By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
and Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
COLUMBUS — Nine years of sweat and hard work couldn’t be stopped by a three-hour lightning delay, only postpone it.
But, in the end, Covington senior thrower Lauren Christian became Covington girls fourth state champion, joining Jackie Siefring (long jump, 300 hurdles) and the 2018 1,600-meter relay team after winning the shot put at the Division III state track and field championship at Jesse Owens Stadium with a school record put of 44-7 1-4.
And Christian was immediately brought to tears after Wheelersburg’s Paige Emnett landed short of her winning put on the final attempt in finals.
“It feels incredible,” Christian said. “I just wish I my grandmother (the late Elaine Christian) could have been here to see it.”
It was the culmination of something that began nine years ago.
“I began throwing in fourth grade,” Christian said. “I really believed if I worked hard enough, something like this could happen.”
And after a third-place finish last year at state behind two seniors, Christian knew there were high expectations this spring.
“I felt like I was the favorite coming into the season,” Christian said. “I had two seniors that really pushed me last year. But, I knew there were other good throwers out there who could throw it out there farther than me. And a couple of them did. They were ahead of me coming into this meet.”
Christian was seeded second coming into the state meet behind Emnett.
And after the long lightning delay, three very solid puts in the prelims (41-0 3-4, 40-3, 41-9 1-4), Christian was in third place going into the finals.
“The lightning was no big deal,” Christian said. “We had the same thing last year. I guess that is just part of it.”
Emnett led with a put of 43-2 1-2 and Trista Fintel of Hamler Patrick Henry was second with a put of 42-2 after her final put in prelims.
As Christian warmed up for finals, she consistently had puts near 45-feet.
“I had a feeling something good was going to happen,” Covington girls track and field coach David Tobias said.
So did Christian.
“I just had to trust and believe in myself,” Christian said.
On her first put in the finals, she uncorked her best ever and when her distance of 44-7 1-4 was announced, her family and Covington fans went crazy.
“I beat my school record by six inches I think,” Christian said with a smile. “At that point, I knew they (Paige Emnett, Trista Fintel) were chasing me. I wasn’t the chaser any more.”
And she continued her consistency with her final two puts of 41-8 1-4 and 43-8 3-4.
“I mean, it wasn’t just her winning put,” Tobias said. “All six of her puts were really good.”
After her final put, it was just a matter of waiting for Fintel and Emnett to take their final attempts.
Fintel and Emnett — after adding drama by starting her final attempt twice and stopping — both fouled, making Christian a state champion.
“I felt like if it was meant to be, God would be with me,” Christian said. “And he was.”
Then came the tears of joy from Christian, as her grandmother smiled down from above.
• Hildebrand 5th
Newton’s Dawson Hildebrand had a lot on his mind coming into Friday’s Division III state meet.
“I think everything got to me a little bit. This is my last meet here at Newton,” the Indian sophomore said.
Hildebrand — who will attend Troy High School beginning next fall — placed fifth in the shot put competition at the D-III state meet Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, throwing 53-9.75 on his second throw of the day.
“It feels alright,” Hildebrand said. “It’s alright to place, but I could’ve done a lot better. I’m excited about how I did, but I could’ve easily had second if I was even under my PR by a little bit. My PR was a 58-0, and I only threw like 53 today.”
Last year as a freshman, Hildebrand placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 52-2.5. Columbus Crestview’s Dominic Perry, who was the state champion last year, as well, won Friday’s competition with a throw of 62-11 in the finals.
Now Hildebrand — who also finished 11th in the discus with a throw of 146-8 — will move on to Troy High School for his junior year, where he plans to compete in a completely new arena.
“I’ll be going to Troy next year, and I’m excited about it,” he said. “I really want to try football and see how I do at that. And they’ve got a great coach there. I’m looking forward to a new level of competition. I normally do better when I have competition — today it all just got to me.”
• Stine 6th
No one went any higher than Newton’s Cameron Stine in the high jump.
In fact, all eight placers cleared 6-4 and went out at 6-5.
And while Stine came closest to clearing 6-5, he had misses at 6-4 and 6-2 which landed him in a tie for sixth.
Stine had cleared 6-6 last week at regionals.
On Stine’s second attempt at 6-5, the Newton sophomore was over the bar, but just clipped it with his heels.
“I am disappointed that I didn’t make it (the second attempt at 6-5,” Stine, who has battled a back injury all season, said. “I was close. It is nice to finish the season on the podium. It is just more motivation for tomorrow.”
Stine will run in both the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate finals.
“I just have to score as many points as I can for the team.”
• Blake 6th
Troy Christian senior Kenley Blake’s first trip to the D-III state meet was a memorable one.
“It was exciting,” she said. “All the fans, all the lights and everything, it was a lot of fun.”
A three-hour-plus weather delay before getting to compete, though …
“That was not so fun,” Blake said. “That was a little bit of a surprise. I was just hoping to get in here and be able to high jump. But the wait was fine.”
When it came time to compete, Blake turned in a stellar performance, tying for sixth place and earning a spot on the podium by clearing 5-2.
“I did well,” Blake said. “I didn’t do exactly what I wanted here, but the goal was just to come to state, so I’m really happy with that.”
Blake became the first Troy Christian girl to reach the podium since Meredith Haddad did it in the long jump in 2015.
“I’m super excited,” Blake said. “Originally, my goal was to make it to state, and then my goal was to get on the podium. So I accomplished my two goals, which was exciting.”
In addition, Troy Christian senior Elizabeth Deal competed in the long jump, finishing 16th with a jump of 15-5.75.
And on the boys side, Bradford’s Jacob McQuinn finished 12th in the discus with a throw of 144-11.