By David Fong
Miami Valley Today
HUBER HEIGHTS — Lenea Browder has her sights set on the stars.
But first she has to clear the stratosphere.
Browder, a junior shot put and discus thrower at Troy High School, took her first step toward doing just that Wednesday in the Division I regional track and field meet at Wayne High School, winning the shot put — and earning a return trip to state next week — with a throw of 43-0.25.
“It feels good to make it back to state,” Browder said. “That’s always the goal.”
That, however, is only a small part of a much larger plan for Browder, who already has committed to throw at The Ohio State University after she graduates next spring. Last season, Browder won a state championship in the discus, while taking second place at state in the shot put. This season, Browder is hoping she can double up, winning state championships in both events. She’ll attempt to qualify for state in the discus Friday at Wayne on the second day of regional competition.
“I definitely want to win them both this year,” Browder said. “I feel like I can do that. I’m definitely setting my goals high, but I feel like that’s important to do. I definitely feel like it’s something I’m capable of doing. It hurt last year to come so close. I know it’s going to be tough, because I know what the competition is like over there, but I feel like it’s something I can do.”
Browder said this year hasn’t always been easy for her, as she has entered every meet the heavy favorite to win, often by as much as 10-15 feet (or more) in the shot put and 20-30 (or more) feet in the discus. She said that has sometimes made it difficult for her to focus — something she doesn’t anticipate happening at state.
“It has been tough sometimes this year,” Browder said. “There have been some meets where I haven’t done as well as I probably should have, because I haven’t always been as focused as I should have. But going to state, I know what the competition is like and I know what I’m going to have to do. I know I’m going to have to stay focused and be mentally ready. I’m going back in one event. Now I have to make sure I get back in the other event.”
Two other Troy competitors — discus thrower Spencer Klopfenstein for the Trojan boys and high jumper Hallie Westmeyer for the Trojan girls — saw their seasons end on the regional podium Wednesday, as both took sixth place in their respective events. The top four in each event advance to state.
Klopfenstein took sixth in the discus with a throw of 151-3, while Westmeyer was sixth with a jump of 5-0.
The Troy girls 4×800 relay team of Olivia Tyre, Dinah Gigandet, Emma Kennett and Katie Castaneda took 10th in 9:49.51. The Piqua 4×800 team of Ellie Jones, Ana Adams, Cassie Schrubb and Colleen Cox took 14th in 10:39.11.
The rest of Wednesday’s events consisted largely of preliminary races, with the finals to be held Friday. The Troy 4×100 team of Annah Stanley, Brennah Hutchinson, Hannah Falknor and Kiesten Franklin had the second-best qualifying time, finishing in 48.71 seconds, which also was the second-fastest 4×100 time in school history. Troy’s 4×100 team of Katie Lord, Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin qualified fifth in 1:43.82.
Piqua freshman Camilla Nicholas qualified for Friday’s finals in two events. She was fifth in the 400 (58.86 seconds) and eighth in the 100 (12.743 seconds), earning the last berth in the finals by a mere 0.003 seconds.
Falknor just missed qualifying for the finals in the 200, placing ninth (26.06 seconds), while Franklin finished 13th (26.56 seconds). Jessica Goodwin was 13th in the 110 hurdles (16.58 seconds), Lord was 13th in the 300 hurdles (49.80 seconds) and the 4×400 relay team of Hutchinson, Lord, Laura Borchers and Alekhya Gollamudi finished 13th in 4:11.70.
For Piqua, Collen Cox finished 14th in the 400 (1:03.40).
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong
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