By David Fong
AIM Media Midwest
PIQUA —The veterans have welcomed the newcomers, the newcomers have shown they belong — and together they’ve made magic the past two weeks.
Olivia Tyre is a senior on the girls track and field team who has run nearly every distance race there is and is the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division Girls Track Athlete of the Year. Dinah Gigandet, while only a sophomore, spent all of last year as one of the Trojans’ top varsity distance runners.
Emma Kennett, meanwhile, is a freshman competing in her first varsity season. Katie Castaneda is a senior who has been injured throughout most of her high school career.
Regardless of experience levels, however, the four have been on a tear in the 4×800 relay the past two weeks, first winning the GWOC American League title last week, the foursome followed up with a Division I district title in 10:02.93 on the first day of competition Wednesday at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium, earning a trip to regionals next week.
“It’s been really fun and exciting,” Kennett said of running the 4×800 with some of the top distance runners in school history. “We’ve got great leadership and it’s really helped build my confidence.”
Tyre took the first leg of the relay and put the Trojans out to a massive lead no team could touch. By the time her two laps were finished, there were no teams pushing the next three Trojans.
“We’ve been practicing a lot together lately and have gotten a lot closer,” Tyre said. “We are running really well right now.”
Castaneda said that teamwork has been key to the Trojans’ success.
“We just run together every day,” she said.
The level of competition will go up exponentially next week at regionals, where some of the tops teams in the state will be competing for one of four spots at the state meet.
“I think we could (go to state) if we can keep up with some of the other teams there,” Gigandet said. “We really want to PR.”
The 4×800 was the only running event taking place Wednesday in which athletes could earn a trip to regionals, as the rest were preliminaries to set the stage for Friday’s finals. All of the field events that took place Wednesday were regional qualifiers, however, with more field event finals taking place Friday.
The Troy girls had a pair qualify in the field events Wednesday, with Lenea Browder taking first place in the shot put with a throw of 44-0.5 and Hallie Westmeyer placing second in the high jump (5-2). The girls pole vault, long jump and discus will take place Friday.
Browder had a district title wrapped up on her first throw, then bettered her standing with her second throw. That was good, as Browder fouled on her final four throws of the day.
“I did OK,” said Browder, who was a state champion in the discus and state runner-up in the shot put last spring. “I did well in the first flight, but my technique was off after that. That’s why it’s so important to get a couple of good throws in early, so you can kind of stand on those. I’ve got some things to work on, but the important thing is I get to throw another week.”
The Troy girls qualified for the finals in most of the events in which they competed Wednesday. They’ll race Friday for a spot at regionals. Hannah Falknor qualified second in the 200 (25.74 seconds), while teammate Kierstan Franklin qualified fifth (26.53). Jessica Goodwin qualified third in the 100 hurdles (16.57), while Makayla Kindell was eighth (17.56).
The Trojans’ Katie Lord had the third-best qualifying time in the 300 hurdles (48.40), while teammate Anna Boezi was sixth (49.63). Laura Borchers was sixth in the 400 (1:04.15) to earn a spot in Friday’s finals, while Ciena Miller will be there after placing seventh (1:04.19) in qualifying. Annah Stanley qualified sixth in the 100 (13.11).
In the relays, the 4×100 team of Stanley, Brennah Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin qualified first in 49.05 seconds. The 4×200 team of Hutchinson, Borchers, Falknor and Franklin qualified second in 1:44.84. The 4×400 relay team of Hutchinson, Lord, Falknor and Alekhya Gollamudi qualified second (4:12.45).
The Piqua girls qualified for regionals in one event Friday, with the 4×800 relay team of Ellie Jones, Ana Adams, Cassie Schrubb and Colleen Cox taking second in 10:16.97.
Freshman Camilla Nicholas had the fastest-qualifying time in the 400, finishing in a blistering 59.48 seconds. Cox was third in 1:02.10. Nicholas also qualified second in the 100 (12.57). The Indians’ 4×400 relay team of Jones, Rakaela Smith, Cox and Nicholas qualified fourth in the 4×400 (4:15.30).
Troy senior Spencer Klopfenstein is headed back to regionals for the second year in a row after placing second in the discus (148-0). He was the lone Miami County boy to qualify for regionals Wednesday.
Tucker Raskay qualified for Friday’s finals by posting the seventh-fastest time in the 110 hurdles (16.60 seconds). The 4×100 team of Jaydon Culp-Bishop, Caillou Monroe, Noah Young and Evan Jones qualified fourth (44.63). The 4×200 team of Lucas Henderson, Young, Culp-Bishop and Monroe qualified fourth (1:31.49). Keegan Potts qualified sixth in the 800.
For the Piqua boys, Caven Wiles qualified fourth in the 800 (2:07.034), Ethan Heidenreich qualified sixth in the 300 hurdles (43.22) and Jasiah Medley qualified eighth in the 100 (11.66).
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong
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