By David Fong
HUBER HEIGHTS — Deon Metz will readily admit that he may not have the fastest team in the area from top to bottom — but he may have one of the toughest.
So when the rain started falling — and didn’t stop — during Friday’s Division I district track and field meet at Wayne High School, Metz like his group of young upstarts’ chances against some of the more highly decorated runners in the area. In horse racing parlance, it was the thoroughbreds against the mudders — and the mudders won more than their fair share.
“A lot of teams don’t like running in this,” Metz said from beneath his umbrella. “Our guys are prepared to run in whatever. They are like, ‘Bring it on.’ Our kids have a lot of heart. That’s what I love about this team.”
Troy placed third overall with 78 points, trailing only Wayne (96 points) and Northmont (83). Troy captured three district titles and qualified for regionals in 10 events — a far cry from last season, when the Trojans were able to reach regionals in just two events.
“We’ve had a lot of younger guys who have really come on toward the end of the season,” Metz said. “We’ve got some freshman who have really stepped up and we’ve got (double regional qualifier) Travis Hall, who is out for the team for the first time. Then we’ve got some of our older guys who are stepping up, too. I’m proud of this team.”
Particularly impressive — and, to many, surprising — were Troy’s sprint relay teams, which qualified for regionals in three events and captured district titles in the 4×100 and 4×200, while taking fourth in the 4×400.
The 4×200 team of Jayden Culp-Bishop, Hayata Nagata, Austin Jacobs and DeMarcus Moody won a district title in 1:30.02 — a blistering time considering the weather conditions. That time broke the school record of 1:30.2 set in 1977 by Michael Boyd, Walter White, Vince Vlasho and Bennie Boyd. That had been the fourth-oldest school record still on the books.
The 4×100 team of Sam Jackson, Culp-Bishop, Jacobs and Moody also took first place (43.95), while the 4×400 team of Kobe Feltner, Timmy Farrier, Nagata and Jacobs was fourth (3:32.45).
“If you had told me we were going to come out and win the 4×100 and 4×200 — and break a 40-year-old school record in the process, I would have told you is was not going to happen,” Metz said. “I would have thought we had too much youth and our times had been nowhere close to what they were (Friday). But the kids have worked hard to get to this point and obviously it paid off for them.”
While Troy’s performances in the spring relays may have come as a surprise, it was no surprise that Stephen Jones captured yet another district title, winning the 3,200 in 9:20.43. Culp-Bishop qualified for regionals in his third event by placing second in the 200 (22.44), while Zach Boyer placed second in the 110 hurdles (15.04 seconds).
The Trojans also got plenty of points in the field events, qualifying for regionals in four events. Hall will compete at regionals in both the discus after placing third with a throw of 137-8 and the shot put, where he placed fourth with a throw of 48-1. Luke Robinson placed second in the high jump (5-10), while Joey Dippold was fourth in the pole vault (13-0).
“I’m proud of our guys,” Metz said. “They came out and showed a lot of guts.”
The Tippecanoe boys track and field team placed seventh at districts with 45.5. The Red Devils won one district title and qualified for regionals in three different events.
The 4×800 relay team of Keenan Fraylick, Michael Stearns, Thomas Chaney and Mitchell Poynter won a district championship in 8:17.69. Poynter placed second in the 1,600 (4:19.51), while Fraylick was fourth (4:32.09), sending both to regionals.
Tim Andrews qualified for regionals by placing fourth in the 3,200 (10:07.87).
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong