TROY – Darke County athletes qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet on the first day of Division III regionals on Wednesday in Troy.
The regional track meet in Troy was started under gloomy skies on day one. It was gray and threatening throughout the track meet. It did drizzle for a bit, enough to dampen the track – but not enough to make it slick. Despite the ominous conditions some local athletes were able to shine and qualify for the state meet.
The one who shined the brightest on the girls side was Franklin Monroe’s Nicole Berry, who placed first in the shot put with a regional meet record put of 45 feet 0.75 inches. An impressive start indeed for the Jets. Teammate Hannah Eley placed eighth with a toss of 33 feet 10.5 inches.
Ansonia’s Aliya Barga qualified for state by placing third in the girls high jump with a personal-best mark of 5 feet 4 inches.
For the boys, Brock Shellhaas of Ansonia also placed first in the pole vault with a vault of 14 feet 8 inches. The top four finishers in regionals will automatically compete at state, so these athletes are set to go for the big meet.
Arcanum’s boys 4×800 meter relay team ran an impressive race. With each pass of the baton, the subsequent runner advanced the Trojans standings in the race. They went from middle of the pack to an impressive third place finish to make their way to the big dance in Columbus.
Tri-Village’s Josh Hollinger also placed in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet 9 inches to finish sixth.
Tri-Village’s Gavin Richards advanced to the finals of the boys 400 meter dash. Franklin Monroe’s qualified for the finals of the boys 4×400 meter relay.
The southwest region is a tough region and the consensus among area coaches is that if you advance from this region to state, then you stand a good chance of scoring points in the state meet.
Standings among local teams at the end of first day is as follows: girls – Franklin Monroe second, Covington fifth, Ansonia sixth; boys – Ansonia fifth, Arcanum 12th, Covington 13th, Tri-Village 17th.
“It’s been a good meet so far,” Franklin Monroe coach Rick Ingold said. “Nicole Berry set a new meet record in the shot put. All of her throws today were over 40 feet, so she was very consistent. Some of our relay teams did not qualify for finals today. They were in the middle as far as qualifying times and just couldn’t break out. But just making it here is a big accomplishment for our program.
“We had a great group of seniors this year. That is true for boys and girls both. On the girls side we will miss Berry and Eley. They scored a lot of points for us in the throwing events. Zach Gilmer was a big part of our team. We will be searching for people to fill their spots – they will be missed. But we have 14 people in the regional meet and 11 are underclassmen; we return a lot for next year. So the future is looking pretty good.”