By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
MIAMI COUNTY — Lenea Browder has already made an impact on Troy High School’s recordbooks.
This weekend, she has her sights set on yet another first.
Browder, who became not only the first African-American state champion in Troy High School history but also the first girls track and field athlete to win a title last year as a sophomore, will be looking to become the Trojans’ first ever multiple state championship winner as she looks to defend her discus title at the Division I state track and field meet Friday and Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
Last year, Browder won the discus with a throw of 145-2 and placed second in the shot put with a throw of 45-9.75 — a mere 1.5 inches away from the winning distance there, too. This year, she enters both competitions after winning regional titles and could be the Trojans’ first two-time — or even three-time — state champion.
“In her short time here, she’s already done historic things,” Troy girls track and field coach Kurt Snyder said. “Last week, she set a regional record in the discus. You never know — every time she gets in that ring, something special can happen.”
And to make that happen this weekend, Snyder says all Browder needs to do is focus on herself.
“Just worry about herself,” Snyder said. “She can’t control how everybody else throws. She just needs to be confident in her own abilities, have that calmness in the ring knowing what she’s capable of and let the results happen.”
Entering the weekend’s competition, Browder leads the field in the discus with her regional-record and personal-best throw of 164-1, with the closest mark being Akron Firestone’s Jordan Baith at 149-5. In the shot put, though, the competition is a bit tighter, with Browder’s regional mark being 43-0.25, the third-best in the field. Carrollton’s Alivia Bentley — last year’s state champ — leads with 44-2.25 and Gahanna Lincoln’s Brooke Johnson has the second-best mark at 43-9.5.
But Browder is capable of getting there — her personal best is 48-6.5, and her best this year was a 45-0.
“Her throw in the discus broke her old school record, which is the first time she’s done that this year. So that was nice to see,” Snyder said. “She’ll have to throw really well in the shot put. The girl that beat her last year is still there, but she got some revenge during indoor season by winning that state title, so hopefully she can do that again outdoors.”
Browder won’t be the only Miami County athlete chasing state dreams this weekend — not even from her own team.
The Troy girls 4×200 relay team of Brennah Hutchinson, Hannah Falknor, Kiersten Franklin and Katie Lord will compete, entering with the 10th-best time in the field. And the 4×100 relay team of Annah Stanley, Hutchinson, Falknor and Franklin enters the weekend with the fifth-best time in the field.
Piqua will also be represented at the state meet by freshman Camilla Nicholas, who will compete in the 400 and enters tied for the 13th-best time in the field.
• Division II
Browder won’t even be the only Miami County athlete in the running for a state title.
Miami East’s Blaine Brokschmidt set a new personal best at last week’s regional by clearing 15-9 in the pole vault, which is the best mark in the field entering the weekend’s competition. One other competitor, Baltimore Liberty Union’s Jimmy Rhoads, enters with a mark of 15-0, but there are others in the field who have cleared 15-0 and higher during the course of the season.
And on the girls side, Miami East’s Gabrielle Hawkins will compete in the 400, entering with the sixth-best time in the field.
Tippecanoe will be represented on the boys side by Bryce Conley, who will run the 3,200 and enters with the fifth-best time in the field.
And on the girls side, the Tippecanoe 4×800 relay team of Katie Taylor, Tori Prenger, Mackenzie Dix and Jillian Brown enters with the 13th-best time in the field. And Taylor, who earned a wild card qualifying spot after finishing fifth in last week’s regional, will also run the 3,200 as an individual, entering with the 12th-best time.
Milton-Union’s girls also had a pair of state qualifiers. Ally Lyons will compete in the high jump, entering tied for the fourth-best mark in the field. And Morgan Grudich will compete in the long jump, entering with the fifth-best mark in the field.
• Division III
Newton’s boys boast a horde of state qualifiers after finishing second as a team at last week’s regional.
Cameron Stine, who won three individual regional titles, will compete in the 110 hurdles, where he has the 13th-best time, the 300 hurdles, where he has the fourth-best time, and the high jump, where he is tied with two other competitors for the best mark. Stine is also a member of the 4×200 relay team with Ethan Cook, Jack Ballard and Josh Ecklebarger, which enters with the 11-best time. The 4×100 relay team of Ecklebarger, Ballard, Cook and Brady McClish also qualified, entering with the sixth-best time. And Dawson Hildebrand qualified in two events: the discus, where he has the 15th-best mark, and the shot put, where he has the fourth-best mark.
Covington senior Lauren Christian qualified in the shot put, where she enters the weekend with the second-best mark in the competition.
And on the boys side, Covington’s Andrew Cates will compete in the 400, where he has the ninth-best time. The 4×200 relay team of Cates, Alex Shaffer, Cade Schmelzer and Gray Harshbarger enters with the seventh-best time, and the same quartet enters the weekend with the sixth-best time in the 4×400 relay.
Troy Christian had a pair of state qualifiers on the girls side. Kenley Blake qualified in the high jump, where she enters tied for the seventh-best mark, and Elizabeth Deal qualified in the long jump, where she enters with the 15th-best mark.
Bradford’s lone state qualifier, Jacob McQuinn, enters the weekend with the 10th-best mark in the discus.
And Lehman’s girls enter the weekend with four state qualifiers. Lindsey Magoteaux will run the 100, where she is tied for the 17th-best time. Rylie McIver will run the 300 hurdles, where she has the 10th-best time. The 4×200 relay team of Magoteaux, McIver, Ella and Olivia Monnin enters with the fourth-best time, and the 4×100 relay team of Magoteaux, McIver, Olivia Monnin and Lauren McFarland enters with the 16th-best time.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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