By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Since winning her state championship in the spring, Troy’s Lenea Browder has been anxiously awaiting the chance to watch her banner join the school’s other state champions in the rafters above the Trojan Activities Center.
Now she’s hungry for a chance to decorate the gymnasium even more.
Browder, who became Troy High School’s first ever girls track and field athlete to win an individual state title by winning the discus to cap off her sophomore year in the spring, received her state championship banner during halftime of Friday’s boys basketball game between the Trojans and Trotwood Rams. And now that she has that banner, her thoughts have turned to collecting even more.
“Every day,” Browder said when asked how often she thought about that moment since winning. “Honestly, when I first saw it, it was crazy, like, it’s just now becoming real. And to think, this is only the beginning. I can still get four more.”
Browder became only the second Troy underclassman to capture a state title, throwing the discus 145-2 at the Division I state meet in June at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to win the competition.
“It feels fantastic,” Browder said of joining the family of Troy state champions. “It’s unbelievable. God has just blessed me so much, and I just feel so blessed. There are no words to describe it.”
Troy’s first ever state champion, Mike Lyons, won his gymnastics title on the still rings in 1977 during his senior year, then the next year, Rob Evans won his state gymnastics title on the long horse vault during his senior year in 1978. Todd Darbyshire was also a senior when he won his state title in wrestling in 1982, then Kami Matthews became the first Trojan underclassman to win a championship, winning her state swimming title in 1984 during her sophomore year.
Jerry Hounchell followed that by winning a state title in boys golf in 1987 during his senior year, then Levi Fox won his boys state track and field title in the 3,200 in 2005 during his senior year. Alicia Benson won a state girls bowling title in 2009 during her senior year, and most recently before Browder’s win, Morgan Gigandet kicked off her senior year with a state girls cross country title in 2017.
Even after she won the title in the discus, though, Browder’s thoughts immediately turned to winning more.
“I’m not done yet,” she said directly after the competition. “This is just the beginning. There’s so much more I want to do.”
Browder narrowly missed becoming Troy’s first ever two-time state champion the very same day, throwing the shot put 45-9.75 and finishing second behind Carrollton’s Alivia Bentley, who was the runner-up in the discus competition with a throw of 137-7. Bentley is now a senior, while Browder is a junior.
Still, Browder knows that winning another title isn’t going to come easy.
“I’ve got to work. Work all the time,” Browder said Friday night. “There’s no sick days, no time off. I’ve got to stay hungry. If I want more, I’ve got to stay hungry, stay committed, and I have to go get it.”
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.