By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — The girls high school basketball tournaments won’t start for a few weeks, but it already looks as though the Division II sectional bracket at Tecumseh High School may be the toughest in the state.
Three of the top six Division II teams in this week’s state poll — including Tippecanoe — all will be battling to get out of the Tecumseh sectional to earn a trip to the district tournament.
Tippecanoe is ranked No. 6 in the Division II state poll, along with Carroll (No. 3 in the poll) and Trotwood-Madison (No. 4). All three will be competing in the Tecumseh sectional tournament. A fourth Dayton-area team, Alter (No. 2) is competing in the Lebanon sectional tournament, but could potentially see one of the two winners from the Tecumseh sectional either at the district or regional level.
Ottawa-Glandorf is the top-ranked Division II girls team in Ohio.
Tippecanoe — which defeated Versailles, the No. 3 Division III team in the state Monday — will get a sneak preview of two potential state-ranked sectional opponents in the next few days when it hosts Trotwood-Madison Saturday and travels to Carroll Monday.
Tippecanoe is the only Miami County girls basketball team ranked in this week’s state poll. On the boys side, Bethel — ranked No. 11 in the Division III state poll — is the only state-ranked team from Miami County.
Throwing it out there
Kelsey Walters, the top girls shot put thrower in Troy High School history, graduated after placing sixth at last spring’s state meet and currently is throwing at Ball State University.
Troy may not miss much of a beat in the shot put this spring, however.
For starters, the Trojans return junior Alaura Holycross, a regional qualifier and the runner-up to Walters at the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division meet. Having already thrown better than 38-feet as a sophomore, Holycross should spend much of the next two years chasing Walters’ school record of 41-10.
The Trojans also should be bolstered buy the arrival of ninth grader Lenea Browder, who last week established herself as one of the top freshman shot putters in the nation.
Yes, in the nation.
Browder threw 37-8.5 at an indoor meet last week at Ohio Northern University. According to the website milesplit.com, which tracks results from around the country, that’s the best recorded indoor throw by any freshman in the county this indoor season by more than a foot.
Grappling to the top
Last March, Miami County failed to produce a state champion at the state wrestling meet for the first time since 2011 and only the second time since 2005.
The county’s top two placers were Troy Christian’s Jacob Edwards, who placed second at 106 pounds, and Miami East’s Graham Shore, who placed third at 113 pounds.
If Edwards and Shore, both juniors, are going to take the next step and stand atop the podium this season, there’s a good chance they’ll have to go through nationally ranked — and familiar — wrestlers to do so.
Edwards has been wrestling at 113 pounds this season. A trip to state could mean a potential rematch with Genoa Area sophomore Dylan D’Emilio, currently ranked No. 10 in the nation by intermatwrestle.com at 113 pounds. The two squared off in last year’s state championship match at 106, with D’Emilion pinning Edwards in 3:27.
Shore, who likely will compete at 120 when tournament time arrives, could see a rematch with Legacy Christian’s Tommy Hoskins at state. Hoskins — an Oklahoma commitment — currently ranked No. 11 in the nation by intermatwrestle.com.
Shore and Hoskins — who competed at Dayton Christian last year — met in the 113-pound finals of last year’s Division III district tournament at Hobart Arena. Shore pulled off the upset 7-2 overtime upset at districts, but a second meeting between the two never materialized at state.
Shore, competing in the top half of the bracket, dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Shadyside’s Greg Quinn in the semifinals. Shore rebounded to win his two consolation matches and place third, while Hoskins won his semifinal match and then beat Quinn 10-5 to win a state title.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong