MARIA STEIN – Tri-Village’s Austin Bruner and Trey Frech competed in the Maria Stein Country Fest’s Quarterback Challenge on Saturday with some of the area’s best passers.
The fifth annual competition included 14 quarterbacks from eight schools including Allen East, Anna, Coldwater, Covington, Crestview, Fort Recovery, Marion Local and Tri-Village.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Bruner said. “It was something new. I haven’t done anything like that before.”
The competition tested high school quarterbacks’ accuracy and arm strength with two rounds of stationary targets, two rounds of moving targets and one round of distance throws.
The competition began with a stationary target. Coldwater senior Sam Broering, the competition’s defending champion, and Coldwater junior Alex May both hit a pair of bullseyes to take the early lead. Marion Local junior Nate Bruns was in third place, Coldwater sophomore Jake Hemmelgarn was in fourth, and there was a three-way tie for fifth place between Covington senior Tyler Freeman, Crestview senior Grant Schlagbaum and Fort Recovery junior Clayton Pearson.
In the second round the stationary target was moved further farther back to make throws more difficult. Broering maintained his lead, Hemmelgarn moved into second place with the round’s top score, May stood in third place, and Bruns and Schlagbaum were tied for fourth.
In the third round competitors threw at a moving target that was attached to a golf cart, which Frech said was his favorite part of the competition. Broering had a big round to extend his lead, Schlagbaum moved into second place, Hemmelgarn was in third, May was in fourth, and Person moved up to fifth.
In the fourth round the quarterbacks competed in a distance throw, Bruner’s favorite part of the competition, with Anna senior Travis Meyer throwing more than 52 yards for the day’s longest throw. Broering was able to maintain his lead, May moved into second place, Schlagbaum was in third, Freeman moved up to fourth place, and Hemmelgarn was fifth.
In the competition’s final round the quarterbacks had another round of throwing at the moving target. Broering finished as the repeat champion, May finished second, Bruns moved up to third place, and Hemmelgarn and Pearson tied for fourth.
Broering became the competition’s first two-time champion. Versailles’ Nick Campbell won the inaugural championship in 2012, Parkway’s Austin Dennison won the championship in 2013, and Fort Recovery’s Caleb Martin won the competition in 2014. The competition was rained out in 2015.
The top three finishers each received a plaque, and the schools of the top finishers received a monetary donation. Coldwater received $250 for having the competition’s top quarterback, Marion Local received $150, and Fort Recovery earned $100.
The competition will be rebroadcast on WOSN and online at wosn.tv.
Maria Stein Country Fest Quarterback Challenge
1. Sam Broering, Coldwater: 811
2. Alex May, Coldwater: 741
3. Nate Bruns, Marion Local: 714
4. Jake Hemmelgarn, Coldwater: 696
4. Clayton Pearson, Fort Recovery: 696
6. Grant Schlagbaum, Crestview: 695
7. Drew Kline, Crestview: 666
8. Tyler Freeman, Covington: 741
9. Travis Meyer, Anna: 652
10. Tyler Clum, Allen East: 626
11. Cade Schmelzer, Covington: 607
12. Clay Schmitz, Fort Recovery: 594
13. Trey Frech, Tri-Village: 573
14. Austin Bruner, Tri-Village: 482
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.