PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe’s Nicole Berry is returning to the state track and field meet, although she’s going in an event in which she didn’t expect to qualify.
Last year Berry made it to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet in the girls shot put. She expected to return to Columbus in that event but finished sixth in the regional meet in Troy, missing out on a return trip to state.
Two days after failing to qualify in the shot put, Berry surprised herself with a runner up finish in the discus throw at regionals to earn a spot at the state meet.
“I thought I was going to do pretty bad in disc, and I thought I was going to way better in shot,” Berry said. “That was kind of a surprise.”
During the regular season Berry was one of the best shot put throwers in all of Ohio so it was a big letdown when she failed to qualify for state in that event. However, her ability to bounce back and qualify in the discus throw really showed a lot about her mental makeup, Franklin Monroe track and field coach Rick Ingold said.
“Obviously she’s very disappointed that she didn’t make it back in shot having a top 10 throw in the state with her PR,” Ingold said. “We had some breakdowns technically and mentally, but it speaks a lot to who she is because she was able to bounce back on Friday and really get in the right frame of mind to step up and finish as the regional runner up. We definitely didn’t expect that.”
While she said she’s definitely better in the shot put than the discus, Berry is getting plenty of practice time in the discus throw this week to try to make improvements.
“I definitely get a lot more practice in with one event,” she said. “It’s not the one I’d want, but it’s good, I guess.”
Of the 16 competitors in the Division III girls discus throw, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at The Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Berry enters the state meet seeded 14th with a throw of 115 feet 7 inches.
“I already know I’m probably not going to do the best so I’m just trying to break the school record,” Berry said. “At regionals I came pretty close with one of my throws, but it fouled.”
Franklin Monroe’s school record is 119 feet 7 inches so breaking the mark is definitely within reach.
Ingold is confident that Berry will perform well at the state meet.
“I’ve got confidence in Nicole,” he said. “She’s working hard.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.