By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — Deon Metz came into the Herb Hartman Invitational with plenty of questions about his team.
The Troy boys track and field coach found answers to many of them Friday at Troy Memorial Stadium — some of them in surprise places.
“When we talked earlier this week, I was really nervous coming into this meet; I didn’t know how well we were going to do,” Metz said. “But I was really proud of how our kids came out and performed tonight. We found out a lot about ourselves. They showed me a lot. Are we a finished product right now? Absolutely not. But it’s a start.”
After finish eighth at the Hartman Invitational a year ago, the Trojans made a huge leap forward Friday, placing third with 69 points. Wayne won the event with 114.5 points, while Springboro was second with 81 points. Butler was close behind Troy with 65 points.
Troy picked up most of its points in the throws, where seniors Spencer Klopfenstein and Jesse Westmeyer both turned in strong performances. Klopfenstein won the discus with a throw of 153-2 — a personal record by nearly 10 feet — while Westmeyer was third with 138-6. Westmeyer also was third in the shot put with a throw of 46-10.5, a personal best for him.
“We are going to be relying on both of those guys a lot this year,” Metz said. “We’ve kind of been waiting on Spencer to unleash a throw like that this season, so hopefully this is just the start for him. Westmeyer has really worked on his technique in the offseason and has improved so much.”
Troy also got a surprise champion in the long jump, as sophomore Lucas Henderson won the event with a leap of 19-8, nearly 2 feet better than his best mark coming into the event.
“The long jump was definitely a pleasant surprise for us,” Metz said. “Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come for that young man.”
Also for the Trojans, senior Jaydon Culp-Bishop — who has been battling nagging injuries through the first few weeks of the season — took third in a stacked 100 field (11.17 seconds), while sophomore Josh Lovitt was third in the steeplechase (6:50.9).
“Jaydon was impressive,” Metz said. “He’s been battling through some injuries, but he looked strong running that 100. I haven’t seen that Jaydon in a long, long time. Hopefully we can continue to get him healthy and this is just the start of some very big things for him on the track.”
Culp-Bishop also teamed up with Noah Young, Kobe Feltner and Blake Burton to take third in the 4×100 relay (44.26 seconds). Run JCB, Henderson, Feltner and Young also were third in the 4×200 relay (1:32.99).
“Our relays ran really well today,” Metz said. “We haven’t had a lot of time to work on our handoffs with the weather this spring, but I thought they came out and ran really well. Overall, I’m pleased with how we did. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I definitely feel better after this meet this year than I did after this meet last year.”
The Tippecanoe boys track and field team finished 10th with 35.5 points.
The Red Devils were led by junior Bryce Conley, who won the 3,200 in 9:46.79. Junior Jake Rowland was fourth in the 300 hurdles (42.76 seconds) and junior Landen Fraylick was fourth in the steeplechase (7:07.20).
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong.