
“It was different,” Gigandet said. “I’m so used to running in more than one event. But I kind of liked being able to concentrate on only one event.”
Tyre defends title
Junior Olivia Tyre successfully defended the 1,600 title she won last year, taking first in 5:35.35. Her toughest competition came from freshman teammate Dinah Gigandet, who finished second in 5:36.46, also earning a trip to regionals.
“I was nervous to come out and run today,” Tyre said. “I knew I was running against some really good competition today. It’s been so amazing to watch Dinah just get faster and faster with each race. I definitely felt a little more pressure this year after winning it last year, but I just took the approach of, ‘Whatever happens, happens.’”
Troy also qualified for regionals in the pole vault, 400 and 100 hurdles.
In the pole vault, senior Christine Moser was second, clearing 12-0, while junior Lilli Cusick was fourth with a vault of 9-0. In the 400, Hutchinson was third in 1:00.86, while Lord was fourth in 1:01.53. In the 100 hurdles, Jessica Goodwin battled through an injury to take third in 16.86 seconds.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong