By David Fong
CASSTOWN — At the conclusion of the final race of the evening, Deon Metz sucked in a deep breath, exhaled, ran his hands across his shaved head and simple exclaimed, “I’m exhausted.”
It bears mentioning that Metz was coaching the Troy track team’s 4×400 relay, not actually running in it.
Such was the relief the Troy boys track and field team’s coach felt after his team did just enough in the final race of the night to clip Tippecanoe for the Miami County Championships team title Tuesday at Miami East High School. Troy finished with 121 points, while Tippecanoe finished with 119.
Troy was holding a five-point lead going into the final event, but Tippecanoe finished second in the 4×400 to pick up eight points. Troy’s makeshift 4×400 relay team of sophomore Caleb Steggeman, freshman Jack Kleinhenz, sophomore Lucas Henderson and senior Keegan Potts held on to finish fourth, however, giving Troy five points, enough to stay ahead of the Red Devils in the team standings.
“You know, it’s not always easy to find guys who want to run the 4×400,” Metz said. “You talk about ‘man races.’ The 4×400 is a ‘man race.’ You have to have guys to run that race. We had some kids hurt and we kind of had to throw some kids in the 4×400, but they went out and ran with a lot of guys. I’m so proud of the way those guys ran.”
With Troy missing some key components in its lineup due mainly to injury, the Trojans relied heavily on its distance runners and throwers to bring home the team title.
Josh Lovitt led the Trojans, winning the 3,200 (10:22.48) and taking second in the 1,600 (4:43.54). Austin Zonner was third in the 800 (2:10.18). Spencer Klopfenstein was third in the discus (129-10) and third in the shot put (44-9.5). Jesse Westmeyer was second in the shot put (46-10). Caillou Monroe was second in the high jump (5-10). The Trojans finished second in the 4×200 relay.
“I was very impressed with our distance guys and our throwers,” Metz said. “Our distance guys are quiet leaders. They show up and do what they are supposed to do. They come out, they warm up they way they are supposed to, they compete the way they are supposed to and they cheer on their teammates after they are done with their races like they are supposed to. I think think they always get the credit they deserve because they are quiet.”
The Red Devils came within a whisper of catching the Trojans for the team title thanks in large part to a number of outstanding individual performances.
Leading the way for Tippecanoe was Bryce Conley, who won both the 800 (2:07.57) and 1,600 (4:33.72). Jake Rowland was second in the 300 hurdles (43.74 seconds), while Noah Ballard was was second in the 800 (2:09.06). Ethan Heitkamp was third in the 3,200 (10:30.65). Corey Abney was third in the 400 (52.35 seconds). Landen Fraylick was third in the 1,600 (4:45.38).
Tippecanoe also did well in the relays, placing second in the 4×800 (8:52.32), second in the 4×400 (3:34.24) and third in the 4×100 (46.53 seconds).
• Miami East
Viking pole vaulter Blaine Brokschmidt set a meet record in the pole vault Tuesday, clearing 14-8 in his first meet back after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the season.
Justin Brown won a pair of titles for East, claiming first in both the long jump (21-1) and high jump (5-11). Brown also was third in the 100 (11.74 seconds). Aaron Lawrence won the 110 hurdles (16.03 seconds).
The Vikings were second in the 4×100 relay (45.68 seconds) and third in the 4×800 relay (9:05.48).
Miami East finished third with 83 points.
One of the smallest schools in Miami County made a big showing Tuesday, as Newton finished fourth with 82 points, just one point away from a top-three team finish.
Leading the way for the Indians was the trio of Dawson Hildebrand, Ethan Cook and Cameron Stine. Hildebrand won the shot put (53-8.5) and was second in the discus (143-2). Cook won the 100 (11.63 seconds) and was second in the long jump (21-0). Stine won the 300 hurdles (43.67 seconds) and was second in the 110 hurdles (16.29 seconds).
Newton also won the 4×100 relay (45.67 seconds).
Robbie Grove won the 200 (23.75 seconds) as Milton-Union finished fifth with 80 points.
Carter Tinnerman was third in the pole vault (10-6), while Dalton Hetzler was third in the long jump (20-3.75).
Milton won the 4×800 (8:45.55), was third in the 4×200 (1:36.89) and third in the 4×400 (3:40.24).
Covington finished in sixth place with 71 points.
Andrew Cates won the 400 (51.08 seconds), while teammate Gray Harshbarger took second (52.22 seconds). Cade Schmelzer was third in both the 110 hurdles (17.5 seconds) and 300 hurdles (43.99 seconds). Kadin Presser was third in the high jump (5-10).
The Buccaneers also won the 4×200 relay (1:33.65) and the 4×400 (3:33.27).
Freshman sprinter Jasiah Medley placed in a pair of events to lead the Indians. He took second in the 100 (11.67 seconds) and second in the 200 (23.99 seconds). Nolan Campbell was second in the 3,200 (10:24.18) and Jackson Huelskamp was second in the pole vault (12-6).
• Troy Christian
Jalen Hudgins was third in the 200 (24.10 seconds) for the Eagles.
Jacob McQuinn won the discus with a throw of 145.11 for the Railroaders.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong.