DARKE COUNTY — Both of this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are track and field athletes who are among the best in the area at multiple events.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Ansonia girls track and field athlete Samantha Shook and Versailles boys track and field athlete Zach Steinbrunner.
Shook has been one of the top track and field athletes in the county throughout her entire high school career. The Ansonia senior has made the Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournament three times.
Last year she cleared 11 feet 9 inches and finished as the Division III state runner up in the girls pole vault. She matched the height state champion Willow Thompson of Arlington cleared but finished second through a tiebreaker.
As a sophomore Shook finished fifth in the state in pole vault. As a freshmen she finished third in pole vault and 12th in the 100-meter hurdles.
“Samantha has a no-nonsense attitude concerning the preparation and training for her events,” Ansonia girls track and field coach Todd Miller said. “She is unwavering through the mounting expectations and pressure that arise as the end of the season approaches. It’s true that a great deal of talent exists within Sam, but her preparation and confidence are what see her through when times get tough.”
So far this season Shook has the best vault among Darke County girls as she’s cleared 11 feet. She’s also second best in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.29 and third best in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 52.94, which is less than half a second off the pace set by Tri-Village’s Alisha Hollinger.
“As one of the few seniors on our team, Samantha has shown strong leadership and continues to exhibit an outstanding work ethic,” Miller said.
While Shook has been one of the most highly regarded athletes in the area for years, Steinbrunner has moved into the spotlight more this year.
“He was good last year, too, but he had a couple guys in (Clay) Wilker and (Craig) Pothost just a little older and little more mature (in some of the same events),” Versailles boys track and field coach Rob Winner said. “So he was a little under the radar last year.”
This year the Versailles junior leads all Darke County athletes in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.47, which is almost a second better than the next best competitor.
He’s also second in the boys high jump as he’s cleared 6 feet, is fourth in the boys long jump with a jump of 17 feet 10.5 inches and fourth in the boys 300-meter hurdles with a time of 45.03.
“He’s a hard worker,” Winner said. “He’s a competitor, too. He likes to win. Better than that, I think he just likes to better himself.”
Steinbrunner did finish second in the Midwest Athletic Conference 110-meter hurdles last year, finishing as the runner up to to Wilker.
Steinbrunner is a great athlete and excels in the technique-heavy events, Winner said.
“He’s basically an all-around athlete type of kid, which makes it very useful for the track team for sure,” the coach said.
In the upcoming conference and OHSAA meets, Winner said, he expects Steinbrunner to continue working hard and scoring points for the Tigers.
“He’s going to give us his best,” Winner said. “And when he gives us his best, he’s going to be a point scorer.”