By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
GENEVA — Before the COVID-19 pandemic, sporting events still happened.
And the week before the Ohio High School Athletic Association halted its winter postseason, the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches held its biggest meet of the year.
Six Miami County athletes competed in the OATCCC state indoor track and field championships on March 7 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, and three of them placed, with a pair of Troy High School athletes scoring individual runner-up finishes.
To qualify for the state indoor meet, athletes had to be one of the top 24 in the state in their respective event at qualifying meets throughout the indoor season, which runs from early December through the end of February. The meet is divided into two divisions, with Division I high school athletes competing against each other, and a combination of Division II and Division III athletes making up the other.
In Division I, Troy senior Lenea Browder, who won a state indoor championship last year before winning her second and third individual state title in the spring, finished second in the shot put with a throw of 41-9.5. Gahanna Lincoln senior Lacey Stringer won the event with a 42-6.5.
During outdoor season in the spring, Browder is Troy’s only multiple state champion in the school’s history, winning a title in the discus as a sophomore and sweeping the discus and shot put her junior year. Leading up to last year’s spring season, Browder defeated Carrollton senior Alivia Bentley in the shot put for an indoor state title, and then she defeated her in the spring, as well.
During last year’s outdoor shot put competition, Stringer finished third. Her performance in the indoor state meet could potentially set up another dramatic competition in the spring’s outdoor meet, should the postponed season take place.
Also for the Trojans on the boys side, junior Dawson Hildebrand finished second in the shot put with a throw of 58-1, finishing behind Turpin junior Gabe Hickman’s first-place throw of 59-0.75. Hickman was a placer during state outdoor last spring, finishing third. Hildebrand, who transferred to Troy from nearby Newton High School, is a two-time state placer in Division III for the Indians, placing fifth last year and fourth his freshman year.
In the Division II/III meet, Miami East senior Gabrielle Hawkins placed fifth in the girls 400 with a time of 59.32 seconds. Hawkins, who also placed at last year’s state indoor meet, was a state placer during outdoor season last spring, placing sixth in the 400.
Milton-Union sophomore Carter Tinnerman competed in the boys pole vault, finishing 13th by clearing 13-6.
Bethel junior Hayden Parsons finished 12th in the girls triple jump, leaping 30-0, while senior teammate Brielle Gatrell finished 21st with 27.75. Gatrell also competed in the girls high jump, clearing 4-8.
The week after the state indoor meet was held, the OHSAA postponed its winter sports tournaments, which were eventually cancelled, due to the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19. Currently, all of Ohio’s schools are closed until at least May 1, with the beginning of spring sports season also being postponed indefinitely.
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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