By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — Finally, it all comes down to this weekend.
The 2017-18 sports year, which began way back in the first week of August 2017, will come to a close.
And for Miami County’s track and field athletes, it’s the culmination of the hard work they put in during this atypically-cold spring season — and for some, the shot at possible state championships — when they compete at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championships this Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
* Division I
The big day is Saturday for the Troy Trojans, as neither the boys or girls teams had anyone qualify for Friday’s preliminary running events.
And the events to watch may be outside of the stadium at the throwing area, as sophomore Lenea Browder will take a shot at not one but two potential state titles on the day. At noon, she will compete in the discus, where she is seeded No. 1 with a throw of 149-2 from last week’s regional. The second-seeded thrower in the competition will be Akron Firestone’s Jordan Baith, another sophomore who threw 140-9 at last week’s regional. As a freshman last year, Browder placed ninth in the discus with a throw of 125-10.
Browder and Alaura Holycross both will then throw the shot put at 3 p.m. Browder comes in with the third-best regional throw at 43-0.75, while Holycross sits in sixth at 40-0.5. Browder has hit the 48-foot mark this season, though — with top-seeded Amaya King from Mason coming in at 44-3.75 from the regional — and Holycross was a state qualifier last year, placing ninth at 39-6, meaning anything can happen come Saturday.
Also at 3 p.m., Troy senior Christine Moser will compete in the pole vault, where she comes in tied for the fifth-best jump at 12-0. And the lone qualifier for the boys team, Nick Mittelstadt, will also compete at 3 p.m. in the high jump, where he is seeded tied for 13th at 6-2.
Finally, at 6:20 p.m., the illustrious career of senior Morgan Gigandet will come to a close as the four-time state qualifier will shoot for a state title one last time in the 3,200. A state champion in cross country during the fall, Gigandet has spent the past few weeks recovering from an injury and enters the race seeded 16th at 11:07.09, having finished fifth in the regional but qualifying due to the new wild card system implemented this season to add two more qualifiers to each of the running events.
* Division II
Miami East’s Blaine Brokschmidt will be aiming at a state title during his school’s first season in Division II. The Vikings’ lone qualifier, he will enter the pole vault competition — taking place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, kicking off the meet — with the second-best jump at 15-0, with Hillsboro’s Austin Goolsby seeded No. 1 at 15-4.
Milton-Union’s lone qualifier, senior Beyonce Bobbitt, will compete first thing in the morning at 9:30 a.m. both days, in the discus on Friday and the shot put on Saturday. Bobbitt is seeded fifth in the discus with a regional throw of 135-5, while she is seeded sixth in the shot put with a regional throw of 39-2.
For Tippecanoe, the 4×800 relay team will kick off the D-II running events at 1:30 p.m. Friday, with Makenzie Dietz, Katie Taylor, Mackenzie Dix and Kaili Titley running a 9:38.62 at the regional and entering as the No. 9 seed. Lydia Stueve will then run the 100 hurdle prelims at 2 p.m. Friday, entering the race with the 18th-best time of 15.94 seconds. And a 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Taylor will run the 3,200, entering with the 12th-best regional time of 11:29.28.
* Division III
Covington’s girls have the potential to challenge for one of the top spots in the team standings in Division III over the weekend.
Breanna Kimmel will kick things off for the Buccaneer girls at 10:20 a.m. Friday in the 100 prelims, where she is seeded tied for 14th at 12.72 seconds. Following that, the 4×200 relay team will run at 10:30 a.m., where Rayna Horner, Victoria Lyle, Morgan Lowe and Shae Robinson ran the top time coming in from the regional at 1:43.82. Horner will then run the 400 at 11 a.m., where she is seeded third at 57.25 seconds, and the 4×400 relay team will run at noon, with Paige Boehringer, Lowe, Horner and Kimmel running the top regional time in 3:59.67. And in the field events, Lauren Christian will throw the discus at 1 p.m. Friday, where she is seeded 11th at 120-0, then she will throw the shot put at 4 p.m., where she is seeded No. 2 at 42-8 behind only Newton Falls’ Izzy Cline’s 44-6.75.
Covington’s boys also have a host of competitors running in Friday’s preliminaries. At 10:10 a.m., Cade Harshbarger will run the 110 hurdles, where he is seeded 10th at 15.11 seconds. Then the 4×200 relay team will run at 10:40 a.m., where Alex Shaffer, Gray Harshbarger, Nathan Lyle and Tyler Freeman ran the eighth-best regional time at 1:31.23. Cade Harshbarger will then run the 300 hurdles at 11:30 a.m., where he is seeded third at 39.25 seconds, and the 4×400 relay team will cap off the running events at 12:10 p.m., where Gray Harshbarger, Andrew Cates, Freeman and Lyle ran the 12th-best regional time at 3:26.67. Finally, at 4 p.m., Jett Murphy will compete in the pole vault, where he enters competition tied with Ansonia’s Brock Shellhaas with the top jump at 14-8.
Newton’s boys have a pair of athletes competing in three events on Friday. Cameron Stine will run the 110 hurdles prelims at 10:10 a.m., where he is seeded 18th at 15.82 seconds, then he will compete in the high jump at 1 p.m., where he comes in with the 10th-best jump at 6-2. Also at 1 p.m., Dawson Hildebrand will throw the shot put, where he is seeded eighth at 50-8.75.
Lehman’s girls will also compete in three preliminary events on Friday, with Lindsey Magoteaux running the 100 prelims at 10:20 a.m. seeded 14th at 12.71 seconds. The 4×100 relay team of Magoteaux, Lauren McFarland, Rylie McIver and Alanna O’Leary will then run at 10:50 a.m., where they are tied with West Liberty-Salem with the top seed time at 49.85 seconds. And O’Leary will then run the 200 at 11:40 a.m., where she is seeded seventh at 25.65 seconds.
And finally, Bethel’s Korry Hamlin will run in the 3,200 at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, where he is seeded 14th at 9:50.53.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.