DARKE COUNTY – Two athletes who helped guide their teams to big wins with strong individual performances this past week are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Ansonia softball player Molly Walters and Versailles boys track and field athlete Josh Steinbrunner.
Steinbrunner had a phenomenal performance at the Stillwater Valley Invitational on Tuesday as he won all four events he competed in and helped lead Versailles’ boys to the team championship.
“His performance at the Stillwater Valley Invitational is indicative of what he has done all season…he performs at a very high level,” Versailles track and field coach Mike Goubeaux said. “He is determined to win and has set high goals for himself.”
Steinbrunner won the boys 110 meter hurdles in 15.49, beating the second place finisher by 0.83 seconds. The Versailles sophomore won the boys 300 meter hurdles in 40.99, finishing 0.98 seconds ahead of the next fastest hurdler.
Steinbrunner won the boys high jump by clearing 6 feet 1 inch, which was 3 inches better than any other competitor. He won the boys long jump with a jump of 18 feet 10 inches, jumping an inch farther than anyone else.
“As a hurdler, he is a great technician,” Goubeaux said. “As a high jumper and long jumper, he is explosive. And as a sprinter, he is as fast as any of our short sprinters. He is an athlete with just the right skill set that allows him to shine in track and field.”
For the season Steinbrunner has the best times among all Darke County athletes in the 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. He’s second in the county in both the high jump and long jump.
“As a freshman last year, he earned more points for our team than any other athlete, and this year, he is on course to do the same,” Goubeaux said. “Where we place Josh in the lineup, we know he will score team points. He has also really embraced the concept of being a ‘team player,’ and this shows his maturity as an athlete for our team.”
Steinbrunner’s success is a continuation of a great career he began a year ago for Versailles. Last year as a freshman he qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet in the Division II boys 110 meter hurdles and finished 10th in the state.
“Being in Division II this year, the challenge will be tougher this year for Josh, but he is not one to back down from a challenge,” Goubeaux said. “He is determined to get back to the state meet again this season in hurdles, and he is running times that can get him back to Columbus.”
Walters leads all Darke County softball players with a .600 average this season. She has 33 hits including three doubles, two triples and a grand slam to go along with 16 RBIs.
“It’s good to see,” Ansonia softball coach Floyd Jenkins said. “Last year she hit a lot of pop ups, but she’s hitting a lot of line shots.”
As a senior, Walters has made great strides this season, Jenkins said, and is making good contact during her at-bats.
“I think she’s more focused when she’s at the plate,” the Ansonia coach said. “She’s not swinging at stuff high. She understands it’s got to be in the zone.”
In addition to seeing improved results at the plate, Walters also has been solid in the field for Ansonia. After being a designated player last year and not playing in the field, she’s improved defensively and become a solid contributor in right field.
“She’s been playing good defense,” Jenkins said.
With Walter’s leadership, Ansonia has won 11 of its last 12 games. The Tigers beat Parkway, the state’s third ranked team, on Monday with Walters going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run.
“Molly is just a fun kid to be around,” Jenkins said. “A good kid in the dugout, helps all the other kids and always happy, real energetic.”