Greenville vaulter sets sights on new heights after state record

Riley Hunt still exudes the speed and power that has shot her among the state’s best girls pole vaulters. But there’s a noticeable difference in her skill set this spring.

“Last year I was very motivated, but this year I’m at a different level of motivation,” the record-setting junior admitted during Friday’s Greater Western Ohio Conference track and field championships at Troy’s Memorial Stadium.

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“Pole vault is my passion and I love it. It’s really fun to do something you love. Being mentally strong is a really big factor.”

Hunt followed up her all-divisions state record of 13 feet, 6.50 inches set during Wednesday’s GWOC divisional meet at Troy by also capturing the overall GWOC title (13-2) on Friday.

The Wayne boys were powered by record-setting sprinter Zarik Brown and ran away with the team title, 108-89 over runner-up Centerville. Miamisburg (61.5) was third.

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Troy record-setter Lenea Browder led the Trojans to a girls team title, 105-89 over runner-up Beavercreek. Springboro (68) was third.

Hunt missed three attempts of 13-7 on Friday. Her record jump on Wednesday bettered the previous all-divisions state record set by Anna Watson of Lewis Center Olentangy Orange in 2017.

That makes Hunt a state favorite. That was a given, considered she has set her sights on 14 feet.

“It’s a very good pressure,” she said. “I know I have to meet my own expectations. I was being consistent at 13 and my goal at the end of the season is 14. I just want to thank everyone for their support, especially my family. I’m just super blessed and thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given.”

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• Brown swept the sprints and opened by setting a record in the 100 meters (10.64), bettering the record Michael Willey of Miamisburg (10.74) set in 2008. He coasted to another 400 win (50.21) and just missed setting another record in the 200 (21.50).

The Warriors were without hurdler Justin Harris, who sat out with a minor leg injury. He’ll be key in Wayne’s drive for Division I district, regional and state team championships.

• Browder, just a junior, reset GWOC records in her specialties. She won the discus (152-1) by more than nine feet and added a shot put title (44-9). Both those new meet marks surpassed the previous records that Isis Trotman of Centerville established in 2016.

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• Northmont’s Lelia Hill joined Brown as an individual triple winner. Headed to Ohio State University to run, the Thunderbolts senior swept the 100 hurdles (15.06), 300 hurdles (45.56) and long jump (17-2.50).

• Dunbar won its 25th consecutive Dayton City League boys championship at Welcome Stadium on Tuesday, defeating runner-up Belmont 153-117. Wolverines senior Zamir Youngblood won the long jump (21-10.25) and 400 (51.61) and was second in the 100 and 200. Belmont senior Herman Chongwain swept the 100 (10.75) and 200 (21.91).

Dunbar also won the girls championship, 144-115 over second-place Stivers.

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• The three-week track and field postseason begins with district meets in all three divisions this week. D-I districts are Wednesday and Friday at Bellbrook and Piqua. D-II districts are Thursday and Saturday at Graham and Piqua. D-III districts are Tuesday and Saturday at Milton-Union and Piqua.

The top four district placers in each event advance to the following week’s regional.

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