By Josh Brown
AKRON — There’s a reason why many of the names at the OATCCC state indoor track and field championships in the winter appear again at the end of spring.
“It shows the type of kids we have, that they’re willing to put the work in in the winter,” Troy girls track coach Kurt Snyder said. “We wouldn’t have the kind of program we have if we didn’t have kids that committed.”
And Saturday at the University of Akron’s Stile Field House, three Miami County athletes — Troy’s Kelsey Walters and Morgan Gigandet and Miami East’s Devyn Carson — all finished indoor season by competing at the state meet, tuning up for the spring on the biggest stage the winter has to offer.
Carson, a senior with the Vikings, finished 16th in his primary spring event, the long jump (19-6.5). But in the triple jump — and event not offered at many meets in the spring — Carson was the state runner-up with a jump of 40-11.75.
“I wasn’t expecting it. I had a couple of strokes of luck and was definitely pleased with second,” Carson said. “We go to one meet a year that has the triple jump, at Wayne, so I had a little bit of experience with it.”
And Carson, who also runs the 200 and the sprint relays, is hoping to use the experience to help lead to more success in the spring.
“That’s the plan as of now,” he said. “Indoor season has a lot different atmosphere for obvious reasons. I’m hoping to make state in the long jump. I didn’t long jump well during indoor season, but maybe it was that different atmosphere. Indoor season is also a good way to get some practice in heading to spring, and it’s also a good place to get out and be seen by college coaches.”
Troy sophomore Morgan Gigandet, who competed in the 3,200 as a freshman and led the Trojan cross country team to a fifth-place finish at state this fall, qualified to run at state indoor in the 1,600 and finished fifth (5:08.09).
“Morgan raced in the 1,600 at at Bowling Green the week before, at her only indoor meet,” Snyder said. “For her to run a 5:08 at state in only her second indoor meet ever, in a race that’s not normally her forte, that’s impressive. We were really impressed, not only with her fitness level, but also her speed.”
And Walters, who set the Troy High School record in the shot put at the state outdoor meet last spring, finished ninth in the shot put with a throw of 37-4.75.
“I know she wants to make the podium this year, and she was one place away at state indoor,” Snyder said. “To make the finals against a really tough field is impressive. She’s already throwing in the 37s, too. It took her all season to get there last year in outdoor season. We’re excited to see what she can do in outdoor season this year.”
As are all of the athletes that competed on Saturday.
“Indoor track isn’t an official sport, but we tell the kids that if they’re interested, they can take part,” Snyder said. “Morgan and Kelsey are the two girls that are back that qualified for outdoor state last year, so it was nice to see them get back to that kind of stage already.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.