By Josh Brown
DAYTON — For Wednesday’s finalists, it was all about going big or going home.
And while some were barely off the mark, the first day of the Division I regional track and field meet at Welcome Stadium yielded no state qualifiers for either Troy, Tippecanoe or Piqua in the three events scored on the girls side or four on the boys— but plenty more will still have a shot to make it to Columbus during Friday’s finals.
The Troy girls 4×800 relay team of Megan Myers, Morgan Gigandet, Olivia Tyre and Emma Shigley came the closest on paper, finishing fifth in a loaded field. They ran a time of 9:41.5, while Turpin’s 9:34.93 fourth-place time was the cutoff to get to state.
“They came in with the seventh-best time and finished fifth,” Troy girls coach Kurt Snyder said. “I’m proud of all those girls. They dropped even more time from last week, and the conditions out here weren’t that great, with it being windy and hot. But that’s three sophomores and a freshman going toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the state.”
The Trojans started off at the back, with Gigandet taking the baton in 15th place as the second leg. She made up a mountain’s worth of ground, though, passing a clogged pack to claim third place before passing it on to Tyre for the third leg. She passed it off in fourth place, the Trojans sat in sixth going into the final lap and finished a good distance out of fourth.
“That was the strategy,” Snyder said. “We were just trying to get into the mix after two legs and give the last two girls a chance to hold on for dear life. It almost worked out, too. But I’m proud of all of the girls.”
Dasia Cole personified the “go big” attitude in the high jump.
After missing twice at 5-2 then clearing it on her final attempt, Cole and her coaches elected to skip 5-3 and save their best shot at 5-4 — shooting for not only a state qualifying spot, but the Troy school record.
“We knew we’d have to get 5-4 just to place, so we had her pass at 5-3,” Snyder said. “We knew that’s what it was going to take, no matter what.”
It ended up being both the gutsy move and the smart move. Piqua’s Ashley Ho — who finished 11th, missing twice at and then clearing 5-2, as well — could not pass 5-3. In her first attempt at 5-4, Cole missed by the closest margin possible, just nipping her heels on the bar and knocking it down. And after a miss on her second try, she came close once again on her final effort but caught her heels again, settling for 10th place after clearing 5-2.
“Four other girls cleared 5-4, so we knew it was what it would take,” Snyder said. “We went for it — and just came up short.
“Still, this whole season was a victory for her. She had a mental block early on where she couldn’t clear 4-9 or 4-10. Late in the year, though, we were finally able to fix that block and had her jumping for a purpose and chasing the school record — and she came so close. But she’s a junior, she’s got another year left to grow in the event.”
Another Troy got his first taste of regional competition Wednesday — Travis Hall in the boys discus.
And while Hall missed the finals, finishing 14th with a throw of 137-2, he’ll be back on Friday in the shot put.
“Travis threw just about what he normally throws, and we knew it’d take 140 just to get to the finals,” Troy boys coach Deon Metz said. “But it was good experience for him. He’s here in two throws, so now he can get ready for the shot on Friday.
“There’s a lot of pressure to come here and compete, and you could see it on his face that the pressure of the situation was getting to him today. But he’s going to be much more relaxed on Friday after this. Once you get a taste of it … plus, it’s so close in the shot. He’s right there, and he’s aiming for a throw in the 50s. He’ll come out much more confident Friday.”
Piqua’s Tristen Cox narrowly missed qualifying for state, finishing fifth with a throw of 151-7, and Tippecanoe’s Matt Garber finished 13th with 139-10. And in the girls discus, Piqua’s Jaelyn Furman was 15th with 79-0.
In the boys pole vault, Troy’s Joey Dippold went out at 13-6, which would have tied his personal best. At 14-4, there were still 11 competitors alive in a stacked competition. He ended up finishing 13th, clearing 13-0.
“Joey went out at 13-6, which is about what he’s been getting this year,” Metz said. “We knew coming in that the competition, just from our own conference with the two Greenville guys, was especially tough. Add in the Northmont guy and all the Cincinnati kids, and we knew it’d be tough getting out. Joey’s goal was to go out, compete and end his senior year on a high note, and he did that.”
The Tippecanoe boys 4×800 team of Keenan Fraylick, Michael Stearns, Thomas Cheney and Mitchell Poynter never found its way out of the back of the pack, finishing 16th in 8:43.09.
Wednesday’s preliminaries were still running at time of press.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.