By Josh Brown
TROY — Covington shot putter Lauren Christian was making up for a postseason injury last season.
One leg of Miami East’s girls 4×800 relay team was recovering from one earlier in the week.
Both finished second in the respective events on a rainy opening night of the Division III regional track and field meet at Troy Memorial Stadium, punching their tickets to next week’s state meet along with Covington’s Jett Murphy and Miami East’s Blaine Brokschmidt, who both qualified in the boys pole vault despite the conditions.
The remaining field events and running event finals will be held today. Field events begin at 5 p.m. and running events are at 6 p.m.
Miami East seniors Marie Ewing and Lorenza Savini and junior Kaitlyn Mack and Lindsey Yingst entered the 4×800 relay fairly confident after finishing second at the district meet — but Yingst, the second leg, was nursing an injury that happened in an awkward situation.
“After not running for two days, I’ll take it,” Yingst said with a laugh. “I hurt my hip …”
“… Playing powder puff football,” Ewing said. “She’s a junior, I’m a senior — and the juniors actually beat us.”
“Yeah, a girl took me down, so I was out for a couple days,” Yingst said. “(Qualifying for state) makes the hip hurt a lot less.”
The Viking quartet finished second in the race in a time of 9:45.23, with Minster winning in 9:32.2. It was the first time in their careers that the 4×800 relay has gone to state.
“I felt good, we were ready for it,” Ewing said. “I think we’re all still in shock, because it’s the first time in a really long time we’ve gone as a team. Maybe not ever (at Miami East), but it’s been a long time.”
And after Yingst and Mack held the team’s position in the second and third legs, Savini had to fight off a charge by three other teams down the final stretch to take second — with St. Henry, Russia and Twin Valley South all finishing within three seconds of her.
“I just went out and did everything I could,” she said.
The Viking boys 4×800 team missed a qualifying spot, with Bryce Redick, Greg and Eric Austerman and Gavin Horne finishing sixth (8:28.38).
Covington’s Christian, meanwhile, missed out on a potential opportunity to compete at state as a freshman last year after suffering a severe injury at the district meet — and she was looking to make up for lost time.
The sophomore earned a spot in Wednesday’s finals with a throw that would have put her in fourth on the day anyway, but on her first throw in the finals she uncorked a 39-9.5 to jump up to second place and seal a spot at state.
“I broke my foot at districts last year, so I had to throw at the regional on a broken foot,” she said. “It’s exciting. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but I’m happy.”
Her best in the shot put is 40-0.5, and she will be looking to hit that again at next week’s state meet. But before that, Christian also has a shot to qualify for state in the discus, which will be held during Friday’s regional finals.
“I want to hit 40 again, and I really want to place at state,” Christian said. “(In the discus) I’ll have to throw better than my very best. My PR isn’t going to get me there, so I’ll have to throw even better.”
In the boys pole vault, Covington’s Murphy — a state placer and the regional champion last season — and East’s Brokschmidt faced the same competition they’ve been seeing practically all season as three of the four state qualifiers in the event came from their district.
Murphy, a junior, cleared 14-4 and finished third, while East sophomore Brokschmidt finished fourth and qualified by clearing 13-8.
“It feels pretty good. All I wanted to do was get top four, because this year the competition here is a lot harder,” Murphy said.
“There’s no words that can express it,” Brokschmidt said of qualifying for state. He came in after a second-place finish at the district meet. “I knew two vaulters had higher PRs than I did, but I thought I had a chance to beat them.”
Williamsburg’s Wyatt Lefker was the lone competitor from outside the Milton-Union district that qualified, clearing 14-4 and taking second. Ansonia freshman Brock Shellhaas won by clearing 14-8.
“It’s one of the hardest districts and conferences in Ohio right now,” Brokschmidt said — Miami East, Covington and Ansonia all compete in the Cross County Conference and see each other all season long. “We have five guys over 14-0. You just have to approach this like every other meet. That’s how you have to go in thinking.”
“It helps a lot,” Murphy said. “Brock, I jump against him at just about every meet. It’s good, because he pushes me and gets me prepared for the big postseason meets like this. I didn’t come in here that nervous.”
The Russia girls 3,200-meter relay team and Houston discus thrower David Stammen also advanced to state.
The Russia foursome of Shaelynn Goubeaux, Grace York, Clair Meyer and Anna Fiessinger advanced in the 3,200 relay, with a time of 9:47.92 to finish fourth.
Stammen finished third in the discus with a throw of 140-0.
There were plenty of qualifiers from the preliminary races, as well.
Running in Friday’s finals for Covington’s girls are: Rayna Horner in the 400 (first, 58.64 seconds), Breanna Kimmel in the 100 (fourth, 13.21 seconds) and 200 (fifth, 26.63 seconds),the 4×400 relay team (fourth, 4:04.49) and Natalie Snyder in the 100 hurdles (seventh, 17.19 seconds). Finals qualifiers for Covington’s boys are: Cade Harshbarger in the 110 hurdles (first, 15.26 seconds) and 300 hurdles (first, 39.92 seconds), the 4×400 relay team (second, 3:30.16), Zane Barnes in the 400 (fourth, 51.37 seconds), the 4×100 relay team (fourth, 44.94 seconds) and Cade Schmelzer in the 300 hurdles (eighth, 43.46 seconds).
Running in Friday’s finals for Miami East’s boys are: the 4×200 relay team (fifth, 1:33.40), the 4×100 relay team (fifth, 44.55 seconds) and the 4×400 relay team (fifth, 3:31.65). Finals qualifiers for Miami East’s girls are: Gabrielle Hawkins in the 400 (third, 59.43 seconds) and the 4×400 relay team (seventh, 4:10.98).
For Russia boys, Cole Tebbe advanced in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.11.
Lehman’s girls 4×100 team qualified for Friday’s finals (fifth, 51.63 seconds), and Alanna O’Leary qualified for the finals in the 400 (fourth, 59.53 seconds) and 200 (sixth, 26.95 seconds).
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.