By David Fong
AIM Media Midwest
PIQUA — Under normal circumstances, Lenea Browder is a fearless competitor.
Friday hardly presented normal circumstances for Troy’s defending state champion, however.
“Going into my final throw, my legs were shaking,” Browder said. “I am a state champion. I am trying to defend my title.”
In fact, Browder was one bad throw away from not even going back to state in the discus Friday during the Division I district track and field meet at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium. After fouling on her first two throws, Browder needed a clean throw on her third attempt to make the finals and keep her season alive in that event. She was able to do that, throwing a 130-2.
“(Troy throwing coach Aaron) Gibbons told me to just do a half-throw,” Browder said. “Honestly, that’s been working well for me this year, and I just wanted to get in a good throw. Once I was able to get in that throw, that calmed me down a lot and just let me throw like I’m capable of throwing.”
With her nerves steadied, Browder launched a 146-7 in the finals, good enough to take first place — she also won the shot put Wednesday — and break a decade-old meet record (136-6) by more than 10 feet.
“I’m just glad to be moving on,” Browder said. “I want to do well at regionals and get back to state.”
The Troy girls will have the chance to compete for berths at state in a number of events next week at regionals. The Trojans easily ran away with a district title — their fifth in a row — finishing with 160 points. Northmont was second with 82.5 points and Wayne was third with 72. Piqua was fifth with 57 points.
Browder was one of two double individual champions for the Trojans. Dinah Gigandet won both the 3,200 (11:38.92) and the 1,600 (5:13.89). Teammate Olivia Tyre finished second in the 1,600 (5:23.86). Both Gigandet and Tyre said after the race they benefit from being able to push one another in meets and practices.
“It’s awesome having her around as a running partner,” Gigandet said of Tyre. “We make one another better.”
“It helps a lot,” she said. “It’s good to have someone like her to run with.”
Troy had a pair of freshmen post runner-up finishes Friday. Hannah Falknor finished second in the 200 (25.40 seconds), tying Gracie Huffman’s school record in the process. Sophie Fong finished second in the pole vault (10-4).
Lilli Cusick finished third in the pole vault (10-4), Emma Kennett was third in the 800 (2:25.47) and Jessica Goodwin was third in the 100 hurdles (16.12 seconds). Katie Lord was fourth in the 300 hurdles (47.29 seconds) and freshman Kiersten Franklin was fourth in the 200 (26.22 seconds), winning the final spot in a run-off after it was decided she had tied Northmont’s Ashley Hoke in a dead heat during the finals.
Troy also had a huge day in the relays. The team of Annah Stanley, Brennah Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin won the 4×100 (49.01 seconds), while Hutchinson, Lord, Falknor and Franklin won the 4×200 (1:43.44). Troy’s 4×400 relay team of Hutchinson, Lord, Laura Borchers and Alekhya Gollaumudi finished third (4:09.48), thanks in large part to a strong anchor leg from Gollamudi.
Piqua was led by a monster performance from freshman phenom Camilla Nicholas, who won the 400 (57.92 seconds), was second in the 100 (12.50 seconds) and teamed with Ellie Jones, Rakaela Smith and Colleen Cox to take fourth in the 4×400 (4:11.74).
“It feels good,” Nicholas said of her day. “Tiring, but good. This season has been what I was hoping for — but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wanted to just do my best and see how the season went. It feels awesome. I’m just going to go to regionals, do my best and see what happens.”
Also for the Indians, Cox was second in the 400 (1:01.31), Ana Adams was third in the 3,200 (12:19.22) and Cassie Schrubb was fourth in the 1,600 (5:34.75).
Jesse Westmeyer and Spencer Klopfenstein have competed with an against one another all season.
Troy’s senior throwers are guaranteed one more week of throwing together, as both qualified in the shot put Friday.
Westmeyer placed second with a throw of 49-11.25, while Klopfenstein was fourth with a throw of 46-3.25. Klopfenstein also qualfied in the discus Wednesday.
Troy’s 4×100 relay team of Jaydon Culp-Bishop, Caillou Monroe, Noah Young and Evan Jones placed third (43.66 seconds), as did the 4×200 relay team of Culp-Bishop, Monroe, Young and Lucas Henderson (1:30.67). Troy’s Braden Coate placed third in the 3,200 (10:05.66) to advance to regionals.
Piqua’s Nolan Campbell placed fourth in the 3,200 (10:07.38).
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong
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