By Josh Brown
PIQUA — Milton-Union’s Beyonce Bobbitt was done with the drama.
For Miami East’s Blaine Brokschmidt, it was something of a new experience.
Both claimed their first regional championships Thursday night at the first day of the Division II regional track and field meet at Piqua High School, punching their tickets to next week’s state meet along with Tippecanoe’s regional runner-up girls 4×800 relay team.
No More Suspense
Last year, Beyonce Bobbitt waited until her final throw of regional competition to let loose her state-qualifying toss.
Thursday night, she didn’t feel like waiting.
Bobbitt — who entered competition as a three-time state qualifier, twice in the shot put — launched a throw of 39-2 on her third attempt of the day, defeating Rogers’ Myranda Johnson’s runner-up throw of 39-1.75 to claim her first regional championship.
“It feels like, well, it just feels good,” she said. “I feel like I’ve definitely earned this. I’ve worked so hard to get this, and I’ve been denied it so many stinking times. And I’m happy. I’m happy with my performance today. But I also know that I’ve got more inside me, and I’m going to get it out, because I want to podium at state. I want to get first place in discus, and I want to podium at least in shot put. I’m not going to take anything less.”
But Bobbitt knows, regardless of the results next week, there are things that can’t be taken away from her.
“Whether I do good or bad, being there four times in the discus and three out of four years in shot, seeing my hard work pay off is what track’s all about to me,” Bobbitt said. “It’s not about the medals or the recognition, it’s about the hard work and seeing myself grow as an athlete and a person. It’s my favorite thing to do. It’s about the competition — I love the competition. I just come alive in competition.”
The 39-2 was Bobbitt’s best in the shot put this season, with her personal best being 39-5.5, and breaking the 40-foot mark is one more goal for her.
“I’m proud of what I did today. I wish I would’ve gotten 40, but I’ve got three more throws to do that now,” she said. “But this is it, man. I’m going to go out with a bang.”
New division, same Blaine Brokschmidt.
Maybe even new-and-improved just a bit.
The Miami East junior, who qualified for state last season and placed eighth there in Division III, was not slowed down by the Vikings’ climb as a team to Division II this season, claiming his first regional championship — and East’s boys’ first as a D-II team — by clearing 15-0 in the pole vault, beating his own Miami East school record in the process. Versailles’ Luke Shellhaas finished second at 14-8.
“It feels pretty good, but I am a little tired,” Brokschmidt said. “I had at least 12 jumps today, and the worst part is that the sun is right behind the pit, so you don’t know where the box is. You kind of just have to run down there and trust yourself.”
That may have affected Brokschmidt’s first attempt of the day at 13-0, as he didn’t come close to getting over the bar. But once that was out of the way, he looked smooth the rest of the day on his way to victory.
It was a big step up from last season, where he cleared 13-10 at the D-III regional to qualify for state and then cleared the same height to get eighth place at the state meet.
“I made 13-10 at regionals last year,” he said. “I had a 14-0 vault at the conference meet, and we were going in confident, but I barely made it into state — I was fourth place on misses. I went there and jumped 13-10 … but this indoor season was huge. We have a pit up at our old gym that we jump at, and going in there and going to indoor meets this year, I started jumping big. I jumped 14-6 at Ohio State a couple times and won a couple meets.”
But once outdoor season — and this spring’s atypically cold weather — hit, it was hard to keep improving.
“In the early season, it was just rough,” Brokschmidt said. “I think my first meet was 12-6, and we had five meets cancelled. It was terrible. I really didn’t start jumping well until about two weeks before conference. I jumped the school record at 14-6.5, then we blew up at conference. I jumped 14-9 and set the conference record, won the meet, and at the time it was the top jump in the state for D-II.”
Now Brokschmidt will prepare for another state meet, looking to improve yet again.
The Tippecanoe girls 4×800 team of Makenzie Dietz, Katie Taylor, Mackenzie Dix and Kaili Titley also qualified for the state meet, finishing second in 9:38.62, with Defiance winning in 9:37.61.
For Dietz, Taylor and Titley, it’s the third straight season qualifying for state as members of the 4×800 team. Dietz is the only senior, Taylor and Titley are both juniors and Dix, the new addition, is a freshman. The trio had qualified with fellow junior Jillian Brown the past two seasons.
Dietz kept the team in the running, sitting roughly in ninth place at the first exchange, then Taylor moved up to fourth after a lap and handed the baton to Dix in first at the second exchange. Dix was sitting in third after a lap in a tightly-packed top four, but she passed the baton to anchor Titley in first place — and that pack of four stayed tight all the way to the end, with Defiance just pushing past in the final stretch.
It was the best time for the team on the season as they move on to the state meet. Two years ago, Dietz, Taylor and Titley also finished second, with the team winning the regional title last season.
The season came to an end for a number of local athletes in Thursday’s finalized events.
In the boys 4×800 relay, Tippecanoe’s Noah Ballard, Brennan Larned, Bryce Conley and Patrick McCaffrey finished 13th in 8:36.73, while the Miami East 4×800 team of Eric Austerman, Gavin Horn, Taton Bertsch and Jonah Brautigam was disqualified.
In the girls high jump, Miami East’s Liza Bair finished tied for eighth, clearing 5-0, while Milton-Union’s Ally Lyons was ninth, clearing 4-10.
In the boys pole vault, Milton-Union’s Trevor Grile finished tied for 10th, clearing 11-6.
In the running events, a handful of area athletes qualified for Saturday’s finals.
In the girls 100 hurdles, Tippecanoe’s Lydia Stueve, a state qualifier last year, advanced to the finals with the third-best time (15.78 seconds).
In the boys 4×200 relay, Miami East grabbed the eighth and final qualifying spot (1:32.2), and in the boys 4×100 the same team posted the seventh-best time (44.11 seconds) to advance to Saturday’s finals. And in the 4×400, the Vikings also qualified with the seventh-best time (3:28).
In the boys 200, Milton-Union’s Robbie Grove posted the seventh-best time (22.94 seconds) to qualify for the finals.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.