By David Fong
TROY — With so much on the line, Kurt Snyder wasn’t going to waste time or mince words.
Within seconds after the final race of the first day of the Greater Western Ohio Conference track and field meet Wednesday at Troy Memorial Stadium, every member of the Troy girls track and field team received a group text message from their coach that simply read, “Team meeting RIGHT NOW in the infield.”
With that, Snyder passed along a message to his team. Yes, the Trojans already had clinched their ninth straight GWOC American North title Wednesday — with just two events remaining Friday, the Trojans have a 112-point lead on second-place Butler — but ultimately, the Trojans are in the hunt for much bigger game Friday.
“It’s been the team goal, for the last five-plus years, to win the overall GWOC title,” Snyder said. “When it is your last chance to do it, we put that much more importance on it. Plus, I think the girls still have a little chip on their shoulder from losing the (Herb) Hartman Invitational by 1.5 points earlier this year. They know every point is going to matter Friday.”
Friday, the Trojans will get a chance to compete against all 19 other teams in the GWOC for an overall title as all of the top finishers from Wednesday will compete again Friday in the GWOC All-Star Meet. Troy has captured the overall crown just once, in 2017.
Still, though, despite competing against much larger schools such as Beavercreek (last year’s overall winner), Centerville (a four-time winner) and Wayne (a two-time champ), Snyder thinks his team has put itself in position to at least make a run at the overall title Friday. It will be Troy’s last chance at an overall GWOC title, as the Trojans will begin competing in the Miami Valley League next year.
“We made the finals in everything we were supposed to,” Snyder said. “Our team had so many kids step up (Wednesday). You look at someone like Kathryn Cade, who got second in the discus to her own teammate when she wasn’t supposed to. She can score us some points Friday. I don’t know what more I can say about Dinah Gigandet and Olivia Tyre. They run the 4×800 because we need that team to qualify for Friday, then they turn around and go one-two in the 1,600 and both get PRs.
“We had a lot of freshmen scoring points, which is big for their first time competing in the GWOC meet. We won every relay — that’s a huge deal. I’m sure I am forgetting to mention other kids, but that’s just because we had so many kids with big performances. I’m proud of our kids.”
Leading the way for the Trojans was junior thrower Lenea Browder, who set a meet record in winning the discus with a throw of 141-11, while also winning the shot put with a throw of 43-0.5. Cade took second in the discus with a throw of 107-4.
Freshman Hannah Falknor won one event, the 200 (25.87 seconds), was third in another, the 400 (1:00.60) and was part of two American League championship relay teams. Fellow freshman Kiersten Franklin was second in the 200 (26.59 seconds), fourth in the 100 (13.10 seconds) and also part of two winning relay teams.
Gigandet won the 1,600 (5:14.46), while Tyre was second (5:23.03). They also teamed with freshman Emma Kennett and Katie Castaneda to win the American League title in the 4×800 (10:05.89).
Annah Stanley was second in the long jump (15-11.25) and part of two winning relays.
The Trojans also had two athletes place in the top four in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, high jump and pole vault. In the 100 hurdles, Jessica Goodwin was second (16.61 seconds), while Mikayla Kindell was fourth (16.61 seconds). In the 300 hurdles, Katie Lord was second (47.82 seconds), while freshman Anna Boezi was fourth (50.11 seconds). In the high jump, Hallie Westmeyer was second (5-3), while Bailey Brogan was fourth (4-11). In the pole vault, freshman Sophie Fong was third (10-6), while Lilli Cusick was fourth (10-0).
Troy also dominated the sprint relays. Stanley, Laura Borchers, Evelyn Plunkett and Franklin won the 4×100 (50.82 seconds). Stanley, Brennah Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin won the 4×200 (1:45.33). Hutchinson, Lord, Alekhya Gollamudi and Falknor won the 4×400 (4:13.08).
Almost lost in Troy’s quest for the overall title was the fact the Trojans did win a ninth straight GWOC North title in dominating fashion, piling up 180 points. Troy should do well in both events being scored Friday, the 800 and 3,200, which should push the Trojans past the 200-point mark. Butler currently is second with 68 points, while Greenville is third with 65.
“It’s still a big deal,” Snyder said of winning the North yet again. “It’s one of our goals every year, too. But we have a chance to win the overall title — so we aren’t going to celebrate yet.”
Thanks in large part to freshman phenom sprinter Camilla Nicholas, the Indians are sitting in fourth place with 49 points — nearly half of which Nicholas is directly responsible for.
She won the 400 (59.57 seconds), was second in the 100 (12.98 seconds) and fourth in the 200 (26.80 seconds).
Piqua’s 4×400 relay also placed third (4:23.70), while its 4×800 relay was fourth (11:25.38).
The Devils scored 34 points Friday.
Leading the way for Tippecanoe was Katie Taylor, who placed third in the 1,600 (5:24.53). Ashley Tarzinski was fourth in the discus (101-3). The Red Devils were second in the 4×800 (10:16.63).
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong
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